Watercolor Aids, Tools and Techniques…

Have you ever wondered how some watercolor artists get these cool techniques or “texture” in their paintings?  Look no further than your kitchen pantry or your medicine cabinet.

  • Salt (table or Rock) can be added to a wet background to give the effect of snow or texture in a field of wild flowers.
  • Rubbing Alcohol can be added to a wet painting to create cool looking jellyfish under the sea.
  • An old toothbrush can be used to splatter paint or alcohol for added dimension to your painting.

I have experimented with numerous items some successful (wax candles work great) some not so much (peroxide does not work like alcohol).  I have drawn with white glue and painted watercolor over the top once the glue has dried.

One of my favorite tools to use is watercolor pencils.  I use my watercolor pencils all the time.  Every watercolor I have ever done I have used watercolor pencils.  I always choose a light neutral color for my sketches (raw sienna is my favorite) and when I start painting the lines become part of the painting.  Watercolor pencils are wonderful and that being said can be quite pricy my Derwent Pencils cost close to $150.  I have used Crayola watercolor pencils and Mongol pencils – I recommend starting with those and if you like them make the investment (they are well worth the price).

The other item I love using on my watercolors is India Ink.  I use India Ink after my watercolors have dried especially if I am doing a silhouette of something.  The true black you can achieve with India Ink is amazing and I get to use my Rapidograph pens.  You can do a pen and ink drawing first and then use watercolors as a wash.  If you do this it is important you ink is waterproof or you will have a mess on your hands (trust me!)


The Walrus (which I sold a couple of weeks ago)  Watercolor with India Ink.

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