Harness the power of water: 5 fun painting techniques

Over the last few days, we’ve talked about brushes and collage, creating abstract art and examining art deco patterns to gain some inspiration for our art journal pages. Today, let’s look at some fun ways to add paint to paper.

5 fun painting techniques

Drips: This is one of my favorite things to do. Use some watered down acrylics or acrylic ink, stand the journal upright, and watch the paint drip down the page. Take a look at the super short video below to see this technique in action.

Dry brushing: All you need for this is a dry brush (not dipped in water) and undiluted paint. Dry brushing creates strong, uneven lines that help to create some texture and movement, and gives your overall composition a painterly effect. I have a love-hate relationship with dry brushing, but it does produce some interesting results.


Flicking creates some fun splatter effects, perfect for a starry night sky.

Flicking: Wet your paint brush, dip it into paint, and flick it on your painting for an uneven splatter effect. It’s my favourite technique for starry skies, abstracts and to add interest on a background.

Wet into wet: Wet your paper, apply some paint, and then come over it with another color while it’s still wet. Though this is a technique that is more commonly used with watercolours, it gives beautiful, unexpected results with acrylics too. Just a note of caution: be aware of color theory with this one to avoid creating mud {unless that’s the look you’re after!}

Washes: Acrylics can be used for some watercolor techniques if you dilute them with water {or better still, medium}. This thinned down paint is called a wash. Alternating layers of washes with dry brushing {allowing to dry thoroughly between layers} can create some really interesting effects!

Which of these techniques are you excited to try?

Put this lesson to work: Try using some of these techniques to create a painterly collage piece in your art journal.

Remember the brush play and collage I showed you last week? I did some painty play over that spread. These are still the initial layers to building up a complete spread. To find out how will it evolve, keep watching this space. Enjoy!

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    • Ah yes, my only problem with spray with toothbrush technique is that I always end up spraying the paint on myself rather than on the paper (ahem!). So…splatters are a little better – at least half of the paint lands up on the page. 😉

  1. Back in the days I used to paint, I’d use the wash method. It was my favorite method of achieving the fluidity I wanted to depict in my works.

  2. I love watercolour painting. It’s not an easy medium to paint with but the effects are stunning. Haven’t painted for a while -must pick up my brushes again.

    • Yes, I’m still trying to learn watercolors. They’re not easy, that’s for sure! But the effects are beautiful.

  3. I can finally say I’m familiar with something in here! 😀
    So I’ve tried drip (if it is what I’ve understood it is, cos the video isn’t coming up on my office network), and I’ve tried it with crayons underneath, such that, that area alone is untouched by the dripping paint.
    I’ve also tried flicking. I pretend to be very angsty when I do it 😛

    • Oh yes – that’s a lovely effect. The crayon acts as a resist to the paint. Flicking and acting angsty – I’ll try that next time 😉

  4. I remember first doing flicking at primary school – several of us couldn’t go out at playtime for some reason (can’t remember what) so the teacher taught us flicking and how to use stencils to make shapes. It’s a good memory :).
    Tasha’s Thinkings – Shapeshifters and Werewolves

  5. Loved it! I had no idea that thing I have been wanting to do awhile from Pinterest is called Dripping! Heh.
    I dabble but I’ve least thought I could never paint. I’ve painted walls though haha 🙂

    Hope you are doing well with the challenge!

  6. The ‘drips’ technique is similar to watching raindrops slip by on a window! I think it will be the easiest thing for me to do this vacation!

    I used to do the flicking technique with an old toothbrush! The results look very pretty indeed 😀

    • Yes, it is! I think one of the reasons I love doing drips is just so I can watch the paint, well, drip and do its thing!

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