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Marvellous Monochrome

In this new tutorial I will show you how to create the illusion of form (3D) using just one colour. This is a great exercise for both the beginner as well as the more experienced watercolourist as it is going to encourage you to really look at your subject and see how the tones alter across the surface. This level of observation is a super useful skill as you will be able to incorporate a wide range of values in all of your work, which will create more depth and realism.


For this tutorial we will be using a white subject, photographed in black & white, this will help you to see the tones clearer. Painting using a single colour is a great way to really understand 'values' (light and dark colour). It will also give you the opportunity to discover how to mix a range of values and how to identify where a colour appears on a tonal scale. I will also share with you some useful tips on how to identify and match values to make your painting easier!





To begin this tutorial I will show you how to create a tonal scale and then guide you through the different techniques we will use to apply the different values. The techniques we will be using are key watercolour techniques, so this tutorial is a great one to try even if you're a beginner. Don't let the difficulty rating put you off ~ I have labeled this a 2 paintbrush (medium difficulty) as it is more to do with the level of observation and patience you will need, rather than the difficulty of thepainting techniques. Remember you can always crop the photo reference and complete a smaller section if you feel the need!











Once you're ready to start, I will guide you through each step of the painting, applying colour wet into wet to build up base layers and wet onto dry to add more detail.



You will need to work looking closely at your photo reference to see how the values change across each shape. You will also need to consider the different levels of contrast between one shape, when placed next to another.


The more you look, the better your observation will become. This is the key to achieving the correct values from white to very dark.




To find out more about this tutorial, take a look at this short video.



This tutorial is really going to give your brain a workout but by the end of it I hope you will have a really good understanding of values and how to mix them!


Happy Painting!


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