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Watercolor Tutorials: Wax Resist watercolor technique
Wax and watercolor offer up some repelling behavior

Wax Resist watercolor tutorial
OBJECT: Learn to use wax-based media for watercolor 'resist' technique.

Materials and drawing
MATERIALS USED: Arches CP #140 watercolor paper, a 1" red sable Grumbacher wash brush. A candle and a number of light colored crayons from and old pack of 64.

COLORS USED: Permanent Rose, Ultramarine Blue, Dioxazine Purple, Pthalocyanine Blue, Burnt Umber.

I gathered the materials and roughed in a quick landscape in pencil.

Is that a moon?
I started by drawing the moon in with the edge of a candle.

I couldn't see the wax on the paper so I continued to throw in some cloud forms that I couldn't see.

I then rough in some reflections below the moon, in the soon-to-be dark lake.

Picking out some grassy areas
Using a yellow-green crayon I drew in some grassy reed areas around the edges of the lake area.

It is futile to resist
Using a yellow crayon I added more details to the grassy areas.

With the yellow-green crayon I put a light tone along the edge of the horizon.

I finished by dotting a few stars in the sky with a white crayon and using a light periwinkle blue to try and catch some highlights in the lake area.

Are the stars out tonight?
I mixed a intense Ultramarine Blue wash and started laying in the night sky.

The areas covered with wax resist the paint, and stay white. Not quite what I had visualized, but I digress and continue.

Maybe a little more color
As I washed in the rest of the sky area I added some Permanent Rose and a touch of Dioxazine purple towards the horizon line to liven things up.

I mixed some Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber into a medium gray and started to cut in the background hills over the resist areas.

Shifting colors and water tones
The gray didn't work out too well so I layed a wash of pure Ultramarine over top of the backgroud hills to pop up the color.

I then mixed some Pthalocyanine Green with a bit of the previous gray wash and pulled the green wash over the surface of the lake, revealing more resist detail.

It's easy to resist
I continued with the grayed-green wash, leaving a bit of white paper and drybrush toward the far shore to accentuate the reflections on the water. Some backwash came down from the blue hills so I worke d the blue into the lake.

Click image to enlarge.

The wax resist technique requires some thought and preplanning if you are doing representational work.