One of the easiest watercolor painting ideas is painting silhouettes, which gives you the opportunity to create beautiful backgrounds while bringing focus to your subject through the use of the contrast between the foreground and background. In this tutorial, we'll be preparing for the Mid-Autumn Festival by painting some bunnies with the full moon as a backdrop.
Materials Used In This Watercolor Lesson:
- Watercolor cold press paper (140lb, size 5" x 5")
- ½" artist's or masking tape
- Watercolor palette
- 2 containers of water
- Clean rag or paper towel
- Kneaded eraser
Holbein Artists' Watercolor
- Lemon Yellow
- Lamp Black
- BABARA 600R Squirrel Hair Series: Round mop brush (no. 3)
- BABARA 20R Series: Round brush (no. 4)
Step 1: Sketch the Bunnies and the Moon
Just like the usual jumpstart of most watercolor painting ideas, secure your watercolor paper with some artist's tape around the edges, then quickly sketch your bunnies enjoying the full moon. We recommend using a compass or a round object to get a good circle for the moon! Sketching the bunnies in different poses will also make your overall painting more interesting. You can add some grass and flower details on the ground as well to make your painting come to life. Remember though that the foreground will just be a silhouette, so you don't need details like eyes or fur for the rabbits.
Step 2: A Night Sky Via the Wet-In-Wet Technique
Using the wet-in-wet technique, lightly dampen your paper first with water and a large mop brush. Be careful to avoid the moon though, as we want to keep that a very light color. While the paper is still wet, start dropping in Indigo paint. Add more saturated paint in the upper section of the sky for a deeper and more saturated color.
Step 3: Washing the Moon in Color
After the background is dry, add depth to the moon by lightly washing it with heavily diluted Lemon Yellow paint. There's no need to fill the entire circle; just use light dabs and strokes to distribute a very thin layer of the paint. Leave most of the highlights around the top-middle area in preparation for painting the moon's craters.
Step 4: Painting the Bunny Silhouettes
At this point, you can already paint the bunny silhouettes and the ground the bunnies are standing on. All you need is saturated Lamp Black paint and a round brush (no. 4) to make the bunnies stand out against the already mesmerizing backdrop of your painting. Make sure the rest of your painting is dry before starting though! This watercolor painting idea needs focus and careful precision so that you'll be able to outline your subjects nicely. Don't forget to paint the ground and the details you added to it, such as the grass and some small flowers. And as you move downwards, you can go for a more diluted black to add more depth and contrast to your painting.
Step 5: Bring These Painting Ideas Together By Adding Details
When the bunnies' silhouettes are dry, you can add more details to the moon to depict its many craters and uneven surface. Again, use light strokes and keep a few white highlight so that it looks more realistic. If there are any leftover pencil marks from your sketch, you can also erase them gently with a kneaded eraser (but only do so when the paint is dry!). Once you're satisfied with the overall look, you're done! It's such a quick and effortless project using one of the easiest watercolor painting ideas, right? You can view the video version of this tutorial by clicking on the link below. Happy painting!