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Water colors are great for little kids or lower developmental abilities as they are water based so won’t stain, non toxic, easy cleanup and finally can get decent materials for fairly cheap.
The defining feature of water colors is their transparency. Light coming through. This is why water colors must start light. Light washes with lots of water and less pigment. If the paper is wetted first you can cover a greater area quickly. Once the initial washes and basic shapes are down you just keep building up layers. But it is important that the paper be allowed to dry between layers.
If you continue to paint on a soaking wet paper you can disturb the surface, damaging the paper. This will often look like pilling on the surface.
Another reason to let the surface dry is to keep the colors from getting muddy.
With water colors it is difficult to get details so simplified forms are really what’s best.
Before you begin painting, it is best to lightly mist the surface of the paper and allow it to dry. This will help with the buckling problem as paper when wet will wave and buckle. If taped down and misted this effect will be mitigated.
Due to the difficulty to control water colors, it is also best to enlarge the shapes. Bigger forms will be easier to paint than smaller.
-natural hairs are best. Sable.
-big brushes for washes and big areas
-rounds – should come to a nice point and have a good “snap”
– blending medium- will keep the paint from drying, ideal for big graded area washes and prevents lines
– gum Arabic – thins down paints, makes surface shine, translucent
– water color ground- makes any surface like water color paper
– rubbing alcohol dripped onto highly saturated paint will create lighter, bubble-like shapes
Colors will lighten as they dry so it’s always better to go bold and bright with colors when painting as they will fade.