Serving Art Educators
and Students Since 1994


Experimenting With Water Media

List created by Linda Fields

Divide your sheet of paper into 12 equal blocks (if using one sheet) with a light pencil line. Do one experiment in each block. (This will require 2 half-sheets or one full sheet of Watercolor Paper

  1. Use a watercolor wash to lay down some areas of color. While it is still wet, go into the wash with a watercolor or Aquasketch pencil (If anyone knows a substitute for this, let me know. Aquasketch's aren't available online as far as I can tell. It is possible Linda means Watercolor Pencils.).

  2. Draw with Charcoal. Using clean water and a brush, go into the charcoal and blend to make value changes.

  3. Use a regular pencil or Graphite Sticks. to add lines to a watercolor wash you have already laid down.

  4. Use bright colors of Crayons and/or Oil Pastels.. Overlap some colors. Paint over and into your drawing with watercolor wash. Use something pointed and scrape back into the waxy surface for another effect.

  5. Use Prismacolor Colored Pencils and transparent and opaque paint. The pencil can add detail and texture. The opaque paint will give heavier coverage and darker values.

  6. Watercolour technique

  7. Wet the block with clean water. Use Acrylic Matte Medium that has been diluted to a 50:50 solution. Paint the block with the solution. Begin layering pieces of Tissue paper., Japanese Rice Paper., etc. Mix some watercolor paint and add a bit of Metallic Pigment.. Paint over the layers of paper. Later, you can add oil pastel, Prismacolor, etc. for lines and shape definition.

  8. Wet the block. Incise your paper with a sharp tool. Add a watercolor wash.

  9. Lay on a layered wash. While still wet, crumple a piece of plastic wrap and lay it on the wash. Do NOT disturb until dry.

  10. Lay on a layered wash of deep colors. Sprinkle salt onto the wash. Do NOT disturb until dry. Tip from Bernie: Salt - add layers of salt over small areas gradually add drops of watercolor to help dissolve the salt, which was just put down. Add more salt (more in the middle and less along the edges). Add more drops of water. Continue until there is a small mountain of salt. When dry this 3d image will remain in place (as long as its not too high)

  11. Lay on a layered wash of deep colors. Sprinkle rocks or pebbles onto it. Do NOT disturb until dry.

  12. Lay on a layered wash of deep colors. Use a straw to drop a few drops of alcohol into it.

  13. Paint some deep colors. Use the edge of a credit card or hard plastic to scrape and push the paint away.

  14. Tip from Bernie: Toothbrush - this is a fun one. Dip the brush into various colors and 'spritz' the bristles onto the page. Good with a 'mask' to create rock shapes, too. Try with stencils – great for textural effects.

Submitted by: Linda Fields

This is how Linda uses this file:

This is an "exploration" lesson I do with watercolor techniques. I have the students choose an idea or theme, and then execute it using the twelve ways given. It becomes a bit quilt-like and gives the kids an opportunity to see how various techniques can affect the same subject. Later I assign them a landscape using at least 5 of the techniques. We also do some mixed media work with colored pencils and some tissue paper, watercolor collage.


water media picture      water media picture

Examples from Madison Middle School

See more examples by Larry Prescott's students
. [Archive]

This project was done in conjunction with a teacher directed landscape painting [Archive]. While students waited for layers to dry in the landscape painting, they were encouraged to experiment with the medium of watercolor. Students were given a 11 by 15 inch (28 x 38 cm) sheet of Watercolor Paper
and instructed to tape off 8 areas for small paintings.