Brushstroke Edges: The Foundation of Water Color Basics

Watercolor painting uses the finer points of image-making techniques, using subtle and calculated brush strokes on paper canvas. It creates classical-looking, unique art you can’t achieve anywhere else. The good news is it is a skill that is shaped by your style and personality.

Learning its basics through online watercolor classes is both a learning tool and investment, allowing you to express your ideas and personality through this unique medium. Find out how it all starts with just a watercolor brush edge, creating fantastic worlds from imagination to reality.

Creating with a Brush Edge

A magnificent watercolor painting starts with expressive watercolor edges executed by proper brush strokes, which can be developed through lessons and practice. These advanced techniques will come in time with more advanced skills and tools. 

One of the main techniques of watercolor painting is using different edges to create basic and complex shapes to represent images. It is much different from the other mediums, like oil painting where you layer oil paints from dark to light. 

In watercolor paintings, you gradually form the images by going from lighter colors to the darker and darkest images and forms. When you take watercolor lessons online, you will notice the start is always blank canvas with the lightest colors first, and you can go gradually to the shadows and then the darkest outlines.

Types of Brush Edge Techniques

In watercolor, different edges are also created to accentuate focus and distance. It uses the dynamics of watercolor and its base medium, water—how both react with paper canvas. Their different combinations are the building blocks of watercolor images, creating the forms that make the whole scene of a painting using a combination of these techniques.

  • A straight horizontal swipe produces a hard edge. It is the most common element used in creating images directly on the paper canvas. By creating the smallest strokes then the bigger and more complex ones, these hard edges define the forms and outlines upon layering.

  • Smoothing and softening out an edge of a brush stroke with a plain wet brush dilutes it and produces a slightly blurred “bokeh,” effect similar to photography. It creates extra distance from the focal area of the painting especially when it is layered behind shadows and outlines. Watercolor tutorials will show how to achieve this layered effect step by step.  
  • The wet-on-wet technique blurs out the edges of a brushstroke. A wet canvas is loaded with a wet brush and the wet-on-wet edges create subtle, color wash effects. Shadows and distant textures emerge in the wet canvass. It adds further depth to the focal area by layering.

  • A variegated edge is a hard watercolor brush edge with different, alternating wet brush swipes at different parts. Adding these blurs in select places to create varied distances and effects, and creates an effect of alternating focus to represent the varied textures of distant elements. Rough edge uneven strokes can be created to induce a specific effect
    They are used to create uneven textures from a middle distance.

Final Thoughts

Watercolor painting uses different techniques than oil painting. Most of the basics are in using brush edges with different techniques. If you want to get better at watercolor painting, the best way to do this is by mastering the essential skills through study and practice.

You can focus on these finer watercolor techniques through guided watercolor tutorials step by step. The difference of E John Robinson art lessons from the others is learning the main tools and techniques of master painters at the start, starting you off at an advanced level. Sign up for our the tutorials today. 

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