How to create different effects with watercolours

I found an old notebook with some tips on creating effects using watercolours. I’ve copied them out below. It is really easy to create textured effects with watercolours. Here are some tips you can try:

  • Mix some washing-up liquid in with the watercolour paint to create a bubbled texture.
  • Draw on the paper with crayon or candle wax to create a wax resist effect when you brush a layer of watercolour over the top.
  • After you’ve applied a layer of watercolour, lift off the colour with tissue or damp sponge. This is especially useful for creating skies.
  • Adding gum arabic to watercolour gives the paint a glossy look. If you add a larger proportion to make the paint thick, it will lift off the paper when you dab it with sponge or something absorbent.
  • Adding ox gall to watercolour makes the paint flow more smoothly and is good for painting flowers.
  • If you drop ox gall onto watercolour paint, it will push the pigment out to the edges.
  • Scrape back the paint with a knife to produce a fine line. You can also try rubbing the surface with sandpaper.
  • Cling film or plastic wrap can be used to create texture. Add a layer of paint and use cling film to create texture. You can also use foil or bubble wrap.
  • Use rock salt to soak up areas of pigment. Add a layer of watercolour and sprinkle rock salt over the top. Wait for the paint to dry and brush off the salt. This will create a star-like effect, also good for creating a texture that looks like water.
  • Use a sponge dipped in watercolour to create foliage on trees by dabbing the sponge on the paper.

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