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Create drama and texture in your watercolours

In the last of her series, Julie Collins shows you various ways of working with inks, ranging from delicate pen work to bold, bright stick and ink, to add depth and texture to your watercolours for additional interest


Ink and watercolour can be used to create interesting and effective textures and can give much more strength and definition to the painting. The darks in inks are extremely dense and have more depth than watercolour, which can be very useful for adding more drama to your work. Additionally, the patterns you can make with the ink can make your work more complex, and so create extra interest.

It is worth trying all the techniques available to discover which best suits you. I enjoy all of the techniques covered here but I often find that students will strongly favour one method over another after they have tried them all. For me it depends on the subject and also how I’m feeling. Using a dipping pen or stick with ink is great when you are feeling bold and can also increase your confidence when you’re feeling apprehensive, as you will need to work quite quickly and accept the odd blob of ink appearing in your work.


Pansies, watercolour and fine drawing pen, 61⁄2x81⁄2in (16.5x21.5cm).
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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of The Artist - June 18
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June 18
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About The Artist

Welcome to our June issue with plenty to inspire artists in all media. Watercolourists will love Amanda Hyatt's Five Steps to Watercolour technique with a 10-minute exercise to try, Ann Blockley's invitation to let go of reality and get creative with the medium, Jean Haines' advice on how to paint white flowers, while Julie Collins shows how adding ink can create definition and impact. For inspiration for oil painters don't miss cover artist Jason Sacran's step-by-step self-portrait, Patrick Cullen's article on painting in India and Paul Brown's advice on using just six colours to paint a landscape. For acrylic painters we have Michael Kidd talking about his stylised acrylic compositions, Jo Quigley's demonstration on how to paint successful reflections in acrylics and Marie Antoniou on how to transform a dull photo into an interesting painting, while Barry Herniman demonstrates the versatility of the under-used medium of gouache. With all this and much more, why not try a new medium or technique in the coming weeks under the guidance of our fantastic contributing artists!