Textures in Watercolor: Monster & Contrasting Colors

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Dropping rubbing alcohol on wet watercolor produces unusual textures in watercolor which reminds me of spots on a monster.  Students will love experimenting with this art technique and seeing the unexpected results!
In addition, using contrasting colors on a monster drawing is a fun way to practice using color theory.  

 

Monster Drawing & Contrasting Colors

I used Expressive Monkey’s How To Draw Monsters to come up with a monster drawing.  I used the Contrasting Colors lesson to come up with 2 contrasting colors.  In this example I’m using red and green for my monster.  Red and green are contrasting colors because they are color opposites or color complements on the color wheel.  Therefore they are across from each other and when used side-by-side, they make each other look brighter. 

 
Contrasting Colored Monster - Use monsters and this watercolor & alcohol technique to teach about contrasting colors.  Color Complements - Color Art Lesson Idea - Painted Monster Lesson
 
 
 

The Magic of Oil Pastels

 
Using oil pastels, I colored in the smaller area, like the eyes, nose, and stripes.  I even used a white oil pastel to color in the white of they eyes.  I did this for a couple reasons.  I need to paint quickly so that I can apply the alcohol technique before the paint dries. Because of that, coloring small areas like the stripes or nose will allow me to paint over them quickly. The oil pastel will resist the watercolor and allow it to show through the paint.  In addition, I used oil pastel over the Sharpie marker outline.  Likewise, I did this was to protect the marker from the alcohol & watercolor.  When using alcohol to create textures in watercolor, alcohol will cause the marker to bleed and spread out, which might not look the best for this project.  
 
 
The finished line drawing of a monster with oil pastel outline
 
 
 
 

Mixing Colors on the Paper

 
layering green paint over the yellow to make a lime green monster
 

 

Using a Variety of Colors

To create a light green color for the body of the monster, I painted the paper yellow first to make the green more of a yellow-green, which is a little lighter and brighter.  Notice I’m also using red AND pink.  Pink is just a light red.  I like using tints and shades of color complements to give my art more variety.
 
 
 

Textures in Watercolor with Alcohol

 
using an eyedropper to drop rubbing alcohol on the green watercolor to make textures in watercolor
 
 
Finally, we get to the really fun part!  While the paint is still wet, I’m using an eye dropper to drop small drops of alcohol in the wet green paint.  There is a little spot on the shoulder where the alcohol leaked out and caused the black Sharpie marker outline to bleed just a little. (In case you are wondering what that might look like.) 
 
 
 
 

Using a Q-tip for Textures in Watercolor

 
adding smaller textures in the green watercolor with a q-tip
 
 
 
 

 Tip for Your Littles

For a more controlled application of alcohol, which would be best for the younger student, just use a very small cup of alcohol and Q-tips.  It only takes a tiny amount of alcohol to make this work, and once the Q-tip is wet with alcohol, you can dab it many times. So 1oz of alcohol would go a loooong way.  
 
adding textures in the red watercolor on the feet with a q-tip
 

 

The Finished Monster!

the finished monster with red and green textures in watercolor
 
 
You can find the How to Draw Monsters lesson in my TpT store or website store.

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Stacey Peters

Stacey Peters

I create engaging drawing resources that help students build confidence and express themselves through art. I'm a former elementary art teacher of 25 years turned business owner. Giving you the tools you need to bring more drawing into your classroom brings me joy.

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