The Dry-In-Wet Watercolor Painting Technique

A Crucial But Often Overlooked Technique

The Dry-In-Wet technique is not taught that much, but, it is an essential technique for getting the most out of watercolor painting. The dry-into-wet technique has two great uses in your watercolor painting.

First, it is a great way to get distinct soft-edged shapes in your painting. Things like distant hills and trees often have a softer look than objects in the foreground. The dry-in-wet technique is a perfect way to get the look of distant objects, especially as they look on on hazy or rainy days.

Second, it is a great way to get good solid but transparent darks in your painting – if you have the courage to add them into an already wet wash. It takes some practice, but the result is usually quite beautiful and, often, quite stunning.

In this lesson, we’ll use the dry-into-wet technique on two simple and small landscape compositions.  Watch and follow along to get the idea and then practice this technique  and make a point to use it in your paintings to add a look of professionalism to all of your work.

What you’ll need:

  • Medium round brush
  • Watercolor paper – two small sheets of watercolor paper, about 5″ x 7″ each. Recommend Arches 140lb Cold Press paper
  • Paint – Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna

Related Lessons

Fast and Loose Sunset Scene

Sunset Watercolor Painting Wet N WetAs noted, this lesson encourages fast and loose work in watercolor. 

Use the wet-in-wet and dry-in-wet techniques together to create an autumn sunset. 

The idea is less about creating a masterpiece and more about using those so important fundamental watercolor painting techniques. 

The Dry-In-Wet technique is emphasized for creating the distinct, but soft-edged shapes of trees, weeds and even the shadows on the ground.   It is an absolutely crucial technique for effective watercolor paintings but is rarely taught in classes and workshops. 

This lesson will show you how to make the best of it!


Basic Watercolor Painting Techniques

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