Using Tissue Paper As A Watercolor Technique For Textures

How to use tissue paper as a watercolor technique for painting abstract textures.

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. 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.
by Greg Conley

September 11th, 2015