Watercolour play

In order to form a creative habit I have followed several Skillshare classes. This one was by Ana Victoria Calderon. This project was great for me because it combined ‘play’ as well as a final project.

The first step was to create watercolour pattern swatches:

Making the swatches was playful and experimental, allowing freedom to make mistakes and just have a go with a new idea, and taking the pressure off the making process. I made loads and they are something I will come back to – I am only showing you a selection!

The final project involved drawing a scene, and using the swatches to make an intensely patterned scene.

TurtleThis drawing felt like a natural continuation of the preparatory work, making it easier to bypass the critical voice. The preparatory work helped to limit the choices, and narrowed the focus. I am naturally indecisive and can easily stall on a project because I can’t decide what to do next, so this really helped me.

This was my favourite part – painting these tesselating, colour blending shapes was unexpectedly satisfying and soothing. It was a good way to experiment with watercolour hue and saturation as well, I love how you can gradually adjust the blend, just by dipping in a slightly different puddle.

Next time I want to think more carefully about the colours, perhaps make colour swatches using a selected colour scheme to try it out. I would also consider how to help the eye move move across the picture more easily, and how to keep the turtle foregrounded.


4 thoughts on “Watercolour play

    1. Thanks aghisla! I like how you describe it as mosaic – I hadn’t thought of it like that, but it makes sense as I love mosaics. I saw you’re doing the Natural History Illustration course – I am too, though I haven’t managed to keep up. What an amazing course eh? I think they did a great job putting that together, and I loved seeing so many different people’s work.


      1. Yes, it is quite challenging in terms of time and techniques that you need to practice. I would have liked more information about how to draw textures (fur, feathers, grass, leaves, water…) but I suppose it would have been too much to learn at once. I hope you will continue to follow the lessons at your own pace, it is a great satisfaction to complete the assignments!


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