Apr, 27th 2020

How to make watercolour drawings like a real artist

watercolor Gaëlle Delahaye

In France we have an expression that says « la pomme ne tombe jamais loin de l’arbre », « the apple does not fall far from the tree », and in my family it’s true since one of my daughters also paints !

My daughter Gaëlle is a watercolor artist, she illustrated a collection of 12 books about signs of the zodiac.

Watercolour is one of the types of painting I propose in my art classes, especially when they are given outdoors.

I now give the floor, or rather « the brush » to my daughter to tell us about this very particular painting technique that is watercolor.

What would you advise to a beginner ?

Watercolour is a water paint that looks like the gouache paint that children use at school. We have all used this technique before, however, adults prefer to use acrylic paint as oil paint.

In watercolour painting water has a very important part. It makes the paint translucent. The paint is then applied by making different layers that are superimposed.

When we first practice watercolour painting, we are surprised because there is no white in the color palette and we do not see much difference between the different shades.

Like every new artistic technique, watercolour requires work, patience and exercise. It is by making mistakes and trying several times that you will understand how to use paint, water, paper and brush.


What is more difficult in watercolour painting ?

Be careful with the watercolor, the errors are difficult to correct. But you learn to insert them into your drawing and to modify your original idea.

Because of the water, the colors sometimes mix on the paper, which you didn’t necessarily want. Fortunately if you react quickly you can wipe with a handkerchief.
The best thing is to wait until the color is dry on the paper before putting another one.

But don’t believe painting with watercolor takes so much time because as the colors slide you get to fill your sheet very quickly.

It is important to understand that the watercolour technique is based on a game of transparency and emptiness. Without the white color in the palette it is the paper that replaces it. For example if you want to represent the snow, the foam of the waves, the wings of a bird, you will leave space on your drawing.

It is therefore important to know where to put your painting before starting your drawing.

Watercolour is a very relaxing technique because your brush slides on the paper and you let yourself be guided by the paint.

Watercolour painting

Which painting material to choose?

I advise you to have at least three sizes of brushes: a large one for working the biggest areas, a medium one, and a small one for details.

Watercolor requires a lot of water.Then you have to work on a thick paper (ideally 300g). I personally use matt paper or satin paper.

Finally I have three boxes of paint. I do not work with tubes but with buckets (small rectangles of dry paint). It’s very convenient when you travel. When I travel I always take with me a box of watercolours to paint the beautiful landscapes or the people I meet.

Watercolour Gaëlle Delahaye

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