Graded Watercolour Wash

How to Create a Graded Watercolour Wash!

When starting out painting, there are some basic requirements that you need to understand. With watercolour painting, it is very important that you learn how to paint a wash and there are different types that you need to learn with time. As with anything, painting washes can only be improved by regular practice but once you have found the relevant technique and confidence you will be able to progress.

To get started on your painting, first of all draw a square in the centre of your paper. Make it a fairly large square as you will fill in the square with your graded wash.

Consider the shade of paint you would like to use (starting with a darker shade) and mix this in your palette. Make sure that you mix plenty of watery paint and once you have mixed the right shade and consistency, then in another part of your palette, mix a lighter shade. These two shades will become the graded watercolour wash. You can also use additional shades.

You will need a watercolour flat wash brush in order to get the even strokes across the paper. When painting a wash, you start on the top left hand side and evenly glide the brush straight across to the opposite corner.

Once you have done this, then gently dab your wash brush onto a paper towel and then dip the brush into the lighter mixture so that the brush is full. Place the brush just over the bottom part of the previous wash so that it will produce a layered and graded effect. This will ensure that your painting then starts to have the two different shades flowing together.

Continue down the paper, each time using lighter shade starting over the bottom part of the previous wash line. Don?t think too much about what you are doing, just be natural and relaxed as you lay your graded wash all the way down to the bottom of the square.

Try and experiment with different colours and shades and note the effects. Note that some paints will show the texture of the paper through the pigment and this is fine.

A graded wash is a little more painstaking than a usual flat wash but is worth the effort. It also affords a great opportunity to practice mixing paints and using different strokes and the more practice you do, the better your painting will be in the end.

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