If you love the watercolor aesthetic but want to use acrylic paint, this is how you can achieve the same look! I am showing this tutorial as painted on a wooden snowflake that I ordered from Michaels, but you can use these same steps and techniques on canvas or other surfaces.
Get your colors ready! Start with titanium white acrylic as your base and mix tiny amounts of color to it. This way you can develop a pastel color scheme and control how light or dark the colors are.
Dilute your paint with water. You want the consistency to be like a creamy soup if that helps. Start with a little bit and mix, adding more water slowly.
Start with big brushstrokes of your darkest color first. To get the watercolor effect, you’ll need to use a ton of thin layers. Since the paint is watered down, it will dry very quickly. Just keep working on different sections and leave plenty of the background showing underneath.
Do your medium-dark colors next. By working from dark layers to light, you’re taking the weight off the appearance. At this point, you should have about 80% of the surface covered and the rest should be your background surface texture.
Blend the edges of your brushstrokes with a cloth-like paper towel. I LOVE Viva paper towels for this! It doesn’t leave texture or lint behind and it softens the whole look. Yes it will removed quite a bit of paint, but thats ok!
Last, overlap areas with your lightest colors. This way, you’ll still get the depth of the dark colors underneath but it will feel more weightless. You can actually use titanium white directly on the surface and blend it in with your brush. Soften again with your paper towel if you like.
Details!! Making little marks or accents will create interest and more contrast!
Hope this tutorial helps! Questions? Drop them in the comments!
If you want to play around with REAL watercolor but in an easy way, check out my DIY Watercolor Kits! I have over 75 designs that you can paint and ask anyone- they’re basically fool-proof! You’ll love it!
We all make mess up our watercolor paintings sometimes, even me! (Frequently my foster kittens.)
Lifting is the process of removing watercolor pigment from your papers surface with a paper towel or sometimes a dry brush.
PRO TIP: using an untextured soft paper towel works miracles! Some napkins and towels tear or leave behind bits of material. Viva Cloth-like Paper Towels are my absolute favorite and must-have for any watercolorist! This is not sponsored or endorsed- I’m saying this because it’s true! Good luck!
You’re gonna want to SAVE this tutorial for later! These are the two most basic watercolor techniques you need to know!
Wet on Dry: this means the paint is wet but the paper is dry. You’ll get very precise brushstrokes this way- necessary for details!
Wet on Wet: this means the paint is wet AND the paper is wet! Use clean, clear, water for a light coat. Not so much water that your paper will buckle, but just enough so the water will absorb into the top layer. (Check out my tutorial called “The Perfect Amount of Water,” for more help!) Then, drop wet paint onto the wet surface and let it blossom!
Need more watercolor help? Drop your questions in the comments for more tutorials!