EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PAINTS – Simple Techniques

Students explore a variety of watercolour techniques.

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 8

Subject

Art Techniques
Language Arts
Visual Arts

Vocabulary

crayon resist dry brush transparent wash watercolour paint wet on dry technique wet on wet technique

Materials

Watercolour Paper Watercolour Paints Paint Brushes Paper Towels Plastic Place Mats (or other firm surface) Water Containers

Steps

EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PAINTS – Simple Techniques - Step One

Step One

  1. Tape a single piece of watercolour paper onto a plastic placemat or piece of stiff cardboard.
  2. Use masking tape to divide the paper into 4 sections. 
  3. When the tape is removed it will leave a white border around the paintings.
  4. Be sure to use one long strip of tape for each side unless you want a broken border.
EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PAINTS – Simple Techniques - Step Two

Step Two

WET ON WET 

  1. Wet the entire paper with clear water.
  2. Moisten the watercolour paints by dropping a brush load of water on each colour.
EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PAINTS – Simple Techniques - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Pick up a drop of colour and paint it onto the wet surface of the paper.
  2. Drip and blend different colours.
  3. Tip the paper in different directions to allow the colours to bleed and blend into each other.
  4. Tap a paint filled brush over the paper to splatter some drops.
EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PAINTS – Simple Techniques - Step Four

Step Four

DRY BRUSH STROKES

  1. Do not wet the paper before starting.
  2. Squeeze most of the water out of your brush so it is fairly dry.
  3. Pick up a brush load of colour.
  4. Create a variety of strokes by changing the angle and pressure of the brush.
EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PAINTS – Simple Techniques - Step Five

Step Five

WET ON DRY

  1. Do not wet the paper before starting.
  2. Paint a thin, transparent layer of watery paint over the whole surface. This is called a wash.
  3. Allow the paint to dry.
  4. Paint over the dry paint with a variety of dry brush strokes.
EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PAINTS – Simple Techniques - Step Six

Step Six

CREATING TEXTURES – BUBBLE WRAP

  1. Wet the entire paper with clear water.
  2. Pick up a drop of colour and paint into the wet surface of the paper.
  3. Experiment with colours.
  4. Cover the whole space with colour.
  5. Make sure the paint is still wet.
  6. Place bubble wrap over the wet paint.
  7. Allow the paint to dry.
  8. Remove the bubble wrap.
EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PAINTS – Simple Techniques - Step Seven

Step Seven

CREATING TEXTURES – PLASTIC WRAP

  1. Wet the entire paper with clear water.
  2. Pick up a drop of colour and paint into the wet surface of the paper.
  3. Experiment with colours.
  4. Cover the whole space with colour.
  5. Make sure the paint is still wet.
  6. Place plastic wrap over the wet paint.
  7. Allow the paint to dry.
  8. Remove the plastic wrap.
EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PAINTS – Simple Techniques - Step Eight

Step Eight

CREATING TEXTURES – SALT

  1. Wet the entire paper with clear water.
  2. Pick up a drop of colour and paint into the wet surface of the paper.
  3. Experiment with colours.
  4. Cover the whole space with colour.
  5. Make sure the paint is still wet.
  6. Sprinkle salt over the wet paint.
  7. Allow the paint to dry.
  8. Brush away the salt.
EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PAINTS – Simple Techniques - Step Nine

Step Nine

CRAYON RESIST AND TAPE

  1. Place tape on the paper.
  2. Use crayons to draw patterns or details on the paper.
  3. Paint over the crayon and tape letting different colours blend together.
  4. Remove the tape when the paper is dry.
EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PAINTS – Simple Techniques - Step Ten

Step Ten

  1. Once you have finished 4 techniques and the paint is dry, gently remove the tape.
  2. Label each technique.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create 6 different dry brush strokes with watercolour paints;
  • use 8 different techniques to create a variety of effects with watercolour paints;
  • build on their own and others’ discoveries to generate new ideas;
  • explain their process; 
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

Extensions

Have students:

  • continue to play with the paints creating a variety of decorated papers;
  • use the papers to compose torn paper settings for stories students are writing;
  • explore ways to include the following:
    - FOREGROUND - the space that seems closest to the viewer
    - MIDDLE GROUND - the space between the foreground and the background
    - BACKGROUND - the space that seems far away from the viewer
  • focus on the use of layering to create a sense of deep space;
  • experiment with drawing over the papers using coloured pencil or fine tip marker;
  • share their ideas with their peers. 

Prepare

  1. Download the Colour poster available on this website.
  2. Download watercolour images from the Internet, for example,
    Gagarin
    Prendergast
    Street
    Vernon
  3. Place students in groups so they can share ideas.
  4. Spread newspaper on tables for easy clean up.
  5. Provide paper towel, water containers and paintbrushes for each student/group.

Introduction

  1. View and discuss several of the watercolour images.
    - Ask students to guess how they think the artists went about painting their pictures.
    - Explain that watercolour paints are transparent and they can be used in a variety of ways.
    - Point out parts of the paintings that have very light, transparent colour; textured lines and shapes; interesting textures; strong colours.
     
  2. Ask students to share what they know about using watercolour paints.
  3. Explain that today's class is for experimenting with different techniques. 
  4. It's a time to play with ideas and see what happens.
  5. Introduce the challenge.

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Create 6 different dry brush strokes with watercolour paints.
  2. Use 8 different techniques to create a variety of effects with watercolour paints.
  3. Build on your own and others’ discoveries to generate new ideas.
  4. Explain your process.
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Demonstrate how to tape the paper to the plastic mat.
  3. Demonstrate how to prime the paints by dropping a small amount of water in each colour.
  4. Remind students that they will need to clean their water once it gets dirty, because the dirty water will muddy their colours.
  5. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    - complete all the experiments
    - tape is carefully removed once paint is dry
    - each technique is correctly labelled
    - paper in good condition
    - accurately describes how to do each technique
  6. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  7. Observe students as they work. 
  8. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.
  9. Once most students have completed their first 4 experiments stop the class and invite students do a walk about to see what others have done.
  10. Encourage them to think of new ways to use this technique. 

Sharing

  1. Place students into small groups. 
  2. Ask them to: 
    - Compare their work and describe to each other something they find interesting and why.
    - Discuss the things that are especially effective and why.

    - Talk about what they found difficult and what they found easy to do.
    - Discuss how they might use these techniques in a painting.
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask students to tell how they felt about doing this project.

Assessment

  1. Observe students as they work  – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting
  2. Observe students as they discuss the experiments – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – WatercolourTechniques_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students complete the Watercolour Techniques worksheet. (Downloads – WatercolourTechniques.pdf)