The Watercolor Workshop: Application Techniques

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This course features:
4 Hours of Instruction
19 Videos
18 eBooks
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Lesson Description

An overview of watercolor application techniques including flat wash, gradations, wet on wet, wet on dry, dry brush, lifting color, dry on wet, scumbling, glazing, using a sea sponge, applying salt, and scratching/indenting.

Lesson Materials

140 lb. Cold press watercolor paper, masking tape, masonite board, variety of brushes, watercolor paints (tube or cake), sea sponge, salt, paper towel, and a dull Exacto knife.

Lesson Resources

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Quick Reference Guide

Lesson Discussion

    • Yes, they are very similar. Scumbling is more about changing the value or color through layered applications. A “dry” brush may be used for “scumbling”.

    • Hi Helen,

      Thanks for letting me know. I have replaced the file with a smaller one that loads much faster. Lower quality papers may become oversaturated with water causing the little specks.

  1. Hi Matt, this is great! I am learning a lot as I am starting with watercolor. Looking forward to the rest of the course.

    For the dry brush technique, is the paper wet? or is it dry brush on dry paper?
    Thank you,

  2. It’s really nice to have those ebooks! Thanks so much. Much of this is review for me, but on the days I can’t paint, I can read the ebooks~!~
    Thanks again,
    Betty Smith

    • Tube watercolors can be reused after they dry on a palette. Tubes are not necessarily better then cake watercolors. Some folks prefer the cakes. I use both depending on the size of the art and the colors that I need. I feel that you have a little more control over the intensity of the color when you use the tubes. I hope this helps.

  3. This is the best class on Watercolours I have ever found. My first class ever, for beginners consisted of a vase being placed on the table and we were told to paint it. I am impressed and am now off to check my supplies and then go and purchase what I will need to add. Thank you Matt for understanding the needs of someone such as myself and presenting it in such a clear and understandable way. I am so looking forward to all that you can teach me.

  4. May I add a technique? I saw a video of a watercolor artist using an old creditcard she had cut in half. This “tool” enabled her to paint birch trees. She used the card to paint the dark stribes on the birch trees – and it really looked convincing. I haven’t tried it myself yet, but I’ll soon give it a go. I’m sorry I can’t provide a link to the video – it’s so long ago I saw it, that I can’t remember the artist’s name.

  5. Matt, I love everything you do and how you do it so beautifully. Your attention to detail in all areas of art is fantastic! You don’t miss a thing and that means a lot to me, as I am detail oriented myself. Your knowledge and talent and the way you teach us is so thorough that we can’t help but learn everything you make available to us. You are officially on my personal list of seven-plus wonders of the world. However, I hope you can help me with one thing that bothers me, and that is figuring out how to get the same particular colors that you are using by color name when my colors don’t come with a name. I got the Windsor Newton watercolor set but it didn’t come with names. I wrote to them to get the names to my particular set (the Starry Night tin with 36 colors) but what they sent me didn’t correlate with my paint set. I also have trouble with colored pencils. Is there a way to define these colors to coordinate with standard color names? Thank you for you help with this. Marjorie

    • Hi Marjorie,

      Wow! Thank you so much for your wonderful comments. If you have the Winsor and Newton cake watercolors, you can pull them out and look for the color name on the side of the plastic container. They are a little bit of a pain to pull out, but you should see the name of the color printed (very small) on the side of the plastic container.

      As far as colored pencils go, each manufacturer makes up their own names. This isn’t ideal, but unfortunately out of our control. To be honest, I never really think too much about the name of the color that I use when drawing or painting. Instead, I simply think in terms of color theory and try to match colors based on mixing and matching.

  6. When you’re stretching the large peaces of watercolor paper, you submerge it in water. How does the paper not crumble apart? Is it because its thick? Do you leave the 90 pound paper in shorter than five minutes, and the 300 pound paper in longer five minutes?

    • Hi Rachel,

      There isn’t really a time requirement for holding the paper under water. You just want it to be wet so that when it dries, it shrinks slightly. This results in a tighter surface for painting and makes it less likely you’ll have to deal with buckling paper.

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