Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Dent that line

In the previous post (Lines in watercolour), we looked at different ways to make lines in watercolour.

There is another effective technique: denting the paper. The way it works is simple. The pigments concentration is higher in the depression made by the dent and forms a darker line.

You can use an embossing tool to create dent in the paper, but the tip of a brush handle works well and saves you carrying around yet another tool.

You need a thick paper that you can dent without fearing to go through it. Watercolour papers are in general heavy and therefore suitable for this technique.

I tried to make the dent first on the dry paper and then paint a wash over it. It did not work. The dent disappeared when the paper became moist and there was no line.

The second trial on an almost dry wash was more successful. I dented the paper, added a second wash of Paynes grey and then removed the excess paint with a clean brush. The dent did not disappear this time (probably because the paper had already received a first wash) and the pigment stayed in the groove created by the dent when most of the second wash was removed by the clean brush. The resulting line was soft and would work well for background objects (like poles or boat masts).

The last method yielded the best results. I applied a first wash of blue followed by a second wash of red, wet on wet. I then drew a series of lines with the tip of the brush handle. Purple lines formed immediately. The beauty of this technique is that you can draw any line you want. In addition, once the paper dried, the dent disappeared with the tension on the stretched paper, only leaving the darker lines...

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