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Painting The Night: A Night-Time Cityscape Of Tokyo

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Learn to paint a night-time cityscape like a pro in this tutorial of Tokyo in the “dark”! Instructor William “Bill” Dunn captures Ginza’s vibrant night life in this watercolor scene, and uses watercolor’s unique transparency trait to make his painting glow. Want to watch the video version? The full tutorial is available to members of our Watercolor University.

Materials Used In This Watercolor Class:

  • Reference picture of Tokyo at night
  • A block of Fabriano cold press watercolor paper (140lb, size 12″ x 18″)
  • Pentel Graphgear 1000 automatic drafting pencil, 0.7mm lead size with 2B lead
  • ½” Artist’s or masking tape
  • Painting palette for watercolor paints
  • Auxiliary plate or palette
  • A container of water
  • Paper towels or a rag
  • A tabletop easel or a box to prop your painting on
  • A spray bottle with clean water

Paints (Holbein Artists’ Watercolors)

  • Lemon Yellow
  • Brilliant Orange
  • Cadmium Red Purple
  • Permanent Alizarin Crimson
  • Cobalt Violet Light (a.k.a. “Lavender”)
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Cobalt Blue Hue
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Burnt Umber
  • Indigo
  • Neutral Tint
  • Ivory Black

Winsor & Newton’s Professional Watercolors

  • Permanent Carmine
  • Permanent Mauve (or Sennelier’s Cobalt Violet Deep Hue watercolor paint)
  • French Ultramarine


  • Neef Rigger Supreme Taklon Series: Long handle rigger brush (no. 10)
  • Escoda Perla Joseph Zbukvic Series: Round brush (no. 8)
  • Escoda Perla Joseph Zbukvic Series: Round brush (no. 20)
  • Escoda Versàtil Kolinsky Sable Fiber Series: Pointed round brush (no. 12)
  • Winsor & Newton’s Sceptre Gold II Series 606: One stroke flat brush (size 1″)
  • Winsor & Newton’s Series 7 Kolinsky Sable: Round brush (no. 1)