Watercolor Painting and Projects.com
Did you know?
       "Tissue blotting is also popular for
        rendering puffy or streaking
        clouds in the sky."

 

 
Home  Watercolor Techniques  Lifting, Scrubbing, Blotting

    Demonstration of scrubbing out


Lifting, Scrubbing, and Blotting

  • How to lift out color using the tip and flat side of your brush
  • How to scrub out color using the tip and flat side of your brush
  • How to tissue blot on wet or damp color





Sometimes when you are painting, you'll need to remove watercolor from your paper. Perhaps your color or value is too dark, or you've made a mistake, or you've painted over an area you didn't mean to. Or, on the positive side, you want to create some interesting effects.

On this page, I'll show you three easy ways to lift out color with a clean moist brush, scrub out color with a stiff brush, or blot up color with a tissue.


How to Lift Out Watercolor  -  Tutorial
   
Use this technique to lift out watercolor that is wet, damp or dry.

 
You'll need a clean, moist brush
and a dampened tissue.
demonstration of lifting-out technique


flat side

Lifting out using
the flat side
of the brush.
painted sample showing watercolor lifted-out


the tip

Lifting out using
the tip edge
of the brush.

flat side       

How to lift-out color using the flat side of your brush.

With your clean, moist brush, make several brush strokes in the area where you want to lift out the watercolor. Wipe the watercolor from your brush onto the dampened portion of your tissue. Repeat the brush strokes. If you need to remove more color, rinse out your brush, blot it on the tissue, then lift out more color. Wipe the watercolor on your tissue. Repeat as needed.

the tip       

How to lift-out color using the tip of your brush.

If you want to lift out narrow lines, shape the tip of your brush into a chisel edge with your thumb and forefinger. Using short brush strokes, lift out a line of watercolor, then blot your brush on your dampened tissue.

How to Scrub Out Watercolor  -  Tutorial
   
Use this technique to remove watercolor from an area that has already dried.

 
You'll need a stiff-bristled brush and a dry tissue.
demonstration of scrubbing-out technique


the tip

Scrubbing out
using the tip
of the brush.
painted sample showing watercolor scrubbed-out


flat side

Scrubbing out
using the flat side
of the brush.

the tip       

How to scrub-out color using the tip of your brush.

Wet your stiff brush and tap it once lightly on the side of your water container. With the tip of your brush, lightly scrub the area, using continuous overlapping brush strokes. Take your dry tissue and blot up the excess watercolor from the scrubbed-out area. Remove the watercolor from your brush by thumping it on the bottom of your water container. If you need to remove more color, repeat these steps.

flat side       

How to scrub-out color using the flat side of your brush.

Use the same method as when scrubbing out color with the tip of your brush, but now using the flat side of your brush. You can remove color with continuous downward overlapping brush strokes, or side to side overlapping brush strokes. For best results, remove the color only in one direction. Otherwise, you will be dragging color back into the area that you already removed color from.

 
personal note  For removing watercolor on a heavily pigmented area, it is best to blot with a paper towel, not a tissue. A tissue will leave lint particles on the pigment surrounding the scrubbed-out area, which can be difficult to remove.

How to Tissue Blot Watercolor  -  Tutorial
  Tissue blotting is an easy way to lighten the value of an area you have just painted; it can add texture to your painting. How much watercolor is lifted depends on how wet or damp your wash is or the amount of pressure applied to your tissue.

In the examples below, the top row of squares shows the results when you tissue-blot on a wet watercolor wash. The bottom row shows the results when you tissue-blot on a damp watercolor wash.

 
 
example
Dried
color
example
Using very light
pressure
example
Using light
pressure
example
Using firm
pressure

Results on
Wet Wash


Results on
Damp Wash
 

Step 1  

Take a dry tissue and crumple it in your hand. This breaks up the stiffness of the tissue. If you are blotting to create texture, crumple it more.
Step 2  
Press the tissue to the wet area to blot up the amount of watercolor you want lifted. As you can see from the sample above, firm pressure on a wet wash can lighten a watercolor's value considerably.




 
    [  Back to top  ] order projects

Step-By-Step Guide to Painting Realistic Watercolors © 1997 - 2013
www.watercolorpaintingandprojects.com Copyright © 2013 Dawn McLeod Heim. All Rights Reserved.