Andi Taylor in her studio

What you need?

  • Sketch book
  • Pencil and pen
  • Watercolour painting tin and brushes
  • Empty yogurt pots
  • Kitchen roll
  • Salt
  • Soap bar
  • Plastic fruit netting
  • Oil pastels


As you work through the following exercises in your sketch books, remember to annotate your experimentation.


1. Colour Wheel

  1. Draw a circle onto your page and then mark off segments like a clock.
  2. Using your watercolour tin and (have two tubs of water to hand for when one gets a bit grubby!!) start to paint in the primary colours.
  3. Red at 12 o’clock.
  4. Blue at 4 o’clock.
  5. Yellow at 8 o’clock.
  6. Now the secondary colours, mix red and blue together in your lid to make purple.
  7. Purple at 2 o’clock.
  8. Green at 6 o’clock (blue & yellow).
  9. Orange at 10 o’clock (yellow & red).
  10. Finally the tertiary colours.
  11. Make the purple again and this time add more red to make a red-purple at 1 o’clock.
  12. Now add more blue to the purple to get a blue-purple at 3 o’clock.
  13. To the green add more blue to get a blue-green at 5 o’clock.
  14. Now add more yellow to the green to get a yellow-green at 7 o’clock.
  15. To the orange add more yellow and get a yellow-orange at 9 o’clock.
  16. Now add more red to the orange to get a red-orange at 11 o’clock.


2. Complimentary Colours

Colours that lie diagonally opposite each in the colour wheel are called complementary colours. They have the most contrast when painted next to each other.

Experiment and paint colour patches of the following complimentary colours.

  • Red and green.
  • Orange and blue.
  • Yellow and purple.


Complimentary colours are also good to darken a colour instead of using black which can deaden a colour.


3. Shades Of Blue

Let’s make as many blues as we can. Start with white and then add a tiny bit of blue, gradually getting darker until you have the pure blue. Then start with blue and a tiny touch of orange, gradually adding more.


4. Washes

Experiment with the following techniques to get different effects.

  1. Paint a patch of blue onto your dry page.
  2. With a clean brush, paint a patch of water and then add paint - notice the difference.
  3. Wet paper again, this time add small blobs of colour.
  4. Wet paper again, now add two colours.
  5. Start with a dark wash, add more water to get lighter – a graded wash.
  6. Try the graded wash with two colours.


5. Lifting Out

Before paint dries in your wash you can lift paint out to get different effects, try these…

  1. A scrunched up kitchen roll.
  2. An eco-cotton bud.
  3. A clean brush.
  4. Plastic fruit netting.


6. Special Effects

  1. Paint a patch of colour fairly watery, one or two colours and then sprinkle over with salt, the salt will soak up the colour and will leave a grainy effect when it dries.
  2. Dip your brush into the watercolour paint and then move the bristles around an old soap block, paint this directly onto the paper in wavy lines and then add another colour. The soap helps the marks made by the paintbrush.


7. Book Making

Watch the video and make yourself a folded origami book! Using the ideas above to paint your pages, leave them to dry and then glue them together. These books would be a great place to collate together facts and drawings about the river in Ethiopia that is to be studied in the next phase.

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