Creativity Workshop: The Drybrush Way

Red on Red (watercolor on paper, 30×23) by Robert O’Brien

As you most likely know, artists tend to split watercolor techniques into two basic categories: wet and dry. While wet paintings tend to be looser, larger and drippier, drybrush paintings are usually more controlled, realistic and smaller. I’ve long preferred the drybrush way simply because it suits my interest in rendering subjects in a realistic manner, but I’ve also found that the technique can be used for any number of applications.

I use drybrush technique to paint just about everything—from water to weathered wood, to the texture of an old stone building. I’ve also used it for flowers, rusty metal and even portraits (see my step-by-step demo in the February issue of Watercolor Artist). In short, drybrush is a remarkably versatile way of handling water-color paint. Try introducing—or re-introducing—it to your work. You may be surprised by how far it can take you.

Try This At Home
Introduce a drybrush technique to one of your watercolors. Send a JPEG (with a resolution of 72 dpi) of your painting to us at with “Creativity Workshop” in the subject line and tell us about your process. The “editor’s choice” will receive a six-month subscription to online video workshops, plus $50 worth of North Light ?ne art books. The deadline for entry is February 10. Happy painting!



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