watercolor tutorial quick figure sketching pj cook artist

Painting quick figures in watercolor is a great way to improve your painting skills. I painted the father and 2 boys from a quick sketch done on location and photos that I took at the scene. I sometimes just use the back of old watercolor paintings or any scraps of paper. When you use scraps of used watercolor paper there is less pressure to paint a work of art. In your mind you may think “this is just a cheap piece of paper, no worries” and you are less apt to overwork the figures. With my illustration background I tend to work in a tighter, between the lines style. To loosen up and create more movement I paint these quick figures in watercolor.

Figures In Watercolor


In the photo above you can see my pencil sketch that I did on the paper. The 3 figures were all looking and pointing at kitesurfers that were preparing their boards at the local beach. We have been having a lot of wind lately so the kitesurfers have been out often. These 3 figures were walking in the surf and there was strong shadows. I used the angle of the beach and direction that they were walking as a diagonal line to create motion.

I painted quickly and tried not to draw or paint too many details. I used strong color and value on the quick figures and in the shadows. Lastly I used a spatter technique to add interest to the painting. I will probably paint this trio again for practice. Try painting these quick figures in watercolor to improve your work and create more dynamic paintings.