Posted on 14 Comments

Appearance of Texture

Using watercolor for texture.

Where to begin.  A LOT of what I do is intuitive.   I would say an important point would be to know your watercolors and brushes and what they do.  Play around with them.  Some paints, like rose madder, have a grainy look to them when applied, so if you have not created a watercolor mixing chart then you may want to play around with one just to see how the paints interact with each other and the paper.  Time consuming they are but worth it in the end.  (Sounds like another blog post to me.  Be sure and request it and I’ll be attentive to post it)  If you are unsure about your colors, then pick the colors that you will use in your image,  and do a small color mixing chart based on your image and color choice.

The first step to this layering process, and that is indeed what it is, layering,  is to sketch out what your subject is.  I am currently working on character development of another pig for my Super Pig series so I will be using Ollie the wonderful pig, for this example.

I use two glasses of clean water, one for washing and one for rinsing.

My paint selection today will be Windsor and Newton

  • Cadmium Red
  • Raw Umber
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Burnt Umber
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Ivory Black
  • Sap Green
  • Naples Yellow

Other Supplies

  • Brush
  • Nib
  • pencil
  • eraser
  • Canson 140 lb watercolor paper cold pressed


Everyone has their favorite brushes to work with.  I recently purchased this floral brush size 6, and I love the point on it and the angle.  I find that it makes great uneven strokes when held on the angles and moved across the paper with irregular movements.

The smaller brush is just used to add water to the image in a controlled area.

The pen, with a fine tip, is used to out line and create hairs.

Liquitex ink

  • Titanium White
  • Transparent Umber

After sketching the image I apply a base color.   Naples yellow.

IMG_3269Babby Hats
Stage One

This is applied to the areas that the skin shows through.  Then I start to layer on top of that.  My second color is the Cadmium Red, that is applied on top of the naples yellow.  I am careful to think of lighting as the shadows or contours of the pig will be slightly darker.  I am also thoughtful in how much water and pigment I add.  I can always add more as I go along.

IMG_3273Babby Hats
Stage two

Even now I can start to see the textures.  I let the paint create the shadows etc.  Those that I like, I add and continue to  encourage.  If there is a shadow that seems out of place, a bit of clean water and a soft scrub with the brush , dab of a paper towel will remedy it.



I continue working in this manner adding little layers over the  contours of the subject. Seeing shadows develop and working with them.

IMG_3275Babby Hats
Stage Three

This little rooter, has been in something green.  Grass perhaps?  Who knows.








Keep working

Don’t stop now.  Next comes the darker pigments.  This will help get more couture and texture in the image. I am sure that you will develop your own style and sometimes the best strokes are happy accidents.  So just keep at it and work with it.  Remember that when it dries there will be irregularities when you add more paint.  If you need a smooth transition keep it wet.  Here are the next few steps all together so that you can see.

Be careful not to over work.  Its easy to do.  At this point I start to out line and tidy up.  I wait until the image is dry, to prevent feathering of the ink.  I do sometimes use a heat gun and hold it back from the image.  Holding it too close will cause your paper to warp and buckle.  Using a 140 lb weight paper will help in the reduction of buckling.

This is the finished product.  Ollie.  I say that loosely, because I can sometimes catch something that needs to be worked in etc.

IMG_3284Babby Hats
Olli the Wonderful Pig


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And there you have it.  No mediums used, just watercolor.  Layering can be a wonderful way to create shadows and texture.  Study your subject.  Fall in love with it.  Appreciate different aspects of it that make is special, then use those aspects when your painting.

As always have a wonderful and creative day.




Art supplies have been purchased from Dick Blick and local art supply stores.


14 thoughts on “Appearance of Texture

  1. Very informative information! I want to try this method next time I try to water color. The result looks natural and nice, and the textures that come out of it fit the piece like a glove!

    1. Thank you Amber!! Thank you!!

  2. How did you make the hair? He is just beautiful, from his snout to his hooves.

    1. I use a fine tipped pen nib and going with the natural flow of hair, I do quick strokes, heavy at the start or base / root , and coming up at the end. This makes a natural point at the end of the hair and a larger end towards the follicle!

  3. Do you think this might work for Acrylics if they are kept fluid?

    1. Yes. Even allowing them to dry and layer upon each other. But once again a practice sheet with how they act and react with each layer and with the paper. But I do believe it would be the same principle.

      1. Thank you for liking the review, the demonstration really held my attention and i will certainly attempt it with the acrylics in hopes of getting a more realistic looking character.

  4. Reblogged this on Br Andrew's Muses and commented:
    Jessica and I began taking Acrylic Classes about two years ago and the techniques illustrated in this post are not dissimilar to those suggested by our Art teacher. Here they are demonstrated excellently and I am wondering whether they will transfer to Acrylic.

    1. The only thing is that acrylic will not lift off but if you make a mistake you can gouache over it.

      1. O.K I’ll get some of that, we have some really good Hot Dollar Shops here in Australia besides the professional Art Suppliers and gouache is something we can get at the nearest large shopping centre.

      2. I look forward to seeing some of your creations.

    2. I wanted to say thank you for such a nice comment , and re-blog for my post. I was headed into see a Sherlock Holmes movie and did not have time to reply. Thank you.

  5. I really enjoyed this post and your step by step. Your pigs are amazing and so entertaining!

    1. Thank you Rachel!! Thank you!

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