ZenART's Membership Plans Terms & Conditions

(Updates effective 17/08/2020)

These terms and conditions (“Terms and Conditions”) govern the ZenART Supplies Rewards & Referral Plan as well as Subscribe & Save Plan (“Membership Plans”), and members of the programs will earn zen coins in connection with the purchase of qualifying online products and online activities that are redeemable towards the purchase of certain products online. For the re-occurring members (Subscribe & Save Plan) this includes exclusive gifts & content.


  • Free. No purchase is necessary to obtain membership in the Rewards & Referral Program, but you must establish an account at https://shop.zenartsupplies.co/account/register . Please see our privacy policy, located here, to understand how information you provide us will be used. This program is void where prohibited.
  • Eligibility. In order to be eligible for the Rewards & Referral Program, you must create an account as outlined in these Terms and Conditions. You may create an account if you are at least seventeen (17) years of age, have Internet access, and have a valid mailing address. If you are between the ages of 17 and 18, you must have your parent’s permission to register for an account. If you choose to create an account, you are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your account, username and password and for restricting access to your account. You are responsible for keeping such information current, complete, accurate and truthful. You agree to accept responsibility for all activities that occur under your account, username and/or password. You agree to provide only current, complete, accurate and truthful information. If you are accessing and using the Site on someone else’s behalf, you represent that you have the authority to bind that person as the principal to all Terms and Conditions provided herein, and to the extent you do not have such authority you agree to be bound to these Terms and Conditions and to accept liability for harm caused by any wrongful use of the Site or Content resulting from such access or use. You may only have one member account per natural person. Persons who are discovered to have more than one account forfeit their zen coins and will be unsubscribed from the Loyalty Program.
  • How To Enroll in the Rewards & Referral Program. (a) Create an account: Visit www.zenartsupplies.com (the "Site" or "Online") and become a registered user of the Site. Click here to be taken directly to the registration page. You will be asked for your first and last name, your email address, and a password. You will also be given the option to sign up for our newsletter. Once you have submitted the requisite information, you will be sent an email to the address you listed confirming your membership. Once you have confirmed your email address, you are automatically enrolled in the Reward & Referral Program and are a member (“Member”).
  • How to Access/Change Your Member Information. You must keep your personal information on your Account up-to-date. To do so, click on the "My Account" section and access your account by entering your registered email address and current password. From your dashboard you can access your account information; review your current and past orders; change your profile; manage your subscriptions and applications, and access your previous purchases.
  • How to Cancel Your Membership. You may cancel an account at any time. To cancel your account, please send an email to support@zenartsupplies.co and write “cancel membership” in the subject line. The email must come from the account currently listed on our servers as being associated with your Rewards & Referral Program. If you no longer have access to that email address, please email our customer service department and we will verify your status and cancel your account. Upon cancellation, you are no longer a member, and any unused zen coins accrued in your account will be forfeited and cannot be redeemed. Zen coins maintain their value only on valid accounts in good standing, and except as otherwise provided here for redemption, have no cash value outside of their redemption value on the Site.


