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Watercolor bleeds notes

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By StevenLipton   |   Watch
Published: February 4, 2010
© 2010 - 2020 StevenLipton
This is a notes page to describe a part of watercolor painting that oil and acrylic painter hate, digital has yet to do right and watercolorists love: bleeds.

Essentially a bleed or a bloom happens when a lot of water goes somewhere where there is only a little water in the paper, as it moves it carries along pigment, leaving either lighter area in the case of just water and colorful bursts in the case of a pigment infused into the water. I have both examples on this sheet.

Some people cant stand thiese things, but I use them very liberally in my art. being able to control bleeds also means i have less to worry about when using loose watercolor paper: I use the buckling of the paper to create certain shapes of blooms.

As for those of you who are wanting to avoid these things the answer is simple: dry paper. This only happens on wet brush on wet paper (wet on wet) where different parts are differing amounts of wetness. If the paper is dry, you will get a sharp edge when you take a wet brush to paper(wet on dry).
Image size
1944x2592px 501.32 KB
IMAGE DETAILS
Make
FUJIFILM
Model
FinePix F72EXR
Shutter Speed
1/64 second
Aperture
F/5.1
Focal Length
12 mm
ISO Speed
200
Date Taken
Feb 4, 2010, 9:33:06 AM
Comments11
anonymous's avatar
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dollycupcake's avatar
dollycupcakeHobbyist Digital Artist
that are good ways to make some texture <3
StevenLipton's avatar
StevenLiptonHobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you!, It's also kinda fun to make a mess.  ;)
TheSkaldofNvrwinter's avatar
TheSkaldofNvrwinterHobbyist Digital Artist
Bob Davies on Arttutor.com says the way to avoid blooms or bleeding is never apply a wash with more water on top of a wash with less. Always use more pigment, not more water.
kyoko43's avatar
kyoko43Hobbyist Artist
you can do watercolours on wet paper? O.O
TheSkaldofNvrwinter's avatar
TheSkaldofNvrwinterHobbyist Digital Artist
you can wet the paper ahead of time, let it dry until it's a dull sheen, then make a wash, makes it flow more evenly
StevenLipton's avatar
StevenLiptonHobbyist Traditional Artist
Actually one of the best ways -- called wet on wet in watercolor speak. You get different effects on damp or heavily wet paper as this notes page describes. It's why most papers called watercolor paper are so thick compared to drawing paper.
bimyou-love's avatar
bimyou-loveHobbyist Traditional Artist
I've just started using watercolors and I liked the look of the bleeds. xD But I didn't understand it at all. So thank you so much for explaining this all so thoroughly. In the future, I know what to avoid when I don't want the bleeding then. :)
StevenLipton's avatar
StevenLiptonHobbyist Traditional Artist
You are very welcome.
gothicwolfcorpse's avatar
Water colours are not my strong point because I often end up having bleeding where I don't want it, so this should come in handy for me. Thank you :)
StevenLipton's avatar
StevenLiptonHobbyist Traditional Artist
you are very welcome. Of course I'm biased towards letting the bleeds happen.

If you dont, the answer is really simple:DRY DRY DRY!!!


Here's a quick tip you may or may not have heard -- keep a hair dryer around your painting to dry the piece after a wash. this will fix the pigment and prevent any bleeding.
gothicwolfcorpse's avatar
Oh thanks! I'll keep that in mind!
anonymous's avatar
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