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VIDEO - watercolor portraiture



Jana Lepejova
Artist | Professional | Traditional Art


One of the recent studies - work in progress (illustration for a wedding invitation) :)

Acs 0378 by jane-beata
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So dA removed one of my deviations:bulletpurple: Other Accounts :bulletpurple: :iconprismpower23::iconpyrodarts:
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Watercolor Effects

Wed Jan 23, 2019, 1:35 PM by jane-beata:iconjane-beata:

Traditional Art Week

Untitled Artwork by jane-beata

Another year has passed and I am thrilled to be able to join Traditional Art Week at projecteducate, again. My last article was about wet-in-wet watercoloring techniques and you can find it HERE, in this one I will explore watercolor effects. Hopefully, it will inspire you to have a bit of fun with watercolor and take your painting to the next level Love

  • What exactly do you mean by "watercolor effects"?
Watercolor effect happens when pigment is not distributed on a page / paper evenly, but is rather being disturbed and creates a splash. Oftentimes these splashes happen to you unintentionally, especially when you are still learning the medium and we don't have the best control over the water yet. They can give you grief, especially if they're on parts of the painting they don't really fit. However, if you are able to control the effect, you can use it to your advantage. They can add a great deal of visual interest to your backgrounds, in landscape painting they are often used to suggest textures. When used with intent, your painting gains a lot with little effort on your part. So let's take a look at some of the most basic ones.

  • What supplies do you need for this?
For starters, nothing special. Kitchen salt, alcohol, water and tissue can be found in (hopefully) any household. Some of the more demanding supplies would be texture medium and granulation medium.

Untitled Artwork 2 by jane-beata

Effects by jane-beata

Let's take a look at the effects at hand, one by one.

  • Effects with pure water
Lay down a wash of watercolor paint and let it sit for a few minutes. This varies with different kinds of paper and the temperature of the room. In general cellulose paper (student grade) is ready in about a minute, cotton takes even 5 minutes sometimes. Your wash shouldn't be completely wet, but can't be dried either. You can now use a pipette or brush to apply few drops of pure water. They create a splash that will have smooth edges. The more dry your wash is, the more harsh the edge will be. 

  • Effects with salt
Lay down a wash of watercolor paint and apply kitchen salt into the wet wash, as soon as you can. Let it sit, try not to disturb the wash with your brush again. This creates a well-known crystal effect, used very often by watercolorists to enhance the background or imply frost. Salt reacts differently on different kinds of paper also, and different kinds of kitchen salt give you different results as well. Personally, it's fun for me to test these things out, I can only recommend it, since you can see what kind of result you can achieve. I use three kinds of kitchen salt as well as salt with larger crystals, even dish-washer salt to create large salt effects on canvas.

  • Effects with alcohol
Lay down a wash of watercolor paint and, same as with water, let it sit for a bit. After a minute or two, use pipette or brush to apply drops of alcohol (above 50% is recommended) into the wash. This will create an interesting zone with kind of a hard edge. You can use these to suggest a lot of things in your painting, from street lights to flowers. You can even combine it with previously mentioned effects.

  • Effects with texture medium
Texture medium is far from a necessity but if you like experiments and are willing to spend about 7 euros for this, go ahead and find it in your local art store. When mixed with watercolor paint, texture medium gives it more body, which makes the paint thicker. You can now paint a wash with it and than use your tissue as a stamp. Feel free to experiment and use other materials as well, paint should now be thick enough to hold the imprint.

  • Effects with granulation medium
Granulation is something that pigments go naturally. Not all of them, mostly those that do not stain the paper, therefore have bigger particles. When purchasing watercolor paints, manufacturer provides information on whether the paint is staining or non-staining. Oftentimes, blue or brown paints granulate by themselves, when you add a granulation medium into the paint, granulation becomes even more visible. You can use granulating paints to suggest fur of an animal or plenty of other textures, it can really be a very desirable effect. If you have a budget for it, a cooler replacement for granulation medium are Daniel Smith granulating paints, that provide you the best of this effect instantly and without the hassle of having to mix the paint separately with the medium.

DSC 0070 u by jane-beata

Untitled Artwork 3 by jane-beata

Some tips:

  • Effects should be done on a white paper or on top of a very light wash, otherwise won't be visible
  • Pay attention to the wetness of your wash - some mediums need to be applied quickly, some need a waiting time. Find the best time by experimenting and have fun with it!
  • After applying whatever medium to create an effect, let the paint dry naturally, rather than with a blow dryer. Blowing air can disturb the effect by moving the paint around. 
  • Apply more saturated paint then usually, to create a nice contrast between the light spots (effect) and the paint. 