  • General Members can earn zen coins on the purchase of qualifying online products at zenartsupplies.co. To receive zen coins for your Online purchases, you must be signed into your account. You may check at any time to see if you are signed in to the Site by looking in the upper right-hand corner of the site. Gift cards do not qualify for zen coins. Other products that do not qualify for zen coins are noted on the Site.
  • Earning Rate. Members earn 5 sen coins for every $1.00 spent on qualifying purchases (in other words, one (5) zen coins for every one dollar ($1) spent). Zen coins are based on your order subtotal, after any discounts, only. Zen coins are rounded down to the nearest whole number. For example, if you spend $9.99, you will receive 9 zen coins. The calculation is as follows: $9.99 x 1 zen coins per dollar = 9.99 zen coins, which is rounded down to 9 zen coins. This program started on August 17, 2020, and initial levels were set on the 2020 amount spent on ordering products. Note: Shipping and Taxes are not taken into consideration. If an item is return and/or price adjusted that will also be removed from your rewards calculations.
  • Gift Cards. Gift card purchases are not eligible to receive zen coins. However, once a gift card is redeemed, zen coins will be awarded to the recipient for the subtotal after any gift card values, provided s/he is logged into the account, as outlined in these Terms and Conditions.
  • Addition of Zen Coins to Accounts. Zen Coins will be added to your Account under the following conditions, and will generally show up immediately. You will receive zen coins:
    • At the time of account registration
    • During the purchase of qualifying products
    • For other activities outlined on the Site that may show up from time to time. Note that for these other activities, including “bonus zen coins” accumulations and other zen coin promotions, zen coins may show as “pending,” depending upon the activity.
    • Joining the Birthday Club. Birthdate must be entered 30 days before your Birthday to qualify.
    • For Liking the ZenART Supplies Facebook page and sharing the ZenART Supplies Facebook page with your following. This is good one time only.
    • Following ZenART Supplies on Instagram. This is good one time only.
    • Referring a friend to ZenART Supplies. Your account will be automatically awarded the discount only if the referral friend used the link sent to them from your referral account and makes a qualifying purchase. Discount will automatically be applied to account if stipulations are met.
  • Exclusions. Members earn zen coins only on the purchase price of: (i) qualifying online products. Calculation of zen coins excludes payment by the Member for shipping charges and all taxes, including without limitation, federal, state, and local taxes or use taxes. Zen Coins will not be earned on any discounts or other credits offered in connection with a product or service. For example, if a product that is normally $50 is on sale for $25, a Member will only earn zen coins on the purchase price of $25. Purchases of gift cards, redemption of vouchers, and any type of price adjustments, including merchandise returns, are not eligible for zen coins. All purchases made: (i) by a Member prior to such member joining the Program, (ii) Online without a Member being logged onto the Website with the Member's Account number linked to the Member's Online account, are not eligible for Reward & Referral Program credit. The purchase of ZenART Supplies products outside the Zenartsupplies.co website are not eligible for the Reward & Referral Program.
  • Returns/Order Cancellations. Zen Coins earned for a purchase that is then the subject of a return, cancellation, refund, declined credit card or gift card, or other credit will be deducted from your account in an amount equal to the zen coins earned for the original transaction, including any bonus zen coins that may be applicable. Any rewards discounts that are applied to the order, will be distributed equally to the applicable items in the order when completing a return. Zen Coins redeemed on an order will not be reapplied back to your rewards account for any reason on a returned order. If a return/cancellation will cause your account to have a negative zen coin balance, you will not begin earning zen coins again until your zen coins balance is returned to zero (0), by making purchases, or engaging in other promotional activities offered from time to time. If an item is exchanged (different product) any redeemed rewards on the initial purchase may be transferred to the exchange one (1) time only. Rewards used on an order that is canceled cannot be reapplied as they are good for just one use.
  • Bonus Zen Coins Promotions. From time to time, ZenART Supplies may run certain bonus zen coin promotions. Under bonus zen coin promotions, Members can earn additional or "bonus zen coins" in connection with the purchase of certain online products. When you purchase these specially marked products or make the purchase during a bonus zen coins time period, you will earn bonus zen coins on each product, as specified in the offer. Bonus zen coin promotions are subject to the terms and conditions of the offer and may be offered at any time in ZenART Supplies sole discretion. Bonus zen coin offers cannot be combined with any other offer.
  • Limitations on Bonus Zen Coins and Zen Coins, Generally. These terms apply to zen coins and bonus zen coins accruals. If you purchase a product during a promotion and the product comes with an additional, free product, zen coins will not be issued on the retail value of the free product. If you redeem zen coins towards the purchase of a product and pay a portion of the retail price after the zen coin's redemption, you will receive zen coins only on the leftover retail amount you pay, and not on any value attributed to the zen coin you used. If you redeem zen coins towards the purchase of a product in an amount equal to the full price of the product, you will not earn any zen coins.
  • Non-purchase Options for Earning Zen Coins. You may also earn additional zen coins on non-purchase activities. From time to time, ZenART Supplies may offer you the chance to win various prizes, and earn zen coins, for entering into promotions. For sweepstakes promotions, there is NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO PLAY OR TO WIN. Rules and restrictions will apply to such promotions and may be found on the entry page of any promotion.
  • Referring a friend to ZenART Supplies. Email a friend an $8 off coupon on $50 order by clicking “ Earn Zen Coins” then “ Refer a Friend”. Enter the email address of a friend who has not purchased with ZenART Supplies before (if your referral has shopped with us before the referral link will be automatically voided by the system). A referral link will be sent to your friend with an $8 off coupon on a $50 order. $8 off coupon on $50 order will automatically be rewarded to your account only if the referral friend used the link sent to them from your referral account and makes a qualifying first-time purchase with ZenART Supplies. Your Referral friend will receive an $8 off coupon on $50 order, 200 zen coins for signing up, and zen coins from their first purchase made while signed into their new ZenART Supplies account.


