5 Traditional vs digital watercolour techniques

5 Traditional vs digital watercolour techniques

5 Traditional Watercolour techniques vs digital watercolour

I wrote the following blog post for Escape Motions, using their amazing digital drawing software. Please have a look at their software here

Cleo Samantha is a botanical watercolour artist and in this blog, she will take her top 5 traditional botanical watercolour techniques and implement them into a digital artwork. Let us explore the digital possibilities that rebella can offer to the botanical watercolour artist wanting to create beautiful floral designs.

One of the advantages of Digital vs Traditional watercolour is the scalability of the artwork when producing artwork for surface printing. We can achieve a high-quality render.

When using watercolour it is important to remember that we should build up the colour slowly. Start with light washes of colour, then add a glaze, and finally add some detail.

Let's dive into each technique while creating a simple loose flower design.

1# wet on wet 

With the wet-on-wet technique, we can create ethereal and dreamy textures. This technique is unique to watercolour and it creates that Beautiful and light effect we see in famous watercolour paintings from Turner. This technique requires us to wet the paper before applying a touch of colour. I suggest using a medium brush with approximately 20% "Opacity" and 30 – 40% of "Water". My rule of thumb is to always use less paint than you think suitable! Apply a single layer of paint water to each petal of the flower. You can increase the opacity by 5-10% for the front petals - to create more depth in your artwork. Leave a border between each petal to ensure that the petals don't bleed into each other. 

#2 Dry Brush 

The dry brush technique is useful when it comes to adding detail to an artwork. I used a Dry brush with approximately 60% "Opacity" and 10% of "Water" to create the detailing in the middle of the flower. The lower water and higher opacity mean that the paint won't run/spread, giving you more control over paint placement. 


#3 blending - two brush technique
My personal favourite technique! blending is the trickest technique in watercolour. It requires one smaller dry brush and a larger wet brush.
Your smaller brush should be 10-20% water and +60% opacity. Your bigger wet brush should have 60% water and 10-20% opacity.
The traditional way is to apply a line of paint with your smaller brush and blend out the edge with the bigger brush.

4# Glazing

Glazing is a Wet-on-wet technique, you apply colour to a wet paper, but it is different to a wash because you are applying one colour on top of a different colour, and because the paper is wet, these colours will mix to produce a new colour. Glazing requires some knowledge of colour theory.
For example, If your first wet wash is yellow and you add the blue glaze on top, you will get a green colour.
I've added a light green glaze over parts of the petals. Green over purple will dull down the purple, creating a grey green-purple. I do this in my traditional artworks to create shadows.
This is a traditional technique that I love and it translated well into digital with rebellas advanced pigment mixing technology.

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