Watercolor Layering and Lifting Basics

Tips & Methods

In this video, I will present a few tips and methods on my approach to layering and lifting in watercolor. This was particularly important in my practice as a watercolorist because in the beginning, I remember not understanding what the fundamentals of layering and lifting were.

For example, when I started painting, I would use too much water, or not give enough time to dry in between what I would later come to understand as very crucial layers. Even understanding the little intricacies of which brush to use was so very important in the learning and creative process.

As many artists will do, I also began applying layer over layer whether wet on wet or dry, I noticed how colors would become murky, the graduation was not what I had intended, and before you know it, you have a greatly overworked painting.


The transparency and complimenting blending of watercolors is very much what makes watercolors so special and unique in comparison to other forms of painting. The atmosphere, the glow, and even the texture of the paper give life to what forms from these layers.

I hope this information along with a few cues as to when and how lifting comes into play to accent your watercolor paintings will be helpful fundamental tools in your own work. Remember, whether this is your very first attempt at watercolors or have just found yourself at the crossroads of improvement as I had, these tips are all part of play and experimentation.

Whatever road may lie ahead for your own painting story is up to you. Enjoy the journey and enjoy experimenting with watercolors!

This particular video was created with numerous tools listed below. Give it a watch to see how it comes together while giving it a try with a similar style or create your own interpretation. Thank you.


Tools Used

⊳ Canson Watercolor Artboard
⊳ Graph Gear 2000 Pencil .5
Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Studio
Trekell Brushes
Dugato Watercolor Round Brushes

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