Push and Pull Technique with Emily Artful

Push and Pull Technique with Emily Artful

Emily Artful, a watercolor artist who is one of our Fuel Your Creativity artists, details three techniques for creating a perfect flat pane of color. Read about Emily's inspiration and artistic journey here. The number one rule of watercolors is having good watercolor paint, and good paper. Emily prefers Arteza’s Watercolor Premium Artist Paint, Half Pans and Arteza's 100% cotton Expert Watercolor Pad. She has been able to lay down 20 layers of pigment with no buckling using Arteza’s paper. When using watercolors, it's not simply putting pigment on the page; keep reading to see three wonderful techniques Emily uses! 

Supplies Needed:
  • Watercolors
  • Watercolor/Mixed Media Paper
  • Paint Brushes
  • 2 Water Cups (1 for clean water, 1 for dirty water)


Wet on Dry 

The first method is wet on dry. Emily demonstrates this by creating a flat plane of color on watercolor paper (or mixed media paper.) First, gather water on your paintbrush, grab the color of your choice, and lay down your pigment to start creating strokes. Pretty quickly, you'll see a thinned-out wash of color and an area that looks like a puddle of pigment. That gathered color is what you are going to 'lead' with. The wet brush is used to control the color and pigment load, so you'll take that more pigmented, wet area and push around until you've completely covered the area. 

Wet on Wet (Flat Color)

This is a much more loose way to apply your color because the pigment can have a bit of a mind of its own with this technique. First, fill in the space with clean water. Next, grab a semi-wet brush, load it up with pigment, and lay down drops of pigment on the area. You'll see the color start to spread. Since there is a lot of pigment and water, you can switch to a semi-dry brush to 'lead' the pigment around the composition.

Optional: Sometimes, in order to see where she is painting, Emily will grab a dab of pigment to tint the water to the color she's using.

 Wet on Wet (Gradient) 

If you want to turn the above color into a gradient, stop painting mid-way through the composition, and gather the second color. Since there is a decent amount of water on the paper, when you lay down the color at the opposite end, you can let the colors mix themselves for the most part. When needed, lead the pigment around to fill the area. Next, create a seamless transition by adding dots of pigment at the line between colors; if it is too much, you can always pull the color down. If you see water and pigment pooling in certain areas, gently use the tip of a dry synthetic brush to pick up excess pigment. As the wet on wet dries, the colors will continue to mesh together. 

Tip: If you don't have a synthetic brush, you can use any type of brush to pick up excess pigment, as long as it is completely dry. 

 There you have it! We hope you've picked up a new trick or two to incorporate into your next watercolor masterpiece with the help of Emily Artful herself.


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