Home » The Wet-In-Wet Watercolor Technique: Mastering The Basics To Paint Exotic Fish

The Wet-In-Wet Watercolor Technique: Mastering The Basics To Paint Exotic Fish

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Step 9: Watery Background & Wet-In-Wet Watercolor


While the first layer for the eyes and other details are drying, it’s finally time to paint the empty white background. Going back to the large no. 20 Escoda Perla brush, mix a touch of blues with Cobalt Green to get a good turquoise color and paint the background using the wet-on-dry technique. Make sure to paint around the fish and the two stripes of plant life, although it’s fine to overlap a little to tie the fish to the surrounding water. Keep picking up more water and paint when you feel the brush begin to dry, and go quickly to prevent streaks from forming on top of one another. It’s fine to leave patches of white; they can be bubbles and add a little “sparkle” to the overall painting.

While the background is still wet, mix in some Indigo paint to darken the background (i.e. the wet-in-wet watercolor technique), especially the area around the fish. This adds another layer of depth to the painting while really helping the fish to pop out of the background. Just makes sure not to start painting any patterns or making the background too colorful, as this will distract from the fish, which is where the focus of the painting should be.

Layer in Neutral Tint and Indigo for an even darker blue, adding a touch of Olive Green for a slight variation and toning it down if necessary with more Payne’s Gray and Indigo. Don’t forget to paint the gaps between the two fish as well!