Sunday 4 August 2013

[Tips] How to Make Hard Edged Watercolour

Hard edges occur when water pushes paint to the edge of the wetted area and the paint forms thin 'outline' as it is drying. Usually I avoid it in my paintings, but in this illustration I made it on purpose. And I like it!

It was a commissioned illustration for a wedding invitation of a dog-lover couple, 'German Shepherds' to be specific.

The German shepherds have special characteristics, such as black nose, black mark near the eyes, and black 'saddle'-shaped mark on the back. And I thought these features were fitting for the hard edged style.

Here are a little insights I found when doing the hard edges effect:
1. I mixed a generous volume of water with less pigment to make a thin mixture. When applying the mix I made an effort to control the shape of the wetted area.

2. I dropped more water in the colour when the area was still wet. It pushed the pigment to the edge of the area and made the outline more striking.

3. I positioned the paper on a perfectly flat surface so that it created a uniformly sized outline.

4. To have a very fine outline, I avoided thick mixture. Too much pigment will make heavy, coarse outlines.

5. I made sure the area was completely dry before I put another hard edged washes and stroked the brush gently. The brush's pressure can scrape the previous outline.

I think there are many 'fun' possibilities for the hard edged watercolour as a stand-alone style or combined with other washes!

(Edited on 19/07/2014) I add the final artwork and a closer look to their eyes :)