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Back To Watercolor Basics: A Crash Course On Watercolor For Beginners

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Step 6: The Watercolor Basics On Setting Up And Using Your Tools

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In part 2 of this watercolor basics course, Steve moves on to show how to use your tools and navigate a painting efficiently. As he’s right-handed, he puts his palette to the right of his painting and the water container just above the palette. This is to prevent paint from dripping onto his paper as he moves from wetting his brush to mixing paint on his palette, then moving to paint on paper. He also has a paper towel in his other hand to absorb excess paint and control the charge in his brush.

He begins with the simple exercise of painting a flat wash. To do this, wet your brush with water, then pick up some paint and mix it evenly with the brush on your palette. Steve uses Permanent Alizarin Crimson to demonstrate these watercolor basics. Using a no. 10 round brush, brush it on your paper and it will disperse the paint evenly. Use the tip of the brush to find the edge of the object or area you’re painting.

If you paint with your paper block tilted, the paint will gather at the bottom of the wash. This will allow you to drain it by first drying your brush with a paper towel so you’re left with a “thirsty brush”, then touching the tip of the brush to the pool of paint. It will guarantee a very even flat wash with watercolor’s transparent nature in full display, especially when you add another wash on top after the first layer is dry.