Add a bit of colour to your drawings

Monochromatic watercolour study

Adding colour to your drawings can really make them come to life, it gives a very clean and professional yet dynamic finish.

We begin teaching it from the very basics, learning about the different types of brush, colour theory and mixing. We do this so that you grasp the idea from the base up. Knowing about colour theory and how we mix paint can make your watercolours look more professional as you can create hues that best fit your studies.

This then leads on to creating washes and building layers of paint to add tonal aspects to your pieces. You will begin to add colour to your drawings and participate in a number of exercises to help you add a simple wash and bring your watercolours to life.

Student watercolour session painting


Real hair or Synthetic?

The brush we use here at Rowden is the Winsor & Newton Round Kolinsky Sable. We recommend using the real hair brush for painting as this high quality is good for all aspects of watercolour. The real Sable hair means that it can hold on to the water and the pigment extremely well meaning that you can get the full use out of the watercolour. This can really help with adding a wash to your drawings as you can add a clean brush stroke full of colour without having to go back to the palette.

Alongside being able to create washes you can also use the Kolinsky Sable brush for creating a clean edge. When the brush is wet the hair shape looks similar to a teardrop. The point allows you to get close to the edge of your drawings and create an accurate finish.

Synthetic hair is a cheaper alternative to the real hair brush, this can be very attractive for a beginner in painting. It is a very versatile brush but because of the synthetic hair it does not hold onto as much water, making it harder to create the single clean stroke that gives a professional finish. We recommend you use the real hair as you will here at Rowden.

kolinsky sable hair watercolour brushes


You can buy student and artist watercolours. We recommend the more expensive Artist quality as it has more pigment and is quicker to get wet and usable. Then there is the choice between tubes and pans. The pans are widely available (see the illustration below), I would suggest going for the full pan for studio use. The half pan is only good if you are going outside and need a small paint box.

Watercolour sessions whilst you learn to draw


When using watercolour we will need to use a thicker weight of paper than usually needed for drawing. This is because the water will ruin the paper causing thin paper to crinkle or break up. The recommended weight for watercolour is 300 gsm or 140 lb. This paper is thick enough to allow for the watercolour to be able to soak in but keep the fibre of the paper in tact.

Different watercolour paper

Drawing at Rowden Woodworking is what we do but drawing is one of the skills that we aim to acquire whilst we are at Rowden. Drawing is an essential skill that enables us to think in three dimensions, to visualise what we are making. Drawing is important to making and to communication we need to display our ideas, to convince our clients this is what they want to have made.