How to make washes more coordinated less blotchy

so I am completely new to watercolour /line and wash and I tried the free exercise about balance. One thing I noticed is, that my washes are really uneven and blotchy and I havecno idea how to fix this, so I will put the picture up here. Help would be appreciated


Welcome to The forum and also to The Virtual Instructor! I had a lengthy reply typed out for you and managed with one wayward stroke to delete the whole thing. I’m not sure where it went. LOL!

In brief, I really can’t help you with your specific question, but there are great watercolorists on this site that I hope will see your question and chime in. The thing I do recommend, that I’ve done, is to watch as many watercolorists" tutorials on You Tube as you have time for. I learned so much just watching tutorials, even though I didn’t paint along with any of them. That has been a great supplement to what I’ve learned here and from other artists.

Is it your shadows in this lesson you’re concerned with or the actual paint you applied to the paint tubes? What is your experience level with drawing or painting in any medium? I find that improving my drawing skills has helped with everything I’ve attempted. I’ve been a member here since 2021. I could possibly turn into a lifetime member. LOL! I think there is always something new to learn.

Also, if you can, you might watch the new Live Lesson series which starts Wednesday evening. It will be taught by Matt, will be an hour every week until we finish the piece, and we have access through a chat box to ask Matt and Ashley any art-related question we might have. Once you’ve asked the question, they read it and reply right there and then. It’s my favorite night of the week!

Keep painting, keep drawing, and be patient. Patience is one of the most important things to practice. I have a very hard time with it, but it is getting better the longer I’m here and the more I draw, paint, or sketch. I’ll keep up with the responses you get to your question. I’m sure I can learn something as well. :slight_smile:



OT: Ugh, I’m sorry your draft got deleted, that happens to me all the time. (I recommend typing in sth. like evernote or doc where you auto save) Thanks for still replying.

I feel like I am watching more videos than actually drawing/painting these days :rofl: , there are so.e great artists out there I agree!

I am concerned with the overall look, I seem unable to control my marks and the water-pigment ratio, possibly!
I have been drawing from childhood but I only took some classes as an adult, I don’t think I ever learned in as much detail as Matt provides, I started the colour theory yesterday and I learned SO MUCH!
I am self-taught mostly, I love coloured pencils and markers as preferred medium. I usually go for (hyper)realism and portraits or pet portraits.

I will definitely try to tune into the live lessons, I hope it’s something I can actually follow along with, as I don’t have many supplies, but I will watch anyways, just to see what is possible!

Good to have. I think you did a very good job.

I’m not sure where you’re located, but if the time of the live lesson is a problem, they are recorded and are available within about three or four days following the actual lesson. :slight_smile: The only difference is if you opt for the recorded version, there’s no ability to interact with Matt, Ashley, or the other artists. Hope to see you there!

Regarding control of the paint, it comes with time, even with wet in wet, unless you have puddles of water on your paper. If you paint into a satiny finish of water applied to the paper, there is more control than on soaking wet paper. It will all happen with time, patience and experience/experimenting. I’ve done a LOT of experimenting, some of which makes it into my “keep” pile, while most of it goes in the trash. BUT, I learn something every time I put brush to paper.

I will definitely try to make it to the live lesson, especially since the topic will be watercolours and I’m really curious how it works. I hope that I can follow even as a beginner.

I rarely keep my art; the folders I have I will purge periodically and only keep what I consider the best. I know watercolour takes practice and patience (I’m really rubbish at the patience part :laughing: ) I will try to start the watercolour course tomorrow. I started with some basics yesterday, that, curiously enough, I never learned before. I guess that’s the downside to self-taught!

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Good for you!!! I’m excited for you. I consider Matt to be one of the most amazing art teachers around. In my early weeks at TVI, working on the “25 Days to Better Drawing” course, I learned so much that I had somehow missed out on with any instructor I’d had in the past. I was so giddy, and still am to be honest. TVI is one of the best commitments I’ve made in my life. And when I began to see lessons from Ashley, the excitement doubled.

I hope your experience and journey are just as exciting for you.



Hi Jennilein -
I’m one of those people who really like watercolor, and for me the more detailed the better. If you want to see one of my recent paintings, check out the Members Minute - episode 452, of an old car by a barn. Now in response to your question don’t try to get it right all at once. Like most other media the trick is to paint in layers, starting light and then building up to the darker colors. The other thing I’ll share is that I usually paint wet onto dry. That means my paint is wet, and the paper is dry. Mix a really watery color and test it on a scrap of paper to make sure it is not to dark. Then with paint on your brush, start at the edge that is the darkest to apply the paint. While still wet, dip your brush in clean water and go back to the painting and water down the edge you want to be lighter, blending the more faded color into the paper. That’s how I get gradual shading. Let it dry and repeat as much as possible to get the darker values that you desire. Also, if your washes are blotchy, you are probably using too much water and it is puddling. Always keep that paper towel in hand to blot away the excess as you’re painting, if necessary.
Does this help?
Terri Robicon

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Thank you so much for the detailed explanation. That really helps, I can’t wait to try some of your steps myself! I have the episode with the car bookmarked, actually. I really liked the painting, when I browsed the list of episodes.

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