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Turn a Digital Photo Print into a Beautiful Watercolor (using water)
It's easy to get a unique and beautiful artistic effect on a digital printout with this technique. I call this technique "reverse painting" because instead of painting color onto the paper, you are instead selectively lifting it off and allowing it to remix or reflow. You are controlling how this happens with your brush and water.
This allows you to create beautiful and interesting effects. For example, you can "paint" water onto the photo, and the photo's ink layers will come apart and away as though the water is diffusing the photo itself.
You can selectively lift away unwanted colors or areas (removing the ink entirely), or you can diffuse them to effectively turn your photo into a watercolor painting.
All you need to do this is some inkjet photo printouts on glossy paper (the cheaper kinds seem to work better), a paintbrush, paper towels, and some water.
Why It Works
Glossy photo paper is a little like the back of a postage stamp. If you wet your fingertip and touch the paper, you'll find that it sticks.
Now, while the ink that the photo image consists of isn't necessarily water-soluble, the paper and that back-of-postage-stamp binding agent is.
This is why we can apply water selectively with a paintbrush to loosen, diffuse, and lift/wash away sections and layers of the printed photo.
In my tests, cheap photo paper ("Likon" 20-pack from the 1$ store) seems to work better then the more expensive kinds (such as HP Photo Print).
Some Techniques to Try
Here are a few things I have tried. I encourage you to try your own experiments and put your own twists on things!These are some effects to obtain using this "reverse-painting" concept:
Eraser: Successive passes with a lightly-watered brush will
gradually remove color and expose the white photo paper beneath.
(I decided on the term "reverse painting" based on
noticing this effect in particular.)
This does a very light soften/blend effect. This is very touchy
and similar to The Eraser, but to do it you use just a little more
water and a little less motion than for The Eraser. You need to
stop before you actually lift away any ink. This is tricky because
when ink lifts away, it happens all at once, and when exactly that
occurs depends on the ink density and the paper quality.
Applying water onto a region of the photo, then soaking up
the water (or wiping it away) with a paper towel gives a "sanding
away" effect - similar to removing layers of paint with paint
thinner. Allowing the water to soak a little (or a lot) before
soaking it up or wiping it away can result in different effects,
depending on your technique and the nature of your photo and the
paper it's printed on.
Have fun and don't be afraid to try something new, practice makes perfect.
Don't forget to have a look at my other projects while you're here!
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