3 Step Watercolor: Painting with Layered Washes

Here's one of my recently completed Skillshare classes, this one's FREE and is a really good one so go ahead and take it!

3 Step Watercolor: painting with layered washes by Renato Palmuti

The concept is to apply 3 layers of washes, from lightest to darkest and gradually add the shadows, highlights and details in between layers.

Materials used

Sakura Koi Watercolors
Canson watercolor paper


Copying from the reference photo was very challenging for me. I think this one's off the grids and correct perspective but anyway, I had fun with ruler lol.

First Wash

Yellow Ocher for the light yellow parts and a mix with Burnt Umber for the darker bottom parts. Prussian Blue for the top and light shadows.

Second Wash

I took a photo when a corner of the box is still too wet. Added layers from the same colors, hereon focusing on the objects, defining more shadows, filling the top wash, and also adding some splatter to create texture.

Here's when I found "Trust the Process" to be applicable. At this point I was totally skeptic it would turn nice. I can't even get the shadows right and my colors keep on bleeding when they dry. My paper has also curled up significantly as I've brushed too much water on the first wash haha. But then I can see the layers and they're varying opacity as they're put on top of each other. It's pretty cute! Plus, teal and orange is a nice combo hehe

Third Wash

Here's where hope starts to take shape. We're to put darker shades, carefully placing where the shadows are. I only used one brush for this, the default medium waterbrush that came with my Sakura Watercolors. I think I needed a better one or I just need to learn to control my hand better. I can't seem to properly paint a straight line haha.


Finally, here's my finished project! Details added were the red and white lines and dots on the box, red paint and splats, helmet goggles and design. Highlights were also painted on some of the box's edges. I wish I had a more opaque white, but that's about the whitest Sakura Koi's Chinese White can get. Will probably invest on a white tube or a white pen. :D

That's it! I wouldn't say it's exactly the same as the original, but I did learn a lot finishing this exercise. From drawing outlines, to layering, and determining where to paint shadows. For the most part I just followed where the instructor puts the colors on. Hope you like it! :D

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