How to make watercolor SPLATTERS!! (Video demo and advices)

For a long time, I didn’t know exactly how to create these fun gorgeous splatters I liked on other sketchers work. Often, it didn’t work, or the splatters were too small or too light!… 😓 


Now that I started to figure out how to create it properly and that I even started to distinguish various ways of splattering which produce various effects, I thought I would like to share my new knowledge (and skills) with you. 😊 

Maybe, you have the same issues than me with splatters or you don’t know how to do it? 


So, please watch this fun short video showing 3 different ways of splattering! I hope you will like it. ☺️

Here are a few more advices for your splatters.

  • Splattering is more difficult with a floppy brush. Use a stiffer one if it seems difficult.
  • Once again, splattering uses A LOT of paint and water!! Use a fully load brush for successful results!
  • If your splatters are too light once dry, it means you need to use more paint, more pigment. I guess it would be difficult to get enough paint with dry pans… Maybe, you should try to buy a few tubes with juicy watercolor in, it if you have only pans? ☺️
  • If your splatters are too small, use more water and more pigment, and/or try the “shake” way. It is the less precise one but it creates the bigger splatters.
  • If you want to add splatters in a precise way on your sketch, choose the “tap” or the “rub” way. Put the brush close to the paper to enhance the accuracy! You can protect a part of your sketch you don’t want the splatters to go on with your hand or a piece of scrap paper, if you feel you need too.
  • If a splatter doesn’t fall on the right spot, use right away a piece of tissue to absorb and delete it!
  • Don’t forget that you can also splatter just some water on a still wet watercolor wash to create really fun effects! 😛 You can also splatter some colors in a wash of another hue, wet or dry, for even more fun!! 😝


I like to use splatters on many sketches, for numerous subjects but I think they are especially useful for trees or shrubs, juicy subjects, or textures like concrete or sand… 

 Here, can you see where I used brushstrokes and where they are splatters? Search for the circular shapes! 😉


I am sure you could be able to guess which splattering way I used in each of this article sketches! 😜

Do you like to use splatters too? Do you use a different way than mines to do it? 😊 Please tell us your splatters stories!! 😁 😉

I wish you a creative week end! 🎉

    15 thoughts on “How to make watercolor SPLATTERS!! (Video demo and advices)

      • M L, thanks for the tip! That’s true that a toothbrush has with stiff hair.

        I don’t have one because I already have many brushes in my creative bags (I have a hard store bristle brush so I guess I could use it for splatters too) but it’s a good tip.
        I think the drops are really small with a toothbrush? 🙂

    1. 1. A toothbrush, because it is stiffer and you can direct the splatter more easily.
      2. A tea strainer. Load with pigment and then blow through it
      3. This next one is not a splatter, but is fun anyway. Drop a blob of pigment on the page then use a straw to blow the paint in various directions. Makes excellent abstract shapes. Works well with inks.

      • Oh that’s so amazing that you share your tips, too, Tony! Thank you!! 😀

        The problem for me is always preventing my bag to become too heavy, and tying not to put too much stuff in it but your tips with a creative use of some objects can be really useful for at home painting! 🙂

    2. Sometimes spattering can be developed into a wash. Create foliage by spattering three colours (eg. yellow, blue, b. sienna), then with the tip of the brush join up some of the spatters, blending the colours a bit, while leaving others untouched.

      • Yeah, really great too! Thank you for sharing!

        Even without linking the drops with the brush, a lot of splattering can be great for random washes.

        I sometimes use this technique to create a sort of “variegated edge” for my backgrounds. The background wash ends up with these random spots and dots… That’s fun and really dynamic! 🙂

    3. Hi Anne-Laure. I discovered your blog through Marc Taro Holmes. I love your bright colors and your fresh approach to sketching. I’m hoping to learn a lot from you and will spend a good part of this rainy day reading your blog and watching your videos, starting with SPLATTERING! Thank you.

      • Thank you so much for your kind comment, Cathy!! I am really happy to be able to lighten a bit you rainy day with my colors! Let’s go for some colorful rain of watercolor paint, then! 🙂

        I really appreciated, too, that you feel my way of sketching is fresh. I always try to keep up with the spontaneity and freshness of watercolor (I guess you read my article about how to achieve fresh watercolors by now! 😉 ).

        Btw, thank you for following the link on Marc blog until mine. Wouldn’t you like to go sketching in India?! It would be so amazing!!
        Can you imagine all the colors I am going to splatter there?!!!! 😀

        • Hi again Anne-Laure. I enjoyed reading your tips-they are very helpful! I also read the comments on that post and I, too would love to sit beside you and learn all that I could. I over-work my sketches and have to be very careful to leave the white of the page. I’m thinking of having a sticky note on my sketchbook to remind me of that and other things!

          India would be amazing but this year I will spend my summer holiday money going to Sketch It On Paris and then to USk Manchester 2016. Will you be at the symposium?

          • Cathy,

            Yes, I will be in Manchester too! It will be so great to meet you! 😀
            We will have to share our emails and search for a way to fond each other, won’t we?!

            These are really greats projects too.
            But India is only in February 2017 so, maybe, another year, another sketching holiday?!

            It’s always so difficult to be able to stop soon enough!
            For the sketches I made of Indian subjects from photos, for example, I tried to keep it loose and quick but I sometimes kept an intermediate version I shot for the article because it was more fresh, better (in my taste) than the final one.
            (However, I think that people like my more tidy sketches a bit better, I don’t know…)

            Don’t you think we overwork because a lack of confidence?! I mean, it’s so difficult to think that the watercolor scribble we just made is a good sketch!! So we add some things because we think that more time spent mean more implication to the sketch and more quality!
            It’s a bit the same issue than saying : ” Oh yeah, I spent 10 mn to make this watercolor. I will sell it to you for 500 €”. That’s a shame because I am sure that a lot of quick sketches of good painters are more valuable than some tedious paintings an artist spent many hours on!
            The same way, I realize that it’s difficult to “sell to ourselves” the idea that, yes, we only spent 10 mn sketching this but it’s enough. More will be too much.

            I don’t know why I am sharing all that strange thoughts!!!

            Btw, the next article about my trip in Portugal will be about these quick sketches, done within 10mn or less. 😉
            When you jump for a quick sketch, knowing that the bus will leave 10 mn later, it helps to loosen up!!!

            • Hi Anne-Laure. Yes to sharing emails so we can meet! I’m very excited. Thank you for your thoughts! I find the less worry I have about how a sketch will come out the better it is. In fact, some of my best ones are on scrap paper. I look forward to your next article.

      • This is SO awesome!!!
        Your video are really helpful. And boy have I love the freshness and ditto music. Very prof!
        How about trying to use your little mist bottle? Would that do? Love Pernille

        • Pernille,

          Thank you very much! It made really happy to know that you liked my video so much. 😀
          Did you tried some splatters on your sketches?! 😉

          Yes, the mist bottle can be great too but the effect is really different. Really misty, lol !!
          Some painters use the misty bottle a bit far from their work to rewet the paper, too, when they are working wet in wet.

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    5. Wow. Just fond yr video. I’ve done a bit of splatter but yr video has inspired me particularly as I want to improve my backgrounds. Guess u live in USA, I’m in UK

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