GUEST ARTIST: “Dripped In Watercolor” by Ruchika Juneja

My name is Ruchika Juneja. I love travel sketching and have been doing it for quite some time now. Whenever I travel, creating what I see in my notebook gives me a sense of accomplishment. I could re-live that moment whenever I want and a sense of emotion gets attached to that.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Ruchika Juneja - Doodlewash

I started my journey in art three years back in India. I started with sketching with black pen and couldn’t sketch that good. I was told by my aunt, who is an artist, to always keep a pen and a notebook with me. And make a habit of capturing my experiences with pen and paper.

Initially, I found it tough and boring. It was very difficult to capture what I see. The question was always “where do I start?” My initial scribblings looked rough but over time it improved. I could see how I was able to capture the emotion and energy implicitly of the object or scene. The key was to observe.

At this point, I was still scared to touch watercolors. I had a little experience in acrylics, but I had never explored them in detail. I guess I was overwhelmed with so many options and concepts; I was scared to start lest it might hinder my creative process. Pencils or pens were simpler.

I took a leap of faith, a year into my sketching; I bought a set of 24 colors and started using them in my travel sketches. Colors put life and soul in sketches. The more sketches I made with watercolors, the more I was drawn towards them.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Ruchika Juneja - Doodlewash

Their transparency and vibrancy used to entice me. It pushed me to understand the concepts of primary colors and complementary colors. I continued using the 24-color set and exploring the concepts of sketching.

Some things that I found were:

  1. Always look for bigger shapes, then seeing the intricacies

  2. Try to focus on where the light is coming from on the object

  3. Mark the shadows as that gives a form to the sketch

  4. Look more on the object than on the sketchbook

  5. Always make a 5min small-study sketch before you hop on to create the actual drawing

Watercolors were still a big challenge for me and somewhere in my head I wanted to conquer it. I started with taking a basic course on Craftsy and got the hang of limited pallet, which I still work with. As sketching was now not an issue, I started focusing on getting the concepts of watercolor right. I mostly used to paint very tightly, using the layering technique. I created many pieces using the same technique and copied many scenes from photos.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Ruchika Juneja - Doodlewash

The learnings here were:

  1. Use a limited pallet in the start than exposing yourself to unlimited amount of colors and shades ( I work with French ultramarine, pthalo blue, permanent alizarin crimson, pyroll scarlet, indian yellow and lemon yellow, burnt sienna)

    #WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Ruchika Juneja - Doodlewash

  2. Try to play with water colors and let it take its course

  3. Use good quality colors, paper and brushes to get the desired results (I recommend Daniel Smith extra fine watercolors)

  4. Always make a black and white study sketch to mark the lights and darks of the sketch

  5. Make a color chart for that specific sketch to understand the types of mixes you have to use in the sketch

It has been just a year and a half of my journey with watercolors; they taught me to let go, to be more patient, to expect the unexpected and move on. Every time I worked on a piece, I discover something new and miraculous.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Ruchika Juneja - Doodlewash

I have worked in acrylics before and I am going to Angel Art Academy, Florence next year to study painting in oils. But watercolors will always be close to my heart and I will continue to explore and experiment with them.

Ruchika Juneja

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25 thoughts on “GUEST ARTIST: “Dripped In Watercolor” by Ruchika Juneja

  1. Thanks for sharing your watercolor journey. I like your tips and also believe you need to play with the paints as they help you relax and enjoy the process. Have fun!

  2. Always love your paintings and use of subtle colors which reflect the natural beauty of your environment. Thank you for wonderful insights you provided in this blog. Looking forward to many such articles like these.

  3. I love your advice about starting out with a limited palette and wish I’d found it before I dove in a few years ago. (I thought I needed All The Colors, which probably made learning much harder since I had to navigate not only the ins and outs of watercolor in general, but the properties of each of the paints, too. Ah, hindsight. It is 20/20.)

    (To be fair, too, I still have the ALL THE PAINTS urge. It may just be inherent in my character. :D)

    Love your work!

  4. I began with oils, then went to watercolours. You’re doing the opposite. You’ll notice a big difference in the handling of the paint, but what fun you’ll have in Florence! Thanks for sharing your story.

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