Dosage (Water Control) 101

The most important key to getting the results you want in watercolor is understanding how water interacts with your paint. More or less water can completely transform your results. So it’s important to understand how much water you’re adding, and where you’re adding it. In this post, I’ll tell you as much as I’ve learned so far about this skill – although ultimately it’s one of those things where you just have to get your brush wet and get a feel for it!

A note on terminology: Most people call this skill “water control.” Personally, I’ve been trying to get away from the language of power and control when I talk about watercolor. I don’t like to feel adversarial with the materials, as if I’m struggling with them or subduing them. I prefer to think of water as my collaborator. After all, I am asking it to do some of the work and add its own creativity! So I’ve decided that when I refer to the amount of water you add to your painting, I will use the word I heard used for it in French language Youtube videos, dosage. (French accent optional.)

There are three places you can put more or less water to change your results: in the paint, on the paper, or on the brush.

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