Reply To: What am I doing wrong? Can’t replicate technique!

Not an odd question at all.  Reproducing what works is one of the hardest things to learn about watercolor, I think.

Did you use the same paper, paint and brush? All of those things can make a difference.  Beyond that it is a matter of practice.

Some tips:

Pay attention to how much water you are using – you might even want to use a dropper or spoon to put the water in a dish (not one you’ll want to eat from) or palette in order to control the amount of water you are putting on the paper.  If you mix paint and water, pay attention to whether the mix is watery, creamy or thick.

Also pay attention to the how wet the paper is.  Timing can be critical – is your water puddling, is there a shine on the paper or does it look dry.  Take note of what your paper looks like when your wet-into-wet fails and when it works.  Then the next time, aim to add your paint when the paper looks like it did when it worked.  Temperature and humidity can affect how fast the paper will dry, too.

Some paint pigments EXPLODE on the paper, expanding and traveling almost out of control. Others tend to sit there, no matter how wet the paper is.  Most are somewhere in between.  The way a color reacts can vary from brand to brand, so learn how your particular paints react.

I always think it is a bit like learning to drive.  At first, it seems like you’ll never be able to keep track of everything but after a while, you know what to pay attention to, and hardly realize you are doing it.