Tag Archives: watercolour swatches

Watercolour Swatches – Basic Fun

As mentioned in a previous post, I picked up watercolour painting again. It’s been a few years since I tried my hand at it. This time, I promised myself, I wanted to approach it in a very structured way, from the ground up. A teacher of mine once told me (watercolour-) painting is 80% preparation and 20% painting. Quite possibly that’s one of the reasons for my past frustration with watercolour. I used to just go at it, without lots of thinking. 😬

Not anymore! Here we go. One of the first steps, and a very helpful one, I might add, is creating your own colour swatches. Not only do they provide an overview of the shades you can create with a colour, you also learn (or practice) shading. Here is what you have to do.

Draw ten boxes in a row (with a pencil), even in size. Write the name of the colour above the row of boxes. Now, start colouring. The darkest shade first, then gradually get lighter until the very finest shade. The result should look somewhat like this:

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If you really want to challenge yourself and practice some more, do it in reverse as well. Like this:

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Do this for each of your watercolours. As mentioned, it is an opportunity to practice. Shading is not as easy as it might seem, and I noticed, that depending on the intensity of the shade the colour changed in ways that I did not expect. It’s really helpful to have the swatches. Next time when you try to decide which colour to use and/or which shade would be appropriate, they’ll come in handy. Believe me, been there, done that – oh, all the mistakes I made without them. But, I am learning.  😉 😀  I enjoyed that exercise. Hope you do too.