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13 Easy Watercolor Techniques, Tips, & Tricks

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Step 7: A Chemical Breakup – Using Alcohol On Paint


In the next 2 easy watercolor techniques, Isabella shows how to use alternative materials as ways of manipulating watercolor paint. The first will be the effect of alcohol.

To experiment, use the cat’s tongue brush to paint a small square with Intense Blue (Phthalo Blue) paint. This is quite a strong color, so try not to use too much of it. Next, drop in 90%+ alcohol while the paint is still wet. Use a glass pipette for more control over your alcohol drops, as you don’t want to put too much. You’ll see that the alcohol creates a spotty texture in the blue paint, which can’t be done with a paintbrush.

This texture is made because alcohol pushes pigment away to the side, making bacteria-like spots in the paint. It’s also possible to add layers of paint on top without affecting the underlying texture too much.