Our 'Learn To Paint' series
‘Penguin in the Snow’ watercolour painting by Vanessa Haarhoff
A masterclass for all ages in where to begin with watercolour painting.
You will need:
- HB pencil and eraser
- Watercolour paper
- Watercolour paints
- Watercolour paintbrush
- A glass of water
- A hairdryer
- If you don’t fancy painting with watercolour, you can still follow the design with whatever materials you have at home
Vanessa’s top tips that she will take you through include:
- Find a picture of a penguin to use as inspiration, or use your imagination
- Use a pencil to sketch the outline of the penguin. Try not to press too hard or it can make tears in the paper
- Wet the area where you want to paint with a wet brush
- Dip your brush in water and mix the paint you want to use in a palette
- Apply the watercolour paint to the wet paper. Applying paint to a wet surface is called the ‘wet on wet’ technique
- When starting a new colour, rinse your paintbrush
- Use darker paints for the background to make the penguin ‘pop’
- Turn the paper around to allow the paint to run with the water, and use your brush to spread the paint
- Allow layers to dry before applying your next layer
- Add dark paints in areas of shadows, in order to create a 3D penguin
- Keep adding details and more layers to the penguin like ‘ruffled’ features to give your penguin character and definition
- When adding layers to your background, make sure you leave the white fur and the Santa hat. Leaving white spaces in watercolour painting is a useful technique to master!
- To help the paint dry quicker between layers, use a hairdryer. When the paint is dry apply more layers to give the penguins more body
- To blend different paints together, apply a wash of water, then apply the two paints so they merge together
- Finally, make the penguin’s eye come alive by popping a white dot in the middle of the black eye
- Then, apply any finishing touches. The trick with watercolour is to know when to stop. Sometimes less is more!
Don’t worry if you don’t have a paint set at home, we stock them in our online shop here.