Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Try a few, or all, of these "very cool" BLUE exercises . . .

For the first 5 color studies, you will need some watercolor paper (this can be a watercolor sketchbook, paper from a watercolor pad, scraps of good watercolor paper, or the backs of your old paintings).  You'll also need your watercolor brushes and paints, and a black felt pen . . .

1)  FACES --

Start with a wet-in-wet underpainting, using all your blues, and a few analogous colors (like green and magenta).  Let this dry completely.

Find some faces from your magazines, and tear them out to use for references.  (For this exercise, I recommend not using photos of people you know, because then you'll be too worried about getting a likeness).

Cut up your painted watercolor paper into 4 x 6 pieces, and do a contour drawing of a face, using a black felt pen, on each one . . .

(The faces above are from my Face-A-Day Project -- my personal 365-day project from 2011.)


 Without drawing first, paint a quick color sketch, that gives the "feeling" of winter . . .   


Draw a grid on one piece of watercolor paper, or use 4 separate rectangles of paper.  Paint a different blue sky in each one -- a) Wet the paper first with clear water; then, paint two different blues.  As it is drying, roll a little piece of tissue across the paper, for clouds.  b) Wet the paper; then, paint a pale blue and a very pale magenta.  Then, lift out some of the paint with a damp brush, as it's drying.  c)  Draw and mask a little circle, for the moon.  Paint the sky with two different blues.  Roll a tiny piece of tissue across the moon for a cloud.  If the sky is not dark enough for a night sky, wait until it is dry, and paint it again with the blues.  Remove the masking after it is dry.  d) Paint a blue wash onto dry paper.  While this is still wet, paint a few "stripes" of another blue.  Roll a piece of tissue for the clouds.


Start with a wet-in-wet mingling on a small piece of watercolor paper, using a granular blue (like Cerulean Blue or French Ultramarine) plus a little of an earth color or two (like Quinacridone Gold).  When this is dry, draw a fish, and then paint it, keeping most of the fish transparent, so as not to totally cover up the underpainting.  Finish with a few darks on the fish . . . 

5)  BLUE "WAVES" --

On dry paper, paint some big wavy, watery swaths of color -- mostly blues, with a little magenta and/or red -- leaving just a few bits of white showing.  While this is drying, paint some more wavy lines, using more pigment this time (French Ultramarine and Phthalo Blue).  Finish with a little spattering of red. . . 


You'll use your sketchbook for the next 5 exercises . . . 

6)  IMPRESSIONS OF YOUR DAY -- Using a blue fine marker, draw a few images of some things in your environment -- and then, jot down a line or 2 next to each one -- all on the same sketchbook page.  Then, date the page. . . 

7) A "BLUE" BIRD --

Draw a bird, either from life or from a photo, in pencil.  Add color with colored pencils (or watercolor pencils), using different blues, and adding a few spots of warm colors, for contrast. . . 



Using a blue ballpoint pen, fill up 2 pages of your sketchbook with quick "gesture" drawings -- at a dance class, playground, or yoga class . . . 


With a soft 6B pencil, or a charcoal pencil, draw a sailboat in the water, near a dock or harbor.  With your watercolors, paint some wet blues for the sky and the water, leaving a few white shapes.  Add a few spots of bright warm color, and finish your sketch with some darks (pencil or paint). . .

10)  JUST FOR FUN -- 

While looking at a stone wall, draw just the cracks, with a contour line in black felt pen.  Choose one of these shapes, and turn it into a little creature.  Draw a frame around it with some lines in the background, to break up the negative space.  

Now, try some paint "sanding" in some of the background shapes.  Wet one of the shapes with clear water, and then, rub the end of any blue watercolor pencil on a sandpaper block, so the particles land on the wet shape.  (This only works with watercolor pencils, not regular colored pencils.)

All right!  Now it's time for a cup of hot tea (or hot toddy), to warm up . . .


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