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Tutorials and artistic advices

Watercolor: Splattering

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Dense foliage, beach pebbles, light reflecting on water… Splattering is a simple, effective technique for representing complex surfaces.

What you need to know

- This technique involves spraying paint onto the paper with a toothbrush or a paintbrush.
- The thicker the tool, the coarser the effect (and conversely).
- The farther it is from the paper, the wider the area covered.
- The more the paint mixture is diluted, the lighter the effect.
- The wetter the paper, the more attenuated the rendering.


Aquarelle - Projections monochromes

1. Monochromatic splattering


Fine splattering: dip a brush with stiff bristles in paint, then shake it to remove the excess. Place it near the area to be splashed and snap the bristles gently with your finger to obtain a fine mist.

  • The subject: A beach of fine sand


Thick splattering: dip a 1 to 2 cm blender brush in the paint, then hold it near the area to be covered. Lift the bristles with your finger and release abruptly. 

  • The subject: a pebble beach, an irregular surface




2. Multi-colored splattering


Aquarelle - Projections multicolores

Splatter a first color and allow it to dry before splattering the next one. The trick for faster drying: use a hairdryer. 

  • The subject: autumn foliage


That little extra: for better results, use shades of a single color.



3. Splattering with water or drawing gum


Both produce very light spots, ideal for representing a snowy landscape or sun sparkling on water. 


  • With water: load your brush, then spray fine droplets on the dry wash. To enhance the effect, blot the splatters with a sheet of absorbent paper.
  • Drawing gum: crush the gum between your finger and the brush, then splatter it onto the paper. Coat the splattered surface with a wash. Once the paint is dry, rub to remove the gum, allowing the blank paper to show.

Suggested products

Canson® XL® Watercolour

See also

Watercolor: Making colors lighter
Alléger les couleurs en aquarelle
In watercoloring, it is essential to know how to lighten colors, brighten overloaded areas, alternate textures and, especially, correct mistakes.