Watercolour Series – On The Paper

whimsandfancies.com | Wonders of Watercolour Series - Learing to watercolour by Soma

 

Hi Everyone! I continue to get comments and emails about watercolour tutorials.  So, I have been toying with the idea of writing a series on “Watercolour For The Rest Of Us” for a while.  I want to approach this from a child’s point of view of learning through playing, since that is how this journey started for me.  I want us to play and dabble with paint on paper;  have fun and relax while learning the basics.

 

 

 

whimsandfancies.com | Wonders of Watercolour Series - Learing to watercolour by Soma

 

 

Size of Paper

 

I find 5 in x 7 in to be a good size to work with for any sample painting.  It is large enough to add details, but also small enough to not be daunting.  This is simply a guideline.  Feel free to use a size that best suits you.

 

 

 

whimsandfancies.com | Wonders of Watercolour Series - Learing to watercolour by Soma

 

 

Brand of Paper

 

I really love experimenting with paper.  There are two that are my favorite .  They are economical and good quality.

Strathmore 400 series – Make sure to get the 400 series (with the brown cover) .  I never really liked the 300 series (yellow cover).

Canson XL watercolour paper – Possibly my most favourite paper.

Both of these are 140lb / 300 gsm paper, which is important for watercolour.   I usually get a pad that I can remove paper from.

I use sketchbooks from these two brands as well.

 

 

 

whimsandfancies.com | Wonders of Watercolour Series - Learing to watercolour by Soma

 

 

Sketchbook

 

Before we get into painting,  we need to draw.   I strongly suggest you keep a sketchbook.  You can make notes in it and it is nice to go back and flip through them.

 

Pro Tip – I almost always start my paintings by drawing in a sketchbook,  NEVER directly on watercolour paper.  Erasing unwanted marks damages the paper, and you can never really get rid of the pencil imprints. 

 

 

 

whimsandfancies.com | Wonders of Watercolour Series - Learing to watercolour by Soma

 

 

The best sketchbook is the one you will use most.   I have a 5.5 in x 8.5 in sketchbook that I use most frequently.  It is small enough to toss in my bag, and I can balance it on my lap while listening to audio books.  It is the perfect size for small spaces.

 

Pro Tip – I like using a ring binder sketchbook because I like folding the pages over to the back while drawing and it makes tracing really simple.

 

 

Tracing

 

For the next couple of steps you will need a lightboard.  If you don’t have a lightboard, you can always use a sunlit window.

 

 

whimsandfancies.com | Wonders of Watercolour Series - Learing to watercolour by Soma

 

 

Use a photo instead of drawing from scratch

 

You may often shy away from painting because the thought of drawing is daunting to you.  Tracing from a printed photo is a great way to start.  No, it is NOT cheating!  

As you get more confident,  you can start drawing freehand like I do.  

NOTE – Please make sure that you are using a photo that you took or are using with permission.

 

Tracing becomes super easy with ring binder sketchbooks.   You move all the pages to one side, leaving just a single sheet on the other side.  Place the single sketchbook page on top of the photo and secure both with tape on the lit-up surface of the lightboard.  Start tracing.

 

 

whimsandfancies.com | Wonders of Watercolour Series - Learing to watercolour by Soma

 

 

Pro Tip – Use a red pencil for drawing/tracing.  When you trace on your watercolour paper with a black pencil, you can easily make out the parts that have not been traced over yet.

 

While tracing,  you are mostly looking to add the primary shape with a few details.  Stay engaged and enjoy the process.

Once you have the basics down on your paper, you can proceed to the next step: painting.  OR, you can play with the lines – add to them, erase the parts you don’t want, etc.   You can play here to your heart’s content.

 

 

 

whimsandfancies.com | Wonders of Watercolour Series - Learing to watercolour by Soma

 

 

Tracing on watercolour paper

 

Once you are happy with what you have in your sketchbook, let’s move on toward tracing the drawing on watercolour paper.   If you have a ring binder sketchbook, move all the pages to one side, keeping just the sheet with your drawing on it on the other side. 

