Watercolor Terms You Should Know

A Quick Guide to 10 Easy Watercolor Techniques


Here at The Splatter, we try to be as helpful as we can when it comes to teaching you more about art. So, in the spirit of keeping things simple, here are a list of terms for beginner watercolor painters to learn more abut the techniques every watercolor painter should know:

Wash– A large body of the paper that is covered in water or pigment to create an even background color or effect.

Flat Wash- A wash that is one solid color that takes up the entire page.

Graded Wash– A wash that gets lighter with every stroke, as the painting progresses, each stroke becomes lighter than the last.

Backlighting– Washing the background with lighter colors so the source of light is behind the subject.

Masking- The process of using a liquid latex to protect a part of your painting so that you can paint over it without disturbing or affecting the paint below.

Mud- Occurs when a still wet wash is met with more paint before it has had time to dry forming a rough, dull looking area.

Pre-Wet- When you wet the paper with clear water before you paint so that that the water will take the paint from the tip of the brush instead of having to fully lay down the paint.

Broken Edge- a technique where the side of a brush is speedily dragged over the surface of the paper to leave a broken edge of painted and unpainted areas of a wash.

Alcohol Texture– Alcohol and water don’t mix so when alcohol is sprinkled into watercolor paint, it forms a unique texture.

Splattering- An easy technique to spread out and “splatter” drops of paint over your watercolor paper. The effect is achieved by putting paint on your brush and then pulling the bristles back with your thumb so that when released the bristles catapult the paint onto the paper.


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