Watercolor Tutorials: Dry Brush watercolor tutorial
Conserves paint and adds texture

Dry Brush watercolor tutorial
OBJECT: Learn dry brush watercolor painting techniques.

The parched painter
MATERIALS USED: Arches #140 CP watercolor paper, Grumbacher 1" flat red sable, and Kolonok's #4 flat and #8 round Kolinsky red sable brushes.

COLORS USED (various manufacture): Cadmium Yellow Medium, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Red Medium, Alizarin Crimson, Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Hooker's Green Dark, Burnt Sienna, and Burnt Umber.

First off, I lightly sketched a random landscape design on the watercolor paper using a #1 pencil.

With a light wash of Cerulean Blue I scumbled a rough sky in, dragging and pushing my 1" flat read sable to create texture.


Laying some foundation washes
I wanted some underlying tones to dry brush the subsequent strokes over.

I made a light wash of Hooker's Green Dark grayed with a touch of Alizarin Crimson and I painted the backround tree line around what is now determined to be a lake using the #8 round red sable .

Using a wash of Dioxazine purple I painted the shadow areas of the tree, keeping the edges rough with broken washes.

While this was still wet I added some blue accents with a mix of Cobalt blue.


Letting the underpainting dry
I tried to keep the underpainting as dry and broken looking as possible, except for the lake area which needed some suggestions of the reflections and flow of the water.

Using a gray made of Burnt Sienna, Cobalt blue and Hooker's Green Dark I scruffed in a foreground bank area.

I let the underpainting dry.


A tree emerges
I mixed up a strong blue wash from Cobalt and Ultramarine Blue using a #4 flat red sable.

Holding my brush at a rather severe angle I let it lay on the paper with varying pressure as I dragged strokes to create the shadows and texture on the tree trunk.


It's Fall!
After finishing the large tree trunk I decided it was fall (which it was at the time) and using all the Cadmium colors; yellow medium, orange, and red medium, I roughed in fall foliage with some rather garish colors.

I used the Kolonok #4 flat red sable for these washes.


A change in plans
As I finished the riot of color on the far banks I added a light wash of orange as a reflection in the lake of the large background tree followed by a run of pure Cadmium yellow medium down the bank under the far tree. I mixed a dark bluish gray from some Cobalt blue and Burnt umber and quickly drew in some dark accents strokes on the large tree trunk.

At this point I considered the flaming trees and though of the dark maroon maple trees across the street. Using the underpainting as a base I scrubbed in the main tree shape with a mixture of Alizarin crimson and Pthalocyanine green which gave an adequate maroon color.

As I worked on the big maroon tree in I relied on the natural spread of the #8 round red sable brush to help create convincing foliage textures.


The classic water effect
I decided the water in lake would be a greenish brown. I used Hooker's Green Dark and Burnt Umber to get a satisfactory color.

I start dragging texture parallel with the horizon line, across the lake using the not-too-wet #4 flat red sable.


A lake appears before me
As I pulled each stroke across the lake I varied pressure on the brush to create the "sparkly" water areas.

TIP: If your brush is too wet, you'll lay a flat wash. Blot your brush on a flat damp sponge or paper towel to adjust the amount of paint in the brush.


A little detail and punch up
Using Hooker's Green Dark I made a medium toned puddle of paint. I used my #4 flat red sable brush, charged, and blotted. I tweaked it between my thumb and finger to spread the hairs a bit.

Using an upward "flicking" motion I added some grasses under the tree. I used some of the same color on the far bank.


Just a minute, almost done...
I decided the lake had some swampy areas near the shore and I added some calligraphic indication of cattails.

By now, the blue in the sky was looking a little too light. I mixed up some more Cerulean Blue, a little darker this time, and scumbled the sky areas again.

Using the same blue and a #8 round red sable brush I added the sky color to the lake reflections.

Finished! Click image to enlarge.



How to paint a flat wash How to paint a graded wash How to paint wet-in-wet Learn drybrush watercolor technique How to paint glazed washes Plastic wrap texture technique Salt watercolor texture technique Lifting wet watercolor paint Lifting dry watercolor paint Scraffitto (scratching) and stamping watercolor techniques Splattering, spraying, and dripping watercolor techniques Tissue paper texture watercolor technique Alcohol texture watercolor technique Backwash, waterdrops and runs watercolor technique Using liquid frisket with watercolor
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