Watercolor Tutorial | An introduction to Watercolors | Rijksmuseum

Watercolor Tutorial | An introduction to Watercolors | Rijksmuseum

Today, we’ll teach you the basic techniques of watercolors.. by looking closely at the work of Johann Gustav Hoch. Hi everyone and welcome to the Rijksmuseum’s very own
creative channel: RijksCreative! This season we’ll show you everything you need to know about
watercolors, inks and even blueprints! So grab your brushes and let’s go! This is our teacher for today: Ingrid.
-Hello! Can you explain to us what a watercolor is? Well, a watercolor is a work of art made with watercolor paint.. which is always transparent and you work on a special kind of paper. Okay, let’s do it.
-Okay. Watercolor is a water based medium.. and you can make the paint yourself or you can buy it. Here you can see the examples of how you can make the paint yourself. You need Arabic gum and pigment. This is a pigment, this is ultra marine.. which is made from the lapis lazuli.. and this is sienna, which is made from Italian soil. You have to mix it all up.. and ground it very good.. because it has to be very fine. It’s easier to buy paint of course. You can buy paint in a pens, like this. Or you can buy the paint in tubes, like this. And tubes you have to put on a palette of course. Tubes are very handy if you need big things.. if you want to make big paintings. And these are very handy when you’re going to paint outside.. or want if you want to make small things. Of course you need a nice set of brushes.. you can choose between artificial hair.. or real hair from an animal, this is squirrel hair. The important thing is that you need a very nice tip.. and that it can contain lots of water. There are lots of different kinds of paper. You can buy loose papers. You can buy them in blocs, these are watercolor blocs.. and that gum is all around the sides. If you use this, you have to leave the paper on the bloc.. don’t take them off too early. You have different kind of blocs, you have very
rough paper, very smooth paper, medium paper.. the best one for very detailed work
is the smooth paper. Also called ‘hot pressed’ or ‘cold pressed’ And the rough one is very handy if you make big works.. or very expressive works, this one can contain a lot of water. The loose papers you can use if you want to
paint something in the middle, it’s very easy.. but if you want to paint something big, then
it’s better to put it on a board. I’ll show you how I do this. You need a board, you will need special tape.. and you will need of course the paper. first you have to wet the paper.. I use this sponge.. I’m going to wet it from both sides.. the paper will now swell a little, and that’s what you need. You want your paper to become bigger. And in the meantime, you can just take this tape. Now you take a little water. Start with the longest side and just put it along the sides Half and half. So, this is how the paper is put on the board. Of course this is a small paper, that’s easier to put it on. If you have bigger papers, you’ll have warps in it.. it’s no problem, it will become flat when it’s dry. So you have to let it dry, don’t start now,
you have to let it dry first. When you start with watercolor, it’s very important that
you know your materials very well. So it’s a good idea to make a chart
of all the colors of your paintbox. So, paint them one by one. Here you can see an example, I did it before. It’s very nice to see all the colors you have in your paintbox. You can see its a dark one and a lighter one. That’s one of the most important characteristics of watercolor. You can make dark color. If you add water, then it will become lighter. Start with the dark one. And if you add water, it will become lighter. Red will become pink. That’s very important. So you don’t have white to mix your
colors lighter.. you have to mix the color lighter with water. If you want to paint something and there is something white in it.. you’ll need to leave things out. For example, if you want to paint a leaf.. and want some lines in it white.. you have to leave the lines white. you can’t put white paint over it. So that’s one of the most important things of watercolors. You have to leave the white open, there is no white paint. One other thing which is important is the mixing of the colors. If you for example want to mix red with blue. you can mix them on your palette, red and blue will become purple. Look you have a very nice color of purple. But you can also mix on your paper. I have here already painted the red.. if I put blue over this, then you also get the color purple. So you can mix on the paper. One other thing I’ve got to tell you.. is that you can paint wet on wet.. or you can paint wet on dry. it you paint for example.. you have a piece of.. watercolor paint which is wet and I put another
color on it, it will bloom into this wet paint. It’s very nice, very nice colors you have. It’s a bit wavy, quite loose. If you paint wet paint on dry.. then you can make very sharp lines.. it’s quite something different, you
can both use them, both very nice. Then you have very sharp lines, you can see the difference. That’s also very important. Painting wet on wet or wet on dry. And the other thing is you don’t have white paint. You have to leave the white things open. Those are the two most important thing you have to
think about when you’re painting with watercolor. So now we’re going to start for real If you want to make a watercolor for the first time.. it’s the best thing to take something easy.. maybe a shell or maybe some leafs. And I have a very nice example of shells. This 18th century watercolor of Jacob Hoog. It’s very beautiful, very well done. So we can take one of these colorful shells
as our inspiration today. First we have to make a drawing of course. We draw just with a simple pencil, make a drawing very loose. But you have to take care that you really
take the silhouette of the shell.. That you find the silhouette. Another important thing is that you find the white spots.. because the white spots you cant paint, so
it’s very important that you know here the light is. Here you have a little light of the window,
so I think this is our shell. If I want to start painting, I better erase my pencil lines.. because the paint will close it in
and you can’t get the pencil lines away. So I erased the pencil lines very softly. So I can see a little bit, like this. And now I can start painting. I think it’s a good idea to start with a
very light gray overall painting. And then you leave out the spots where the light is. So I take a little bit of sienna brown and sepia. Gets paint gray very light, put down there.. leave out the spots where the light is, very important. And if you make a little bit of a mistake or a problem,
you can always dab it a little bit. With a tissue. Maybe it’s a bit too dark. This has to dry, we have to wait for this to dry. When the first layer is dry, you can really
look closely what’s the next step. Maybe we’re going to try to make the shape a little bit rounder. I take some grayish color and I take care of the shape.. Putting a bit water with it. And I try to fade out the shape. Here it’s dark and in the middle it’s lighter. Be careful with your light spots. I think this is a nice second layer. A bit more dark here. So this has to dry also you can see that the
roundness of the shape is already visible. It’s also a good idea to add a little bit brown in the shell you can see
the brown color so add just a little bit brown in the center. So this bit take away, here you go. This has to dry a little bit. Now I’m going to make the spots a little bit softer