Place the watercolour paper on top of the sketchbook page and secure both with tape onto the lit-up surface of the lightboard. 

Take care to trace the lines gently with light pressure and try not to erase too much.  A little shift here and there is fine.

 

Pro Tip – Start tracing from left to right to avoid smudging.

 

 

 

whimsandfancies.com | Wonders of Watercolour Series - Learing to watercolour by Soma

 

 

Getting ready for painting

 

Get a piece of stiff cardboard or an MDF board that is larger than your paper.  It needs to be smooth. 

Watercolour paper tends to wrinkle and fold if not taped down when wet.  That makes paint flow into unwanted places.   Don’t worry about “stretching” your paper.  I will teach you how to flatten your finished painting.

Using masking tape, tape the edges of the watercolour paper onto the board.  I usually cover about 1/4″ of the edge on each side.  Try to make it very flat and taut. 

Now you are ready to paint.

 

 

whimsandfancies.com | Wonders of Watercolour Series - Learing to watercolour by Soma

 

I hope this gives you enough info to start with watercolour.   Look around you, find something easy.  Try to draw it freehand or take a photo and trace.  Play with the lines. 

Keep it simple!  You are doing this for yourself to unwind and relax.  So have fun! 

If you know anyone who would love to join, I would be ever so grateful if you pass on the website link to them.

 

Next time I will go over paint and brush, and share an easy painting!

Happy Sketching!
-Soma

 

I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  Please pay a visit to some of them.

 

 

 

Comments (39)

 

Fairy Tale Gingerbread House And Simple365

Fairy Tale Gingerbread House Watercolour Painting | Shop Whims And Fancies

Fairy Tale Gingerbread House On Etsy

 

Summer  is a time for me to stay indoors, clean up my workspace, get my act together and plan ahead, but always with room for spontaneity.    This year however, the planner pages remain empty.  I am finding myself increasingly wanting to work on and experiment with new materials and ideas.  That includes thinking of alternate twists on old stories.

 

Before I go into the story behind this painting, let me share another set of my Simple 365 photos. 

 

Simple 365 – Set 2

Please Click on the image thumbnails to see the photos.

 

 

Previous Sets –

Simple 365 – Set 1

 

Early this year, I started taking daily photos of simple, everyday things to remind me to be happy.  These are truly everyday photos that mostly reflect my days and my life.

 

 

Fairy Tale Gingerbread House Watercolour Painting | Shop Whims And Fancies

 

A few months back, I was sketching of a gingerbread house right at the edge of the wood. 

 

A little tip for watercolour painting

I almost always start my paintings by drawing in a sketchbook or on large sheets of loose paper, NEVER directly on watercolour paper.  Erasing unwanted marks damages the watercolour paper, and you can never really get rid of the erased pencil imprints. 

Once I am happy with my drawing, I use my light-board to trace the final drawing on the watercolour paper before I start painting.

 

 

Fairy Tale Gingerbread House Watercolour Painting | Shop Whims And Fancies

 

Originally, the witch at the door was not part of the painting.  I was thinking of sweets and icing for the house itself.  I also enjoyed painting the wicked woods and the bramble that lay behind the house. 

I was happy with the painting, but without the witch it didn’t feel complete.  As I was drawing her, I thought: “What if she is not a horrid witch as the stories portray her, but a kind one?”

 

 

Fairy Tale Gingerbread House Watercolour Painting | Shop Whims And Fancies

Fairy Tale Gingerbread House On Etsy

 

Once someone enters the wicked woods, they never return. She is there to protect wandering children from entering the woods by luring them into the gingerbread house.  She sends the children who are truly lost home.  For the ones who have run away from bad homes, she finds a happy home. 

For me, she embodies hope.  That’s at least my version of the story and I am sticking to it!

 

Prints of the Fairy Tale Gingerbread House are available in my shop.  I would like to think it would make a wonderful gift for book lovers,  adults and children alike. 

Hope you liked my version of the story. I would also love to know which of the Simple 365 photos from this set you liked.

 

Wishing you a happy week ahead,
-Soma

 

I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  Please pay a visit to some of them.

 

 

Comments (45)