Creative Jumpstarts: Toned Paper Drawing/White Paint

This exercise will seem daunting because of the subject matter I have chosen to use but don’t let that scare you off.  You really could make a wonderful painting with a subject like a boat, a house, or an arrangement of flowers.  The beauty comes from the quality of the shape you draw highlighted by the use of white paint.

Take out several pieces of watercolor paper and tone them with an interesting light middle value wash, try not to have too much going on or it will be too confusing.  To start probably a wash or Raw Sienna or Burnt Umber would be great.  Then draw a couple of shapes, really trying to get a good silhouette, because this is where the white paint will be creating a wonderful negative shape.  Apply the white paint, I use Titanium White DaVinci Brand, in several coats and get an irregular finish, use less water than you are comfortable with.  If you need to add some detail colors to your centers of interest but use them sparingly.  You want the drawing to really show.

Give several of these a try and you should find it not only fun but also very expressive 15 x 22 watercolor paper toned with cadmium scarlet and raw sienna

15 x 22 watercolor toned raw sienna and halloween orange, American Journey Color

22 x 30 watercolor toned with Raw Sienna

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  • luiz carlos correiaAugust 16, 2011 - 9:15 pm

    😆 adoro receber os seus e-mail eles são muitos instrutivos, eu aprendo muito com eles, tenho que aprender a soltar mais os traços e os pinceis , mas ja melhorei muito, obrigado.ReplyCancel

  • MAugust 17, 2011 - 1:09 am


    These are lovely. I’ve been experimenting with white gouache recently on colored pastel paper. I had not thought of tinting my own in this way, it’s a very nice, warm effect.ReplyCancel

  • Jan FinleyAugust 17, 2011 - 6:40 am

    Hi Steve
    Thank you so much for sending me your news letter I look forward to reading it as I am self taught over Sixty and started late in life I still have a lot to learn and try diffrent technique so I will have a go at these lessons if that is alright with you.

    Kind regards

    Jan Finley.ReplyCancel