Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Technique Tuesday - Embossing With Wet Watercolor

This is a technique I use often, as I love the soft, muted look of the watercolor with the embossed images. Unlike detailed watercoloring, this wet watercolor technique is fast, and very freeing. It calls for a very relaxed approach.  The thing is, this technique is very addictive.  Once you make one, you will want to paint all of your images this way.  It works especially well on large images, as you will see by the cards below. Here's how it is done:   (CLICK ON IMAGES TO VIEW LARGER)                                                           
  • Emboss the image on watercolor paper, or good quality cardstock.  I usually use white, so the colors will be true.
  • Use a waterbrush (a tool that has a barrel that holds water, with a brush on the end), or a watercolor brush. Dip the brush in water, and "paint" the image with clear water first. Your brush should be wet, but not dripping. Practice this for a while to get a feel for how much water to use.
  • Dab your damp brush into the first color of watercolor paint. Rub the brush around in the color until the brush has plenty of pigment on it. Bring this loaded brush to a palette and roll the brush around, depositing the color onto the palette.  Add water with the brush, a little at a time.  I usually add water, then bring some of the mixture to        another spot on the palette, and dilute this area even more. 
  • With the most diluted puddle that you just made, paint the first color onto your image. Because you have prepared your surface, the color should just feather out when you brush it on. The embossing acts as a block to keep the color inside the image.
  • Using a stronger part of the mixture you made, add more color to parts of the areas you just painted. When you add this stronger, or darker, hue, it will fade softly into the lighter hue that you previously painted, creating an automatic shading.
  • Repeat with the other colors you will use in your image.

That's it!  It really is that easy, but it may take a few practice runs.  I especially like this technique with white embossing, as in the poinsettia card. The embossing just pops out of the watercolor when you are finished. If any color stays on the embossing, just dab with a paper towel.
Tips:  *If you put too much color and want to lighten it, just dab with a paper towel.  *Don't overwork with the brush, as eventually the paper will "pill" and/or warp.  *After the image is dry, place under something heavy to straighten it if it is warped.  *If you are cutting out the image to mount onto another background (as in the butterfly card), be sure to cut just outside the embossing, so the embossed edge does not chip. *Practice, practice, practice - you will get it. *No need to invest in expensive, professional watercolors - a mid-quality palette of 12 to 24 colors will be fine. *You will get best results with watercolor paper. Some of the watercolor papers have a semi-smooth nap, so your images will emboss nicely. *Keep relaxed, and don't overthink or overwork your painting. Let the colors flow and blend into each other.
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May you enjoy the blessings of family and friends this Thanksgiving, and may you be mindful of the many riches we enjoy each day.



Comments are welcomed and appreciated!