  • How To Use Your Zen Coins. Zen Coins must be used in increments outlined in these Terms and Conditions. The maximum number of zen coins that may be used in a single transaction is 10,000 zen coins. Zen Coins may only be used Online at the ZenART Supplies website. Zen Coins towards Products: Members can use their zen coins to reduce the purchase price of a product or to receive a product for free based on the following scale:
    • 500 zen coins = $5.00 off
    • 1,000 zen coins = $10.00 off your at least $50 order
    • 1,500 zen coins = $15.00 off your at least $50 order
    • 2,500 zen coins = $25.00 off your at least $50 order

    Zen Coins can only be redeemed in any combination of the zen coin and increment amounts set forth above. Redemption of zen coins towards purchases of products is subject to product availability. Any rewards discounts that are applied to the order, will be distributed equally to the applicable items in the order when completing a return.

  • Gift cards. Once available, zen coins cannot be used towards the purchase of gift cards. Gift card redemption, however, is eligible for zen coins. Zen Coins accrued pursuant to the use of a gift card will benefit the gift card user, provided the user has an account in accordance with these Terms and Conditions.
  • To Redeem your Zen Coins. Before you begin shopping with us, sign in to your Shop account on our site. Select “Redeem Zen Coins” from the red tab housed in the lower left-hand corner of the screen and select the amount of zen coins you would like to redeem. You will be issued a custom code that you can copy and paste into the discount bar during check out (Please note - only one code can be used). Your total payment amount will be discounted by the amount of zen coins you allocate to the purchase. Note that zen coins may only be redeemed for the purchase price of the product. Sales tax, shipping, and other handling charges assessed in addition to the price of the product are your responsibility and zen coins may not be used to discount these additional charges.
  • Exclusions. Only one account per natural person. Only one discount code can be redeemed per transaction. Rewards redemption codes may not be combined with any other discount codes. Zen Coins may not be transferred or gifted at this time. Zen Coins cannot be used on past purchases. Zen Coins accumulated on different accounts by different members may not be combined or aggregated to make purchases of products or for any other reason. Zen Coins earned in a transaction cannot be redeemed in the same transaction. Redeemed zen coins cannot be retroactively applied to any past order or receive a price adjustment on any order where redeemed zen coins were not applied. Zen Coins have no cash value outside of the ZenART Supplies website and are available only to members in good standing.
  • Zen Coins Expiration and Time Lapses. All zen coins acquired, whether standard zen coins or bonus zen coins, shall expire 180 days from the date the zen coins are added to your account. Zen Coins expire 180 days from the date in which they were assigned to your account. Specific onsite activities in which zen coins will be awarded are set to accrue zen coins based on a time-lapse at the discretion of ZenART Supplies.
    • Sign up: zen coins are added to your account instantly
    • Order: zen coins are added to your account when your order is placed.
  • Once zen coins are redeemed, a discount code will be assigned and we are unable to cancel the discount code and reapply the zen coins to your Reward & Referral account. Discount codes generated by redeeming zen coins do not expire until used. They are a one-time use code, so once it is used it is gone. If an order is returned zen coins will not be reinstated.

4. Subscribe & Save Plan

  • Re-occurring purchase. Purchase is necessary in order to participate in this plan. The plan is worth $6.95 and will be charged to your account on the same date of the month that you purchased the plan, i.e. if you purchased the plan on 19th of January, you will be charged for the plan on the 19th of each month you are a Subscribe & Save Plan member.
  • 15% re-occurring discount. As a member of the subscribe & Save Plan, you are eligible for a 15% discount every time you put an order in place. You are qualified for the discount as soon as you purchase the plan.
  • Cancellation. After a purchase made with a Subscribe & Save Plan, you are not able to get a refund for the plan for the month the purchase was valid for but you can cancel for the following months.
  • Free samples & accessories. These are included for members of Subscribe & Save Plan only. These are not included in each order but the member will be informed when they will receive "extras" in their order.
  • Access to exclusive content. Exclusive access to tutorials, guides, tips & tricks in video, pdf, or audio format will be part of the membership program. Not all exclusive content is available but what is and will be available is up to ZenART Supplies sole discretion.


