Shaping Studies Tutorial Day 1


Artwork-QoR watercolor on Hahnemühle Anniversary watercolor paper. Brushes: Princeton Elite Dagger, and Neptune Travel round size 6.  Doodlewash prompt: Splashes of Color

Whoah! It’s been a busy week and I anticipate the same next week.  So I’m slapping together some posts that are quick and easy for me, and I hope fun and easy for you.

Over the last month, I did some quick studies for my Princeton Aqua Elite Brush Review and Tutorial-How to Paint with QoR Iridescent Colors. (By the way, one of the eight ongoing Doodlewash giveaways is for theblack paper and the QoR colors I used in the QoR Iridescent tutorial. You can find the giveaway here.)

Negative painting is a technique where you paint the background around a subject or subjects.  It can involve several layers, but I’m keeping this simple, spending no more than 5 to 15 minutes on a painting.

These are meant to be practice.  They’ll help you learn how your brushes work, how your colors mix and how to visualize shapes.  Some of them may turn out ugly – that’s okay, they’re practice.  

  • Start with something like this. It doesn’t have to be this fancy-just a bunch of swirls, stripes and dots is fine, but they should all be one color. I used QoR Manganese Blue.
  • Let this dry COMPLETELY. Consider doing this over two days, letting this step dry and then coming back for the second step. Even less time required of you each day.
  • Decide on a shape. Something you like and want to paint often, but keep it very, very simple. I chose a dragon, just because, and that’s a terrific reason. If you wish, draw the shape lightly in pencil. I seldom do, but I do this a lot.
  • Choose two or three colors that you think will go well with the color you’ve already painted.
  • Mix one color with lots of water (to keep it transparent) and start painting around the shape. Ignore your initial shapes and paint right over them. I started with QoR Benzimidazolone Yellow, painting along each side.
  • Mix the second color with lots of water, and paint elsewhere along the shape. Overlap the yellow in places and let them blend. I used QoR Cadmium Red Light.
  • Let it all dry completely.
  • Once dry, I decided to deepen the color in places and painted areas with thicker mixes of the same colors.
  • Like what you’ve done? Right on!

Don’t like your result? Is the shape to wonky? That’s okay. You practice to learn. Look up a reference photo or the real thing and compare. Is your shape too round, too flat, too long, too crooked? Really look at your reference. Then try this again. Train your brain to know those shapes.

Or maybe you don’t like the way the colors came out. Next time, try one different color in the same family. For instance, I used Cadmium Red Light, so if I were trying again I might use Quinacridone Rose.

12 comments

  1. Thanks, I needed this reminder that sometimes you learn more from the “mistakes” than when it turns out “pretty”. Keep on experimenting!

  2. I’m thinking this method might be just what I need to do to finish my other tea page.
    Now to think of what I want to paint!
    Thanks for the great help

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