- Draw a picture, considering which areas you will keep white, which will be a light value and which will be a dark value. Choose a color of paint and mix a tiny amount with water to make a puddle. Swatch to ensure you have the value you want, and make more than enough to cover the desired area. I’ve chosen ultramarine blue for this picture. Keep in mind that watercolor becomes lighter once it dries.
2. Use a big brush to fill in large areas quickly. Get your brush really wet, start coloring in one corner and spread outward. It’s okay to color areas that you plan to make darker later. Don’t outline shapes, but don’t avoid them either. Work quickly!
When painting around an area, go back and forth between the two sides, ensuring both are quite wet as you go. Continue to fill in the space broadly and quickly, avoiding skinny lines unless they are part of the composition.
Finish coloring in every part you don’t want to keep white. Rinse and dry your brush and pick up any puddles to prevent back runs from developing as your picture dries. Don’t mess with this layer any more than absolutely necessary. Let your picture dry for a few minutes and then dry it with a hair dryer or place it in a sunny spot until it is absolutely bone dry. It’s better to dry it too much than not enough.
Once you are certain the first layer is totally dry, mix more than enough of a darker value of the same color and swatch it. It will be even darker when it is layered over the first value. Color in the areas you chose for this value.
Add any remaining details, switching to a smaller brush for tiny areas. You can always add more lines and shapes, or a third darker value if you wish.