  • By registering with Zenartsupplies.co and joining the Reward & Referral Program, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions set forth in these Terms and Conditions, as well as any other terms that may be associated with the Reward & Referral Program. ZenART Supplies reserves the right to cancel, modify, suspend or restrict the Reward & Referral Program, your account, the redemption of zen coins, or any aspect of the Program, including, without limitation, the zen coin conversion ratio and the zen coin expiration policy at any time. Any changes can be made without advance notice. ZenART Supplies may make these changes even though such changes may affect your ability to use zen coins already accumulated. You are responsible for remaining knowledgeable about the Program Terms and Conditions. A Member's zen coins balance, as reflected in ZenART Supplies records, shall be deemed correct. ZenART Supplies reserves the right to determine the amount of zen coins in any Member's account based on ZenART Supplies' internal records related to such Member's account. In the event of an inconsistency between the amount accrued in a Member's account as stated on any Member's receipt and ZenART Supplies internal records, ZenART Supplies internal records will control. ZenART Supplies assumes no responsibility for errors caused by incorrect Member information. Your right to transfer zen coins earned or granted under the Program is strictly limited. The sale of zen coins is prohibited and may result in the confiscation or cancellation of your zen coins as well as suspension or termination of your membership, which in each case shall be final and conclusive. All transactions involving zen coins and all Member accounts are subject to review and verification by ZenART Supplies. The zen coins balance in a Member's account may be unavailable for use when an account or transaction is under review. ZenART Supplies may revoke any Member's membership in the Reward & Referral Program at any time if such Member engages in abuse of the Reward & Referral Program or fails to follow the terms and conditions of the Program. Fraud or abuse relating to the accrual of zen coins or redemption of rewards may result in revocation of membership in the Program and may affect a Member's eligibility for participation in any other ZenART Supplies program, present or future. Zen Coins are non-transferable and cannot be redeemed for cash. The interpretation and application of the Program's Terms and Conditions are at the sole discretion and determination of ZenART Supplies. For more information or other questions, click on Contact Us.
  • The Terms and Conditions of the loyalty program are subject to change at ZenART Supplies’ sole discretion at any time and without notice to customers. Upon customer’s at-will termination of their Zenartsupplies.com registered account, or if a customer is termination for violation of these Terms and Conditions or other activities in violation of the intent and good faith intended use of this Site, all zen coins will immediately be forfeited and will no longer be redeemable. ZenART Supplies will make reasonable efforts to award zen coins as outlined above to all 1. registered and 2. qualifying Zenartsupplies.co customers but is not responsible for any technical or unforeseen errors that may occur.
  • Zen Coins are nontransferable, nonredeemable for cash, are nonrefundable and are not valid outside of Zenartsupplies.co. Purchases made outside Zenartsupplies.co are not valid for zen coin accrual (this includes, but is not limited to Facebook resell groups, Ebay, and Amazon).
  • Employees of ZenART Supplies are not eligible to participate in the Reward & Referral Program.

Subscribe & Save Plan

Membership Benefits for Just $6.95/Month

For other currencies, the respective conversion applies.


A Glossary of Watercolor Terms

A Glossary of Watercolor Terms

Sometimes the world of watercolor is paved with jargon. For beginners tuning into a watercolor tutorial or review, some new watercolor terms may sound confusing. But it needn’t be too complicated. 

Whether you’re a newbie or a pro watercolor painter, brush up on your watercolor lingo with this A to Z list!

Artist grade

Often used to describe watercolor paints, papers, and brushes. When something is artist-grade, that means it’s the best quality you can find. Artist-grade paints are more expensive, as they contain fine pigments and are more permanent. 

For beginners, you can still find high-quality student-grade paints. These are recommended for you to get to know the medium first.


Watercolor Blooms or Backruns

Also known as “backruns,” blooms are irregular shapes or forms that occur when one color of paint flows into another color that hasn’t fully dried. Though unintentional, they’re not necessarily unwanted. It’s an interesting technique that can also be used to create different effects.


As in “blotting a brush.” You do this to remove excess water or paint from your brush—usually by dabbing your brush on a sponge or paper towel.


Watercolor paper that has buckled

Also known as “cockling.” Paper buckling is when your watercolor paper wrinkles or deforms. This happens because watercolor papers expand when wet. You can prevent this by stretching paper before painting or by using a watercolor block.

Cat’s tongue

Read More: Watercolor Brushes for Beginners

Also known as an oval wash brush. This paintbrush is similar to a Filbert brush but it has a pointed tip. It’s a highly recommended brush for painting organic shapes like petals.


A watercolor technique where you mix colors directly on the paper instead of mixing them in a palette.

Color wheel

A color wheel made using our very own Espresso Palette
Read More: How to Mix Watercolors

A visual representation of the relationship between colors and an essential tool in understanding color theory. 

You have your primary colors (red, yellow, and blue). When you mix two primary colors together, you get the secondary colors (orange, green, and violet). Finally, mixing primary and secondary colors gives you tertiary colors. 

