Posts Tagged ‘watercolor’

how to paint smoke with watercolor? ?

in my watercolor class we have to do a project painting fall leaves in an interesting arrangement, and mine involves putting smoke around them. the only problem is, no matter how many times i’ve tried painting smoke i can’t get it right. has anyone painted smoke before and have any tips? thank you!! :)

Chosen Answer:

You need to paint everything else first and leave the smoke until the very end. Smoke and mist are like highlights and shadows – they are not actual concrete objects. Therefore, all of the solid objects or figures need to be painted in their entirety first and then add the smoke (or mist or highlights/shadows, etc.).

To add the smoke, first make sure everything else on the paper is dry. Then you need to make a very watery grey in order to brush a wash over the area where you want the smoke. If you are using a very light coloured grey then you may need to do 2, 3, 4 or more coats over the area in order to build up the desired effect. If it is a darker grey that you are using then it may only take 1 or 2 coats. Let each coat dry before applying the next.

Watch that you don’t leave puddles of water on the paper because if you let the puddle dry you will likely end up with a watermark around the puddle (a watermark is the darker outline of the wash). Watermarks are beautiful and have their place, but not for smoke.

Remember, you are trying to paint something that has to feel like you could put your hand right through it, so also watch the amount of white that you use because too much white will make it feel heavy and opaque. That is why it needs to be watery.

If you feel that your application is too heavy or there is too much water simply use a rag to dab the surface and pick up some of the colour (or liquid).

I hope this helps. You can also try the following websites for tips, techniques and video demos:

Do you have any suggestions for other Medium that I can use in my Art project?

I have so far used:
Graphite Pencil
Color Pencil
Acrylic Paint
Oil Paints
Soft Pastels
Oil Pastels
White Chalk
Felt Tip Pens
Fumage (smoke)

and I need a few more, but I can’t think of any others. Any suggestions would be great!
Thanks :D
Also, the Art Exam Subject is “Clouds” or “Clouds of Smoke”

Chosen Answer:

Ever try scratchboard? It’s basically paper with a layer of ink on it. And you use an X-acto knife to scrape away the ink, creating a white line. And you scratch images into the ink. It’s wicked fun! To see some examples, go to and do a search for “scratchboard art” and some images and websites will come up. Good luck!