WS 17 – Gray Matter: Using gray to tie two contrasting colors in two washes for lively and quick sketching.


Instructor:  Uma Kelkar


This is a workshop that is open to both digital (Procreate app) and watercolor
artists. The key to rapid sketching is reduced decision-making time. For scenes that have clear foreground, middle ground and background, just two washes with two colors are capable of creating a spectrum of value contrast, color contrast and focus. This workshop will teach attendees to use variegated washes as a means of coloring a picture top to bottom, with a distinct aim of speeding up sketching without the end product looking hurried. For the traditional watercolorist, the workshop encourages using the ‘flow’ of watercolors as its strength from top to bottom. For digital artists, knowledge of Procreate (the tool) is assumed, just like we assume the basic use of watercolors for watercolor sketching workshops.

Digital exercises will mirror the exercises with traditional media. Though flow is not the virtue they will use, they will see how having a common color between
a two color recipe works to unify a sketch. Reducing choices of colors works to
speed up sketching, just as it does for watercolorists. Within the Procreate app, blur + alpha lock allows for the same blending effect that watercolorists use when they do variegated washes.

Learning Goals:

At the end of the workshop, sketchers will be able to:

  1. Pick a minimalistic color scheme that uses 2 contrasting colors, while using gray as the uniting color.
  2. See how two washes can actually build a whole picture while building depth.
  3. Feel more relaxed crossing boundaries of distinct shapes with either a traditional or digital brush.

Supply List:


  1. Watercolor paper – 140lb cold pressed. Fine grain preferred over rough.
  2. Choose a brush type that you are used to – the only criterion needs to be that it be big and can carry a lot of pigment. No brushes with water cisterns on the backs of their bodies allowed, as they don’t let us control water as much.
  3. Choose another smaller brush for details.
  4. Wet pigments – meaning pigments used directly from tubes –
    6 tubes are enough to choose from, we will pick 2 color tubes from your set.
  5. Bring a tube of your favorite gray as well. If you don’t own a gray, bring a black + white tube and we will make one to taste.


  1. Charged iPadPro with Apple pencil and latest version of Procreate app installed.