Hello Lauren! I really love your work, especially your watercolor sketches! I was just wondering, how do you get your watercolors so perfectly blended? I am currently dabbling in watercolor illustrations but always find that either my colors get streaky or the color itself lifts off when im trying to layer. I'm using Koi watercolors and a moleskine watercolor sketchbook so I'm not sure if its my materials or my technique... tips would be appreciated! <3 Thanks!! :D

Hello! Thank you for your kind words! I apologize for taking so long to respond, I have no idea how long this has been sitting in my inbox. Sorry this is so long!

Most of the watercolors I currently use are Reeves brand and I’ve had them for over ten years probably. I replace colors as I need them using whatever brand is on sale, usually! I don’t quite have a preference yet.

I squeeze a bit of the watercolor (from a tube) onto a large butcher tray and let it dry. This is what my tray looks like. This method works really well for me because I can mix colors as I want and let them dry and I can still use them later. You just revive them by adding water. It’s a lot like those watercolor palettes you use in grade school! It also lets me get a good idea of how opaque or transparent a color is going to be on paper, because I can just keep adding water in the pan until it’s about where I want it to be.

I do 95% of my drawing and painting in a Moleskine watercolor folio/album. I’ve been using these pretty loyally for 5 or 6 years. Sometimes I use other paper (many of which are better quality) but the convenience of this particular moleskin really works best for me. I’m really fond of the landscape orientation and the size, too.

I work usually in pigment-heavy washes first, with broad strokes. I try to just cover as much of an area with a color as possible before the first part dries, because that’s how you get streaks or puddles of color. It helps to use a larger brush if you’re experiencing a lot of streaks. Even a large brush can get you a very thin line. I use one brush shaped like this the majority of the time. 

It can also help to wet an entire area with water and then apply a very heavy dose of pigment and spread it around with your brush, since the pigment will seep into the wet areas. I tend to go first with a very pigmented wash and add water to lighten it up where I need it, because I get the very problem you describe: the pigment will lift off the page when I try to layer too much. The less water you introduce throughout the process, the less this will happen. 

If I’m trying to get two color to blend together like a gradient, I apply a lot of pigment of one to one area and a lot of the other to another area and then use plain water to kind of ease them into each other. 

So I guess in short, I’ve found it better to apply a lot of pigment quickly and to add more water as needed. Use water to push pigment around on the page and to control the level of opacity you want.

Also if you realize you added too much water, you can just soak it up with cotton balls, a dry brush, q-tips, a cotton rag, etc, and just try again! Watercolor is very forgiving it you let it be.

I hope this helps!

I love your art! Do you have any tips on drawing people? Especially for someone just learning how. Have a nice day *u*

Sorry for such a slow response! It’s impossible to tell how long messages have been sitting in the inbox!

My best advice is to draw people from life, if you can! You don’t have to go to life drawing classes, just sit in a cafe and draw people! I find that being able to move my head or move around a person or objects helps me to better understand how an object exists in space and therefore draw it better.

If you are nervous about going to a life drawing class or maybe your parents aren’t comfortable with it, you can go to an art museum that has nude statues and draw them from various angles! I did this a lot as kid.

But you can also draw from photos! Just browse pictures of people online, I found out about this site recently which may help you out.

Fashion blogs and magazines are a great reference for drawing people in clothes. I used to have a lot of trouble drawing shoes (especially heels) and shoe ads really helped me.

Your best model is yourself! Look in a mirror or take pictures of yourself! I am constantly taking pictures of myself using the Photo Booth application on my computer. It’s really good for getting foreshortening or focusing in on just one body part from various angles.

A book that really changed how I drew people and how I thought about drawing people was Force by Mark Matessi. I highly recommend it.

Another book I can recommend is Facial Expressions by Mark Simon, it has a wide variety of faces from different angles for you draw use as reference and practice!

I hope this helps! :)