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January 2010

January 2010 -- Time



  • EMG News:
    News for 2010
  • Wombat Droppings:
    Ten Years of Rendering the Chicken
  • Ask an Artist:
    Troubleshooting Watercolor
  • Behind the Art:
    More Experimenting With Collage
  • Artist Spotlight:
    Interview with Tiziano Baracchi


  • On Finding Clients as a Freelancer


  • Fiction: A Whole Year in One Key

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  • Troubleshooting Watercolor
    Ask an Artist
    by Annie Rodrigue

    Dear Annie,

    A piece I was working on has a rough spot on the paper that won't accept any watercolour. I don't want to have to start over! Is there any way to save this piece?


    Watercolor can be tricky and annoying like that. But, there are solutions to fix a problem like this one for sure! The best solutions though, are probably not with watercolour itself. Once the paper doesn’t take paint, it becomes fairly stubborn (if that’s even possible!).

    Here is how I would deal with it. First, I would let the paper dry completely. Sometimes, when the paper is too full of water, the paint just doesn’t stick at all. Watercolor often tests our patience when we have to wait until the paper is dry to apply the next layer. Once it’s dry, take the time to check if some paper fibres are in the way. Do the best you can to make the rough spot not look so rough. Cut the fibres.

    From there, you have two options to that might help you correct the rough spot. You can either do the correction with a software like Photoshop. Or you can try and correct with acrylics.

    Of course, correcting your painting with a digital medium might not be the ideal solution if you plan on framing the original painting. But if you are using the illustration for other purposes than to sell the original or frame it, correcting it this way might save you the worry of damaging your work even further. Watercolour has a particular texture. So while you correct with Photoshop, make sure you use the right tools so that you do not lose this texture. The Duplicating Tool is perfect for a situation like this one!

    If you plan on selling the original or framing it, then working your way with acrylics is probably your best bet. Acrylics, if diluted with a lot of water, will have a very similar texture and look to watercolor. But what is wonderful with acrylics is that it covers a mistake fairly well. If you work with many layers of acrylics, you should be able to make that rough spot disappear and blend the acrylics with the watercolor. A word of caution with acrylics though: unlike watercolor, which dries lighter, acrylic paint dries darker. It’s especially important to start covering your spot with a lighter shade of acrylics and wait to see how much darker it will dry. From there you can adjust your shade until it blends with the watercolor. What you can do to get really close to the shade of watercolor is this: You can use your watercolor to shade white acrylics (or any other shade really, but white is easier to stain). So blend your acrylics with a little bit of the watercolor you were using and it should do the trick!

    In this example, you can still see a bit of the fibre showing. It is a bit darker. I might continue to remove a little bit of the fibres to make it blend better, but it’s a bit touchy. Sometimes taking out too much fibre will go through the paper. So try your best to balance the two.

    Annie Rodrigue

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