Some examples of how I applied effects into my studies:

Untitled Artwork 4 by jane-beata
Winter wolf - painting created almost purely with effects, apart from a few detailed areas such as eyes and nose. The whole body and pelt of a winter wolf was implied with salt and granulation effects. 

Untitled Artwork 5 by jane-beata
Portrait backgrounds - often times I use alcohol effects to avoid stiff and boring plain background. In this case, I thought the effect itself should go almost "through" the figure, which in my opinion added to the atmosphere I was going for.

Untitled Artwork 6 by jane-beata
Blurred background / nature and still life - drops of water and alcohol added to the dark background. Magnolias themselves are quite detailed and there was not much room for texture there, they have rather smooth flower petals. Effects in the background help to establish the contrast.

I sincerely hope you enjoyed the article. Is there a favorite of yours amongst the mentioned effects? Let us know!

How often do you buy new art supplies? 

38 deviants said Once in a while...I like new art supplies but I try to use the old ones before purchasing new ones.
16 deviants said Every time I have money to spare - I am such an art supply junkie! (let us know your favorite ones!)
12 deviants said I avoid investing too much into new supplies, I prefer techniques that do not require buying plenty of art supplies.
10 deviants said I create digitally, no paint problems for me!
5 deviants said (Other - please comment)


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Add a Comment:
haunted72194 Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2019  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Lovely work!!!
MGRESA Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2018  Student General Artist
El Grupo 7Dias ya tiene su sitio en Facebook, animate y unete :) (Smile)…
GabyCoutino Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice gallery

Have a bunny
(1 Reply)
specialized666 Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2018  Professional Interface Designer
Hi, have a very nice day :D
ShaileeVajracharya Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey Jane,
I am absolutely inspired by your paintings. They are super amazing!!! Your gallery has some really good masterpiece. Also, I have been having artist block for some time and your words have really inspired me to continue painting. Thank you so much for everything!!! Have a great day.
(1 Reply)
ZinaZoo Featured By Owner May 25, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
I watched!
You make some of the best art I've evr seen and you inspire me to make things!!
I hope one day I can get into watercolors too.. >u<
Oh, I also have to mention those amaaazing articles 
(1 Reply)
MelissaKuri Featured By Owner May 20, 2018  Professional General Artist
Amazing drawings!!
(1 Reply)
AshleyxBrooke Featured By Owner May 13, 2018  Hobbyist Photographer
Hey there! :la:

Nice art :wow:  If you're ever looking to share your work with other people, live, you should check out #ThumbHub on dAmn (Did you know we had a chat system!? A lot of people don't :( ) We get a lot of great artists popping in to share their work and it varies from Traditional art, to photography, to poetry :) Also a great place to gain more exposure for your art AND to make some new friends xx

Hope to see you there some time :heart:

(1 Reply)
SpotlessDestiny Featured By Owner May 7, 2018
Thanks for the deviantwatch ^^
lucytherescuedcat Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2018  Hobbyist Photographer
Welcome to :icontraditional-art-draw: - a group of traditional artists. We accept all different kind of styles, as long as folder guidelines are followed and, of course, the artwork is traditional. Looking forward to seeing your work in our galleries, and your ideas in our notes! 

If you have any suggestions, or questions, please feel free to contact us!

Have fun!(Enjoy!)
(1 Reply)
Seriiko Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2018
When will this week's watercolour journal come out? :)
(1 Reply)
roguenotvogue Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2017
I love your art style! *Free Icon/Emote* Totoro ( Heart) Llama Emoji-81 (Heart You) [V4] Custom heart [Crystal Blue] 
(1 Reply)
natenutron Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
I've said this before, I just love your flow. Eye skittles
(1 Reply)
lemontea Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2017
SiwySzczur Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2017
Nice gallery:)
(1 Reply)
ariiada Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2017  Student
Love Your portraits so much! amazing syle <3
(1 Reply)
CR45HnBURN Featured By Owner May 5, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wonderful display of natural talent!
FrerinHagsolb Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2017
Your art is just awesome...
(1 Reply)
LochyG32 Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
WOW keep the great work up
mascotruby Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
Hi!!... i really like your style!!.. beautiful artwork :)
(1 Reply)
cheche2000 Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hello! :o I was wondering if I can use some drawings of yours for a fake website that I'm doing? 

It's for a class project to help build my portfolio, it's going to be a coffee web design where it'll also show off other artists works. 

And if you allow it, I could send you a link xD
(1 Reply)
YnnaK Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Love your art work so much!!! Love Love Love 
flying-never-fallen Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow! Your work is all so amazing (:
LoniDament Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2016  Professional General Artist
Your gallery is incredible. You are so talented!! 
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