How to Emulate Rain With Water Colors

Written by leslie rose
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How to Emulate Rain With Water Colors
Use a wet-on-wet paint technique to imply a dripping atmosphere. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

It's very difficult to paint actual drops of rain on a watercolour image. Some artists even make paintings of rainy days without actually painting drops of rain. There are many ways to imply rain, using colour and technique, without painting one little drop of rain after another. Or, if you still wish to paint the drops of rain from the sky, this can be achieved after the painting has dried using a detail brush.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Watercolour paint
  • Watercolour paper
  • Sponge
  • Paintbrush

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  1. 1

    Mix your paints to create rainy, atmospheric colours. This will primarily be blues, purples and greys. Paint dark skies and dark wet patches on the ground. Mix other colours that you want to include in the painting with shades of blue and grey; this will create an overall cool-toned colour effect.

  2. 2

    Paint with a "wet on wet" technique to create a watery atmosphere. Dab the paper with a wet sponge before beginning your painting. This will encourage the paint to bleed over the painting as you work.

  3. 3

    Splatter small drops of blue or grey paint onto the paper to reinforce the idea of water splattering and falling from the sky. Do this by dipping your paintbrush in paint, then shaking the paintbrush over the paper. Test this method on a piece of scrap paper before doing it on your painted image.

  4. 4

    Paint tiny drops of water from the sky using a detail brush. This should be done after the rest of the painting has dried. Paint the rain in a medium blue-grey or blue-brown colour. Use the detail brush to paint streaks evenly dispersed over the lighter background. The streaks should be slanting all in the same direction, to show that the rain is blowing in a steady wind. If you intend to show there is no wind, the streaks should be oriented straight up and down.

Tips and warnings

  • Paint figures holding rain accessories--umbrellas, rain coats, rain boots.
  • Title your painting something that implies rain, such as "New York In Rain" or "Rainy Day."

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