U.S Art Supply | Watercoloring and Airbrushing the Perfect Wave — U.S. Art Supply

The Perfect Wave

Type: Watercolor
Difficulty: Medium
The Perfect Wave

When I get anxiety from everyday stress, there’s no other therapy better that surfing. When I am not surfing, I am dreaming about or painting waves. This is a fun watercolor project using masking fluid and an airbrush which will make you either want to paint waves or learn to surf. Let’s Get to It!

What You'll Need

Watercolor Paint

  • Cerulean Blue
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Pale Blue
  • White

Other Supplies

  • Watercolor Paper
  • Masking Fluid
  • Cotton Swab
  • Watercolor Brushes
  • Airbrush (Optional)
  • White Airbrush Paint (Optional)

Step 1: Apply Masking Fluid

To start, you will need to use liquid masking fluid to mask off the white water of the wave before adding any watercolor to the paper. You can apply this with a cotton swab or the other end of a paintbrush.

Step 2: Cerulean Blue for Sky

Now that the masking fluid is dry, you can apply a nice and wet wash layer of Cerulean Blue for the sky and background.

Step 3: Ultramarine Blue Waves

When the background sky is dry, you can go right on into the wave using Ultramarine blue. Make sure to paint right over the liquid masking fluid and allow the watercolor to do its magic.

Step 4: Side to Side for Water Ripples

Continue onto the foreground water moving from side to side, creating horizontal water ripples. Add water to the paper prior to color for blending effects.

Step 5: Blue Detailing

Water is actually only reflecting the blue sky, and when it does this, there can be millions of shades of blue in the water. Now, add touches of Pale Blue over the masking fluid and touches of the color to accentuate the Ultramarine blue.

Step 6: Remove Masking Fluid

Using your finger, gently rub off the masking fluid, revealing the white paper underneath. You can begin adding white paint to the white water, accentuating it.

Step 7: Add White Water

Now, where there is white water, there will be reflections of it in the water. Using the white paint, begin to create reflections in the foreground water. This really makes the water dance.

(Optional Step): Airbrush Details

I am finding the best way to get realistic mist or spray from a wave, is to use an airbrush. This gives the wave lots of motion and direction. If you have never airbrushed, I suggest getting one as it is an indispensable tool allowing you to shade and blend like no other!

Thanks for creating with me today and join us again for another fun U.S. Art Supply tutorial.

Previous article Oil Painting and Airbrush Landscapes
Next article DIY Pho Valentine's Day Card