5 Step Painting Tutorial: Complete Tutorial for a beautiful Wave Painting

How to paint waves

How to paint the sea and its waves: In this tutorial, you will learn how to use watercolors to paint beautiful waves from a bird’s eye view.

The motif is a bit more abstract, but it lets us see the waves and the beach in a completely new way. The beautiful thing is that this painting approach allows even beginners of watercolor to paint a seascape.

Materials needed

  • Watercolors (blue tones and yellow/ochre)
  • White marker
  • painting paper
  • Masking tape
  • Hair Brush
  • Water in a container
  • Mixing pallet

Most of these materials every watercolor artist should have in his assortment. The white marker is used to draw in the foam of the waves later.

The masking tape is excellent for attaching the painting paper sheet to a solid surface. At the same time, it creates a definite edge around the motif, and you don’t have to worry about keeping to a specific field of painting. After removing the tape, the theme looks neat and professional.

Instructions: How to paint waves with watercolor

Step 1

First, imagine how a bird perceives the sea and the beach when it flies over the landscape. In a top view, the water merges smoothly into the sandy area of the beach.

Step 2

Now prepare your watercolors. It would be best if you used a deep blue for the water and a yellowish ochre for the beach. You can also paint the sea in turquoise if you imagine a scene in the Caribbean or the Maldives.

Important to know: We paint the subject in several layers. Each layer of the water and the beach is painted in one and the same color.

The only difference per layer is that the ratio of pigment to water increases in the color mixture.

This means more paint, less water with each paint layer. The purpose of this layering process is to achieve a depth of color and to indicate the movement of the water.

Step 3

Once you have your colors ready, you can devote yourself to the actual painting. Below you will find four pictures that show you how to apply the different layers.

It is advantageous to take into consideration the movement of waves. By establishing a small gap between the colored areas, you create a solid base which can later be worked out with the white marker.

The lower part of the color in our work has been painted half in a faint blue and half in a soft yellow marker. A subtle effect is created when you paint waves that bleed into the yellow of the sand.

This is what the first layer looks like:

How to paint waves 1

So the second one:

How to paint waves 2

And so the third:

How to paint waves 2.5

Finally, the fourth and last layer of paint:

How to paint waves 3

Step 4

After the fourth layer of paint has dried, we devote ourselves to drawing the waves. This little extra makes the motif come to life.

When drawing the waves, we made sure to bring in a broad crest of the wave, starting at the previously mentioned paint gap. Smaller markings can be drawn on this more extensive white line with the marker.

Asymmetrical semicircular shapes or shapes with frayed corners are perfect for displaying the foaming of the waves.

How to paint waves 4

Step 5

Let all the paint dry and remove the masking tape to reveal your artwork.

How to paint waves
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