Back To Watercolor Basics: A Crash Course On Watercolor For Beginners
Step 7: Color Swatches And Changing The Value
One exercise that’s good for watercolor beginners is to paint 3 swatches of 1 color. Steve uses Cobalt Blue Hue to show how its tone can vary simply by controlling the amount of water mixed with the paint.
To do this, pick up a lot of Cobalt Blue Hue until your brush is saturated with paint without being paste-like. Then, paint a 1″ x 2″ rectangle for your first swatch of blue. Repeat this twice, but each time with a little more water than the last. This should give you 3 swatches of the same color at different values (i.e. light vs dark), and show how these variations can affect each color of paint you have. You can paint a color chart this way; each color with 3 values: one as a pure color, one at medium opacity, and one diluted. Just think of water being your “white” paint to make it lighter.
This exercise is called “changing the value“, and is good practice for understanding each color’s pigment and how it’s affected by water. It also gives a good idea of what each color looks like on paper so you can familiarize yourself with their names.