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Using Tissue Paper As A Watercolor Technique For Textures

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Step 1 for abstract watercolor technique with tissue paper

Materials and intentions

MATERIALS USED: Arches CP #140 watercolor paper, a 1½” Winsor & Newton Series 965 wash brush, a crumpled piece of white gift wrap tissue paper.

COLORS USED: Permanent Rose, Alizarin Crimson, Sap Green.

In this watercolor technique, I started by wadding up a single sheet of tissue paper and preparing washes of Sap Green, and a wash of Permanent Rose and Alizarin Crimson.

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I contemplated their fate.


Making a field of color

Using my 1½” wash brush I loaded it up with the previously mixed Permanent Rose and Alizarin Crimson.

I proceed to lay washes and cut in the edges in with red.

I dipped the corner of my (red) brush into some Sap Green and stabbed and mixed these two colors on the paper.


Before the big cover-up

I continued to scruff in the middle a bit and then thoroughly rinsed my brush.

I finished painting the rest of the surface with a strong Sap Green wash intermixed with the reds from before.

The surface is wet and saturated with watercolor paint in strong colors.


Clean that mess up!

I spread the tissue out and shaped it into the approximate size I needed.

Being careful to cover the entire area, I positioned the tissue over the wash and gentle pressed down with my palms.

I did not press the tissue entriely flat, allowing the crinkles and creases to do their job.

I set the example aside to dry, almost.


Tissue paper watercolor textures

I knew that a couple of the pigments I used have high binder levels (see the salt tutorial) and the tissue paper could be glued to the painting if I let it dry completely.

I lifted a corner to see if the design was set and gently pulled the tissue paper off to reveal the effect you see.

Click image to enlarge.