Painting- Special Effects & pro tips for more painting fun
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Painting- Special Effects & pro tips for more painting fun

Learn watercolour effects & techniques to make your work stand out. What to use how to do it and where to use it. Easy
4.7 (30 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
1,249 students enrolled
Last updated 11/2016
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Current price: $10 Original price: $45 Discount: 78% off
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  • 2 hours on-demand video
  • 7 Articles
  • 2 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Get more fun and enjoyment out of your painting
  • Make your paintings stand out from the crowd.
  • Give drama to your paintings.
  • Look like you have been painting for years
  • Use common household substances for special effects
  • Use easily available objects to paint with other than brushes
  • Create more realistic images.
View Curriculum
  • Enthusiasm and an open mind
  • The ability to adapt
  • Watercolour paints
  • Watercolour paper
  • Water containers
  • You will also need, cling film, absorbent kitchen paper, palette or dining knife, sponge, feather, stencil, salt , masking tape and fluid.

Updated October 2016

Do you want to take your watercolour painting to a higher level ?

Do you feel that you are a bit stuck ?

Do you want to give your paintings that WOW factor ?

Then this is the course for you.

This course is for anyone interested in starting to paint with watercolours and also for those who are already painting with them but would like to lift their work to the next level.

I'll demonstrate every step of the way, from just using your brushes 'effectively', through to using other tools and substances. This course is a great place to start on your watercolour painting journey and if you are a complete beginner it is a great companion course to my 'Start WATERCOLOUR PAINTING EFFORTLESSLY, play & be creative'

This course is made up of 'easy to follow' videos, demonstrating different effects which you can use. Some techniques use tools other than brushes and some use substances easily available.

Look over my shoulder as I talk about each one and SHOW you how to do them.

Unconditional Udemy 30 day money-back guarantee - that's my personal promise of your enjoyment!

Who is the target audience?
  • A GREAT course for the beginner, as it's ALL PLAY
  • This will help you if you are feeling 'stuck'
  • Maybe you aren't sure what some of your brushes can do
  • Not for the very experienced watercolour painter.
  • Build your confidence by learning something extra.
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Curriculum For This Course
35 Lectures
How to find your way around this Udemy course
1 Lecture 00:00
What are Painting Special Effects
1 Lecture 01:18

A brief introduction to the course outlining what you will learn.

Preview 01:18
Brushes Only and Making Marks
4 Lectures 29:51

As part of the 'brushes only' section, here I show how to literally let your brush do the work. The chisel, or flat brush can give you some great marks if you just use your imagination. Here I show you how to construct a tree to create a peeling bark effect.

The photograph added a a resource shows a section from a painting I did using (in part) this technique.

Preview 04:40

As in lecture 4, 'let your brush do the work.'

Here are a few ideas of different tree and leaf shapes you can paint with this type of brush. Just look around you and see what else this handy little brush could paint for you.

And don't forget to post your finding for the rest of us to enjoy.

RESOURCES - I have added a photograph of a Weeping Willow

Paint grass, leaves foliage and more with the flick of a brush

This demonstration shows you how to load two colours onto a chisel brush. This gives you more options to create different effects.

Resource: Pictures of roof tiles and folk art painting

The picture relating to folk art is taken from the book 'Folk Art Style' by Sybil Edwards

Learn how to double load your brush

Have a play with this wet-and-dry technique and play with different colours and effects.

Paint a basic wood grain effect
Using Masks of different types.
6 Lectures 23:34

Masking tape can be quite helpful to give you a really straight edge, create an interesting pattern or cut a paper one in the shape to suit your needs.

You will need a roll of masking tape, some paper and a pair of scissors

Using MASKING TAPE and a paper mask

A more precise way of masking off areas from your paint.

You will need some masking fluid either in a bottle with a nozzle or in a pot. If you have a pot, use an old brush to apply it. Although if you put soap on your brush first it makes it easier to remover afterwards. Otherwise you could use a cocktail stick or the end of a paint brush. You certainly don't want to spoil a brush.

Masking FLUID

Here is an idea for you. Usually you may be using the masking fluid part way though starting the painting. Here I am starting with the masking fluid and using it as a drawing tool. It's just to show you another thinking process and having fun at the same time.

More clever stuff with masking fluid

A film to give you a few ideas of using masking fluid when you want water effects. Play with it in different ways and create a range of ripples, waves and even waterfalls.

Just play around with it and see what you can come up with. And remember water is often the colour of what it is reflecting.

Resource: A painting I did of the Canal du Midi

Part one, paint water effects

When the fluid is dry you can put on your first layer of paint.

Part two, paint water effects

When the fluid is dry, gently rub it off and make adjustments by adding more paint wherever you think it is needed

Part three, paint water effects
Creating Different Effects by using Tools other than your brushes.
6 Lectures 17:24

The use of a palette knife is usually associated with thick paint such as oil or acrylic paints as you use the khife to spread the paint on the surface and mix colours. However it can be used with watercolour paints to give you some different effects. If you don't have a palette knife, try and ordinary kitchen knife.

You will need a palette knife, kitchen knife or even a stiff peice of card.


When making marks with a paint brush, often people get into a rhythm and tend to create a pattern. This may not be what you want if you are painting a subject from nature. So an object from nature, such as a feather, can give you some super random marks. So next time you are out on a walk and see one, pick it up and keep it with your brushes.

