© John Salmon.

Tutorial 5. The 3 Dimensional Shape.

Don't be misled by this section of the tutorial. I know you very rarely need to paint a bubble or a doughnut, but the point of this tutorial is to show you how you can have superior control over the medium. The way I look at it is this; If you can achieve the impossible then the ordinary techniques will be that much easier. Consider this as an exercise. As they say in industry, " you are sharpening the saw", and Hey! you never know when a bubble may be just the thing to finish off that painting.

Note. I am using black paint for this section because I have noticed that my screen does not show the subtleties of the gradations as well as they look in real life. I can assure anyone that is viewing this on one of those flat LCD type screens or a laptop that the quality would be a lot better if you have access to a good quality, old fashioned monitor.


  • Charger

  • No. 6 ProArte Connoisseur Series 100 Watercolour brush

  • 140lb Bockingford Watercolour Paper

  • Lamp Black Watercolour Paint pan

  • The 3 Dimensional Shape.

    These are easier than you may think. They just take a little practice and a steady hand. I'm assuming you have worked through the previous tutorials so I won't go over old ground. The paper was dampened on the back with a sponge and when it had curled and then uncurled again I started to paint. The first image, reading left to right, was just a painted circle. While the circle was still wet and shiny, I immediately rootcharged the brush and painted another circle inside the previous one and this is the second image. I repeated that once again and you get the third image. I repeated that yet again and got the final image.

    The trick to success with these is to try and aim to use the correct amount of paint before you start. I just tip charged the brush with a tiny amount of paint, rootcharged the brush and started to paint. While you are learning to do these, you may need to adjust the amount of paint on the brush by tip-discharging some colour on some tissue as you proceed, if the colour is not fading as quickly as you would like. As you get more proficient, you will get used to modulating the colour on your brush by charging and discharging like this. It does get easier and you will start to gain more control over this medium.

    But what if I want to show the light coming from the side? That's easy too. Just start painting the shape on the opposite edge to where the light source is coming from. For the above shape, the light source is coming from the right but there was also a small window to the left which has left a reflection on the shape.

    Once again the first image shows the first part of the shape. The second image shows what I painted after rootcharging the brush and painting within the first stroke, and the last image shows how it looked after rootcharging the brush again and just finishing it off.

    Due to the charging process being so quick, you'll find that you will have plenty of time to paint around the reflection and make a reasonably good job of these. These are all shown just slightly smaller than their actual size.

    Once you have mastered the above shapes, you will find the doughnut (toroid) shape to be very easy indeed. Firstly paint a gradated circle. Let it dry. Then paint a reverse gradated circle within it. The reverse gradated circle is done by painting a small circle, rootcharging the brush and painting around the first circle. Rootcharging the brush and repeating until you are painting with clean water. You should know what to do by now.

    If you have managed to work up to this point in the tutorials then well done and congratulations. You are now painting in 3D. If you can paint these shapes than you will be able to paint virtually any shape you want.