Painting a crashing wave takes a combination of careful planning and fearlessness as you let the paint form the actual wave on your paper.
Don’t expect to get it right the first time (or even the hundredth time!); it’s going to take a lot of practice, and a lot of xperimentation.
Most of the success lies not in how you apply the paint, but when. The wetness of the paper and the colors you use will make all the difference in the world, and there’s s no way to explain how you know when that’s thr right wetness is reached; you simply have to teach yourself through trial and error.
The nice part is that it’s a lot of fun, and it’s impossible to waste your time. If you’re painting, you’re learning something.
Begin by drawing the wave. The crest is going to have a lot of white, because the water is moving fast.
So protect the crest with tape or masking fluid, but try to keep it to a miniumum. The freshest, most realistic water effects are painted with a minimum of fussing.
As a general rule, do your planning in the sketching phase and when it comes time to paint, put down the color and leave it alone.
Once the crest is protected, use a syringe or squeeze bottle filled with blues to squirt the rising water.
Tilt the paper back and forth to get that color to move on the board, and add greens and purples to make grays and different shades of blue in your water. As you squeeze water right under that white crest, tilt the paper towards you and the paint will form a cresting wave all by itself.
Drag the blues down over the sand to continue the wave as it washes against the shore. There are some white edges which you can either avoid or protect with masking fluid, and then the water appears more and more sand-colored as the water thins out and more sand is visible.
To create this effect, you’ll need to add more sandy browns and yellows to the blues as you wash it over the sand. This step is a tricky back and forth process of adding more blues, toning them down with sand, strengthening the water color again and so on until you have a convincing ocean-to-beach gradient of color.
You’ll have to work wet on wet, and if you lose your whites, you can get them back after the paint has dried by lifting them with a damp flat brush.
Let that color dry completely and remove the masking fluid. Then, use a damp angled shader brush to soften the edges and help blend the highlights into the body of the water.
Want To Learn More…
A seascape is a landscape drawing that features the ocean and elements along the shore of the ocean.
Seascapes have been the subject of drawings and paintings for generations but recently it seems to be a hidden gem that is forgotten by budding artists.
Drawing seascapes offer challenges and artistic possibilities that make them ideal subjects for artists of all levels.
Artists who do attempt this form of drawing usually get caught up on focusing on the wrong elements which makes it hard to get a life like portrait.
Once you know the elements that will make or break your seascape you will never look back and will have more confidence in your ability.