You will need a feather, pretty much any sort, some with spread out differently to others, so just play with it.

Preview 02:21

Most of the time you are learning about how to put the paint onto your paper. Let's not forget that you can get some unusual effects by lifting it off with a variety of different Here are a few. Experiment and tell me what you have used and I'll add it to the course.

You will need some cling film, a natural sponge, some bubble wrap and some absorbent kitchen towel

Lifting Paint OFF

You will need an old toothbrush or a stiff bristle brush that you might use for painting with acrylic paint.

SPLATTERING using an old toothbrush

Splattering through a STENCIL

Simply by spraying some water onto already wet paint can push it around. Try spraying at different angles, close to and further away.

You can also do this to dry paper to prepare it for a wash.

Using a water spray to diffuse the paint
Combining other Substances with your Paints
9 Lectures 34:37

Have another go at using the resist and paint a lemon. It's also a good effect for an avocado, trees and walls.

Paint a lemon with the wax resist

Ordinary table salt can give you some fascinating effects.

You will need some fine table salt.

Using SALT

A 'resist' is something which stops the paint from staying on the paper and so staining the paper with the pigment. The water in the paint mix will not adhere to the was and so is resisted.

You will need a white and clean candle stub.

Using a WAX resist

This video shows you what happens when you drop a liquid called ox gall onto a wet patch of watercolour paint.

Share with other what other effects you create.

Using Ox Gall

Having shown you what effect ox gall has on the watercolour paint this video shows you how I used it to give an interesting effect on a tree,

Why don't you see where you could use it and post your results? I'd like to see what you have discovered.

Painting a tree using ox gall

Less expensive than ox gall it gives a similar effect, if a bit more defined. I will post more showing you where I have used it.

Resource: Photo of samples

Using pure alcohol

Watercolour pencils are a great addition to any painting bag and I recommend them. Buy them either individually or in sets.

You will need a watercolour pencil and a piece of sandpaper or an emery board.

Preview 03:20

So take a look at theses questions and see what you have remembered. And if you want to claim your certificate make sure you tick the complete box at the end of this and each lecture

Watercolour Painting Techniques - Special Effects
4 questions

Let's call them a few TOP TIPS
8 Lectures 09:56

A wordsearch puzzle for your entertainment and further learning.

A Puzzle

The following tips may sound simple, but then again, I don't know what you know, do I ?

Happy Painting, Nicola

Common sense really....but just in case....

This is a nice little trick to have up your sleeve and you never know where it will come in useful. And when you tell people you painted it with a brush, they will be impressed.

You will need a rigid rule and of course a paintbrush

Paint a really straight line with a paint brush

Apart from cutting such a mount in two to use as an adjustable mount to look at your paintings, if it's slightly marked or has more serious are a few ideas to help revive it rather than discard it

Embellishing, or disguising a damaged or marked mount

If you have a mount or matt beyond salvation, cut it in two and use it to look at you work in progress. It helps you take a more objective view.

It will help you not only decide how you might want to frame it, but also to check for any changes you might want to make to the composition or colour values.

Preview 01:40

How to get the paint back in the tube, honestly !

Another little quiz.
3 questions

Just a few words from me to you. love Nicola

In conclusion to this course
About the Instructor
Nicola A Blakemore
4.5 Average rating
377 Reviews
8,958 Students
16 Courses
Professional Artist, Teacher and Creative Entrepreneur

Why choose one of my courses?

Because, as a self taught artist I understand how a lot of people feel about their creative work, sometimes anxious, sometimes overwhelmed and often that it's not 'good enough'.

Well I will hold your hand as you overcome these fears as I offer a friendly, relaxed and sensitive teaching style.

Do one of my courses and you will feel as if I am in the room with you every step of the way.

Here's a bit about me.

I originally trained as a graphic artist, and then followed a different career path working in the national media, travel and public relations in both London and Paris.

After sometime I returned to my creative roots full time, so to speak, and became a full time artist, teacher and creative entrepreneur.

The artist bit means I have worked in a variety of media, but am currently splashing about with watercolours. I love the magic they make when the pigments play with the water. And if you let them do their own thing, it's even better.

I have also painted murals in a child's bedroom or around a swimming pool, covering everything from fairies to Tuscan views. Painted furniture with decorative effects and designs and given walls specialist paint effects and stencils. All fun stuff for the discerning home owner

The teaching bit involved me teaching a 'Decorative Paint Effects' section of an interior design certificate course at Kidderminster College, Worcestershire, UK. Here they studied paint effects for walls and furniture, designing and cutting stencils, Period design elements and produced sample boards.

Then continuing the theme of teaching I have also tutored on many private workshops in the above subjects plus decoupage, gilding and trompe l'oeil (trick the eye painting).

Now, installed in the south of France I continue with all of the above but adding on-line courses to my creative portfolio. Flexibility is the name of the game in today's world

I have exhibited widely in the area.

Recently I was invited to plan and teach a creative summer school, offering a variety of artistic subjects, at one of the leading camping venues in the area. So, you never know some of these subjects might pop up as one of my courses on Udemy

I have had work featured in a national 'lifestyle' magazine and on BBC Radio 4 and Central TV in the UK