Watercolor Paint Consistency Scales, Ranked

Photo by Eiliv Aceron on Unsplash

Describing paint consistency is a continuing challenge for watercolor teachers. Paint consistency has a huge impact on the appearance of a watercolor painting, so it’s a big deal topic. Fresh-from-tube paint brushes onto the page totally differently from half-diluted paint, which is also totally different from watery paint (or painty water). Experienced artists can tell when their paint is the right consistency for the effect they want, but newbies don’t have that context, and it’s hard to communicate verbally. Many artists use analogies to other substances. I personally had an a-ha moment when Ruth Wilshaw likened gouache at a “sweet spot” consistency to slippery dish soap.

Let’s take a look at other ways artists describe paint consistency.

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