Watercolours: Use blank surface at your advantage |TIP66

It was about 4 am, I couldn’t sleep and I bumped on Chanqueen watercolour arts.  I was enjoying looking at her sketches that bring some colourful lights in my head. Her artworks shows different scene of Hong Kong. I really like the way she mix colours and subtly leave blank areas.


I am getting some interest into watercolour, and never really took the time to explore. As I am training at drawing environment recently I guess it’s logic I get more exposed to it. I’ve ordered some books from Amazon US. The shipping take a while to reach my place. Anyway, I’ll tell you more about these when I’ll receive them.

Below some of my first test of watercolours on Photoshop CS6. The effect is not as great as real watercolours. As it doesn’t reproduce the same feel of irregular paper absorption of the colours. Photoshop brushes are by default too clean. For that you need to download extra brushes online.

Take note that Photoshop allows you to make as many attempts as you need. That’s convenient, especially when you explore multiple colour combination. I usually create 1 group of layers for each.

The outlines.

A. First try out of subtle colours.

B. Second try out adding more contrasted colours.

What is quite difficult is actually resisting of the temptation to fill everything. It’s quite important to purposely leave some blank surface in order to make the sketch breathing. It’s not compulsory, but in my opinion it gives visually and emotionally more impact to your sketch. Chanqueen master it quite well. It’s inspiring to look at foreign artist. I’ll try to level up myself. It’s not easy but it’s fun !

Let me know which tryout you prefer A or B ?
See you guys !


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About The Author


Hello! My name is Chou-Tac. I am a Product Designer from France. If the sketching methods I’ve acquired aid me in my life and in my industrial design career, I believe that they can also help you reach your design goal as a student or professional. My aim to help you all along with your design projects and journey. Anytime, feel free to leave a comment in the blog or send me an email at choutac@thedesignsketchbook.com : )


  • Gautam Merwan

    Reply Reply November 20, 2014

    I guess A looks neater and calmer 🙂

    • Chou-Tac Chung

      Reply Reply November 20, 2014

      Oh yeah, calmer. Even if there is the same amount of people, “B” looks more crowded, animated or busy.

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