Postcard Paint-Along: Crashing Surf

Learn how to create the effect of big waves crashing against rocks, and also an easy way to add small figures to your postcards for scale and interest (no drawing ability required!).

22 min.

Reference photos and sketch:

Supplies for postcard paint-alongs:

  • watercolor paper, about 4×6″ (10×15 cm)
    • Size is not terribly important as far as the painting techniques shown; check postal size regulations in your area if you intend to mail it. 
    • I cut up scraps of watercolor paper left over from larger paintings. Brand doesn’t matter. 100% cotton paper is generally easier to work with, but postcards can be a good place to use up cheaper papers, too. Pre-cut watercolor postcards are usually student-grade paper. Use what you have. 
  • painting support—I like to tape the paper down so it doesn’t slide around; I’m using a piece of cardboard, covered with clear packing tape (instructions here); a plastic clipboard or cutting board also works well. Or a scrap piece of plexiglas.
  • watercolor brush—a round brush, size 8-16 recommended; it’s harder with smaller brushes since they don’t carry as much water (The brush I am using is a size 12 Escoda Prado travel brush. Note: Travel brushes are typically considerably more expensive than the same brush in a non-travel version. You might prefer to buy a brush carrier and regular brushes. You can probably find a zippered folding brush carrier that will stand up and serve as a brush holder for $10-20. I like the ones with ventilation holes to help the brushes dry faster.
  • watercolor paints — 
    • Any kind of watercolor paints are fine—it’s a postcard! Even kids’ paints work. They will fade more quickly than regular watercolors, but you can still learn. Don’t get hung up on using the same colors I’m using. I may have mis-indentified the colors in the video, anyway. I refilled my palette with whatever I could find as I traveled. 
    • In this video, I’m using (if I remember correctly!)
      • M. Graham ultramarine blue
      • M. Graham burnt umber

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