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Tips for painting BIG in watercolour

Painting a big Hollyhock
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My recent Hollyhock painting got lots of attention, much of which was due to the the large scale I painted it at.

And it also led to lots of questions about how to paint at this bigger scale and still get super detailed, realistic results.

It can be easy to assume it requires special equipment and techniques, but in this video I show you that that’s NOT the case – all you need is some bigger paper (or as I used, illustration board – details below).

And I run you through the stages I painted the Hollyhock in:

I hope this inspires you to GO BIG this weekend!

Happy painting,

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24 Comments
  1. Karen 2 months ago

    Anna, thank you for the tips for painting big. I wondered though, how did you get your detailed drawing? How did you scale up your drawing?

    • Profile photo of Anna Mason Author
      Anna Mason 2 months ago

      Hi Karen, these days I have a projector I use (by Artograph) but in the past I just worked out a scale and measured key points in my photo with a ruler, then did my sums and scaled up to my paper. You could use a grid technique also.

  2. Maysoon Aldoori 2 months ago

    Hi Anna
    First please accept my heart felt congratulations on the happy event of soon becoming a mum. I hope all goes well with you and the coming baby
    I loved this painting so much and will definitely go big in water colours. I have done so with oils to great success. So many thanks for sharing your work and I look forwards to receiving more

  3. Brenda Clague 2 months ago

    Brilliant painting, thanks for explaining how it developed.

  4. Dora Brown 2 months ago

    Hi Anna,

    Could you please give more details as to the Illustration Board that you are using? Jackson’s has various.

    Thank you,

    Dora

    • Profile photo of Anna Mason Author
      Anna Mason 2 months ago

      The link is on this page in the blog post – it’s the vellum finish one at 20 x 3p inch.

  5. Lilia 2 months ago

    That was truly great to watch. The painting is GORGEOUS!!! I’m so glad you got to it and completed it! Thanks ever so much for sharing with us and teaching us to paint in watercolor in a realistic manner.

  6. Profile photo of Rosalie Roscoe
    Rosalie Roscoe 2 months ago

    Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed watching the different stages of the Hollyhocks. The colors are beautiful. I do enjoy listening to explain what you have done and why.

  7. Profile photo of Susan Hall
    Susan Hall 2 months ago

    Most inspiring Anna. I hope you are having that well earned break.
    As I’m travelling to the Uk in a few weeks, is your studio. Open to the public at all? It would be great to visit if we are anywhere near your part of the world.

  8. marie 2 months ago

    Such a beautiful, detailed painting! Thks for sharing! You have a natural gift for knowing what colours & tones to use in all your paintings!

  9. Elizabeth B 2 months ago

    You are truly amazing! Thank you for teaching, I knew I wanted to paint with watercolor..Somehow I did not connect with other techniques. When I saw the detailed way you paint and your willingness to share, while being kind and encouraging….I knew I had found my teacher! Thank you! It means the world to me…

  10. Profile photo of Barbara Harness
    Barbara Harness 2 months ago

    Is illustration board just like Hot Press paper?

    • Profile photo of Anna Mason Author
      Anna Mason 2 months ago

      Yes the surface is very similar but it keeps totally rigid so is great for working larger – no risk of wrinkles!

  11. Celia Foster 2 months ago

    You are an amazing watercolor artist. The Hollyhock painting is amazing!

  12. Gabriella Henderson 2 months ago

    Thank you Anna. I was interested in trying a larger painting. Thanks for the tips.

  13. Mary Ann Russo 2 months ago

    Thank you for sharing. Beautiful painting. I’m a huge fan.

  14. Profile photo of Cecilia Garrec
    Cecilia Garrec 2 months ago

    So knowledgeable and ADORABLE! Thanks Anna for all that you do!!!

  15. Profile photo of Christine Drew
    Christine Drew 2 months ago

    Really inspiring, thank you so much for sharing x

  16. Profile photo of Mikaela Spadafora
    Mikaela Spadafora 2 months ago

    Thanks for sharing Anna! I’ve always wondered how you tackled big subjects so beautifully. Exquisite job, as always:-)

  17. Profile photo of Loretta Breier
    Loretta Breier 2 months ago

    Oh my goodness, your hollyhock painting is absolutely, wonderfully, beautiful! What magnificent talent you have!

  18. Profile photo of June Mitchell
    June Mitchell 2 months ago

    Fabulous painting xxx thank you for sharing your technique with large paintings

  19. Profile photo of Cynthia Lane
    Cynthia Lane 2 months ago

    Amazing, beautiful painting! I am so inspired to paint large using your technique Anna!

  20. Firuse Stalcup 2 months ago

    Dear Ann,
    Congratulations on becoming a mum soon. The best gift in the world.
    Thank you for being so generous sharing your talent with us. I am enjoying your book very much.

  21. Luz Eugenia Bacca 1 month ago

    Gracias maestra por compartir su talento

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