Do you feel you have to have just exactly the "right" supplies before trying a technique?
Trust me, for this one, you really don't--you can get wonderful results using what you have, and hey, if you like what you see and enjoy the process, then you might consider investing in better supplies.
So I'm not going to discourage anyone by using my "fancy" stuff--you can get some lovely watercolor backgrounds using things you probably already have:
some basic watercolors--okay, not the SUPER cheapy ones, those do NOT have enough pigment, so don't waste your money on those, but the perfectly fine Prang 8 color set is generally $2 to $5. And hey, it doesn't go to waste, either; one of the best things about cake watercolors is, they're WATER colors. Meaning, you just add water when they're dry--even those little puddles of color you make in the lid
can be used again!
the brush that came with the set is fine, but a bigger one (like this disposable foam brush) will make things much easier
ideally, you would use some watercolor paper, but if you don't have any, use a heavy weight cardstock, which is what I use here. Just don't scrub on it with your brush--it will make annoying little balls of paper.
some masking tape--it does NOT have to be blue painter's tape, that's just all I had on hand
something to tape your paper down to--in "real life" I have a big hunkin' sheet of some kind of wood from my college watercolor days, but here--no excuses--if you don't have that, use a cookie sheet or tray
FIRST:This is stretching, sometimes called blocking, the paper--and yes, you CAN skip this step. Your paper will curl up when it's all soppy wet, but that's what an iron is for (after the paper dries, of course).
|tape the paper down to the cookie sheet or tray|
|brush paper all over with plenty of water|
THIRD: while the paper is still wet, add lots of color:
The watercolor will bleed and feather. You can add splatters of color by tapping the brush against the edge of the pan, or against your other hand:
Allow the paper to dry, peel off the tape and voila!
|another finished watercolor wash background|
Again, starting with a juicy wet watercolor wash, this time take rubbing (isopropyl)
dip the end of your paintbrush in the alcohol, dripping it onto the wet watercolor.
The alcohol has a lesser surface tension than the water, creating lovely drippy bubbly looking dots like this:
That's it--no excuses--basic watercolor washes for all! There are more water inspired techniques and projects in upcoming columns, lots of inspiration to join in the Beach and Mermaid Reader's Art Quests, and plenty of summer fun waiting to happen here at Unruly Paper Arts.
Are YOU ready to Catch the Wave?