July is National Watercolor Month and what better way to celebrate than by practicing some new techniques! Give these seven options a try this month and see which ones you’ll be sharing in your arts & crafts classroom this fall!
1. Negative Painting
Instead of painting where you want color to go, paint around the area instead. This will turn your watercolor paint into the background, while the paper steps forward as the main object in the foreground.
Before you begin, use tape to create lines and shapes on the paper. Then, paint over them as you normally would. Once the paint has dried, remove the tape to reveal some unique white spaces that bring extra dimension to your work.
3. Pencil Outlining
Watercolor is known for not having strict dark lines outlining the art. However, that doesn’t mean a little pencil drawing is forbidden! Sketch out a rough outline of the drawing with 2H pencil that won’t fade underneath the paint. Then, use a medium brush to add light strokes. You can leave as-is for a bit of an “undone” look, or continue adding color to the defined spaces.
4. Sprinkling Salt
Bring some extra texture and dimension to your paintings by sprinkling some salt on the wet paint. The salt will soak up some of the paint near it. Simply wait for it to dry then brush off the salt! You can have more fun with this technique by using different types of salt, building it up more heavily in some areas, or leaving it to dry for different lengths of time.
5. Dabbing a Sponge
Dip the edge of a sponge into your paint and dab away on the paper! This effect creates varying textures depending on the type of sponge you’re using and how you’re using it. It’s great for creating trees, shrubs, and bushes. Experiment with the amount of paint you use, how much attention you give to one area, and sponge sizes to explore all the different ways a finished art piece can look!
6. Spray Rubbing Alcohol
Similar to salt, rubbing alcohol also soaks up some of the pigment to create a different effect. While the paint is still wet, you can splatter some alcohol onto it with another paint brush, use a small spray bottle for a wide area, or get focused on a small area with a cotton swab. Once dry, you’ll have a neat effect similar to tie-dye.
7. Lifting Different Materials
This technique can use multiple materials to create different effects. While paint is still wet, wrinkle up a piece of cling wrap, bubble wrap, facial tissue, napkin, paper towel, or tissue paper. Lay it over the wet paint and press gently, if needed. Once dry, lift the material off the painting and see what happens! You can also try this technique with absorbent materials such as cotton balls, cotton swabs, and sponges.
Spark Your Creativity
The best part about art is that each piece will be entirely unique. We hope you try some of the techniques above during National Watercolor Month and find something new that you love! Feel free to share your creations with us and how you’re going to bring these ideas to your students!