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And it’s always good to look at your contrast
this is the little light window we can see. So I’m going to intensify the contrast here. More color around this little window. And this is a very light color so I leave this open
and maybe.. a little bit colors over the other sides. So intensified around this little window. Use a lot of water. That does stains out very soft. I take a smaller brush. Our next step is to look at this little entrance here
what you call it, the shell. This have to be very dark, so I make a darker line here. I think this also can be a bit more dark. So it’s all more little details I use
a little brush to make the details. You see that I use a lot of water to smooth out the colors. So when you think you have the lines right
a bit more, I want this white to be very bright. oh I made a mistake, no problem I just dab a little bit. A bit more shadow. Maybe a bit more brown. Sometimes you have to let it dry a little bit. Dark here in the corner. So now we have the form of the shell. Look close if you like everything, I don’t like this lines,
I just make it a little bit softer like this.

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I will leave this to dry and we’re going to
look at the spots of the shell. I just put on all the little dots you can see it
it’s a good idea to do with the pencil again And take care that the dots which go on the
corners on this shell are more oval shaped. in the middle there more rounder, you can see that
around the corner there more oval shaped. So we have this little dots. You can see it’s quite a dark gray color with
brown around it I start with the dark gray. And just put on all the little dots. Very important with the white little window.. that you put in the half one.. that you can really see it’s light on top of the shell. On the corners it’s more oval shaped, in the middle it’s more round. Some spots are darker, some lighter some touch each other. I’m going to look closer to the little spots. Some brown lines around it. And take care that you make the shadows here close to the light. Because contrast is always very important,
that you have contrast in a work. And this light spot and the dark spots make a contrast. I put in a little bit more blue. Test always your shade on this test. That’s too much, like this. Here is a bit more blueish, put more blue in. And around the dark spots, brownish.
You can see them. So we’re almost finished, I think it needs some shade from the light.. you can see the shade on the ground, I take this paints gray, which is a very neutral color,
to make the shade. A bit more shade here. And a bit more dark here. And here comes a spot. Let this dry and than put in the last details. Just put on a little bit more shade here. A bit on this side, maybe just a little bit more brown. You can see that I left the white spots as white as paper
this is the white of the paper. Try to emphasize the roundness of the shell a little bit more. I think we have a little shell. This was very informative Ingrid, thank you!
Any final tips? Well, watercolor is a quite a tricky
medium so don’t give up too fast. Practice a lot and it’s really worth it. Okay, thank you very much and see you next time!
-See you next time!

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