The color wheel helps you make color combinations to form a color palette for your painting: 

  • Complementary colors: Two or more colors opposite each other on the color wheel. Using this color combination in a painting creates a nice contrast. Mixing complementary colors together creates neutral colors.
  • Analogous colors: Colors that sit next to each other on the color wheel. 
  • Monochromatic colors: Only one color, but with variations on tints, tones, and shades.
Get your watercolor mixing guide at the end of this article!

    Dry Brush 

    The dry brush technique involves using a mostly dry paintbrush with little paint and painting directly on dry paper. This is a watercolor painting technique that helps create interesting textures.


    Most easels are used in oil painting, but there are easels that are designed for watercolor artists. An easel is good for working outdoors or en plein air. Usually, you have a wooden stand and a board to tape or mount your paper upon. It’s up to you what angle you want but many watercolor artists recommend 45°.

    Fan Brush

    Fan brush

    Read More: What are the Types of Paint Brushes Out There?

    A flat brush with bristles that fan outward, hence its name. It’s a good shape for blending edges. You can also develop textures like fur, foliage, feathers, and ripples. 


    You’ll come across this term a lot in our brush guides. It’s the metal part of a brush that keeps the brush hairs attached to the handle.

    Glaze or Layer

    Glaze vs. Layering

    Read More: Watercolor Painting Techniques

    A glaze or layering wash is a sheer, transparent, or translucent coat of watercolor paint. Creating a glaze means painting a transparent color over another color that has dried completely. This effect makes the bottom layer show through, often creating the effect of a new color altogether.

    Layering is often interchanged with glazing. The difference between the two is that the colors used in layering can be dark or opaque so the bottom layer doesn’t necessarily show through.


    Also known as “tooth,” this term is used to talk about watercolor paper. Grain refers to the direction of the fibers in your paper or how rough the paper is. There are several levels: fine, medium, and rough grain. 


    This is the speckled effect you get when a paint’s coarse pigment settles into the paper indentations. Often, it has nothing to do with paint quality. This occurs when you have pigments of different weights. 


    This refers to a color’s saturation at its strongest or most vivid. You see this when your pigment is undiluted by water.


    Sometimes used interchangeably with “strength” or “saturation.” A color is strongest when undiluted and therefore has weaker intensity when washed out with more water.

    Kolinsky Sable

    Watercolor brushes with hairs taken from a species of weasels native to Siberia or China. These are the highest quality and most expensive watercolor brushes because they are strong, absorbent, and hold a fine point very well.


    Lifting your watercolors can produce interesting effects. For example, I used tissue paper to lighten parts of this wash to look like clouds.

    Quite literally, you lift paint or remove the color from an area that’s still wet. This is done with a squeezed-out brush, a paper towel, tissue, or a cotton swab. Removing paint this way helps to lighten the area, fix mistakes, or create highlights.


    A rating is given to watercolor pigments based on how permanent and fade-resistant they are—particularly after exposure to sunlight. Artist-grade paints typically come with a lightfast rating on a scale of I to IV, with I being the most permanent. 


    Filling or loading your paintbrush with watercolor. A loaded paintbrush becomes plumper in the belly since it contains a lot of watercolor paint for you to cover large surfaces with color.

    Masking Fluid

    Sometimes using white paint or watering down your paint to its lightest tone isn’t enough to preserve the whiteness of your watercolor paper. That’s when you need masking fluid—a liquid latex substance that you apply to protect parts of your painting. Once your painting is finished and fully dry, you can easily peel it off.

    Mop Brush

    A large, round brush that can easily absorb paint and cover large areas with color.


    swatch card to test opacity

    A swatch card of our Art Nomad palette. Swatching your watercolors is a great way to test out their hue and opacity. 

    The opposite of transparent or translucent. A pigment or color has opacity or is opaque if it completely covers the layer/s of color or paper beneath.


    This can refer to either a) the selection of colors an artist chooses to work with, or b) the surface on which a watercolor artist mixes their paints.

    Palette knife

    Typically used with thicker media like acrylics, oils, or impasto. A palette knife still comes in handy for mixing liquid watercolor paints or creating expressive effects by applying paint directly from tube to paper.


    Clockwise from left: ZenART's 100% cotton watercolor paper pads in Pythagorean 4/3 (12" x 16"), Square 12 (12" x 12"), Arch A (9" x 12"), Albert Card (4" x 6"), and Square 8 (8" x 8")

    Not all papers and sketchbooks can handle wet media, so it’s important to use high-quality watercolor paper. You can buy watercolor paper in loose sheets, pads (glued or bound on one side), or blocks (glued on all sides). 

    Watercolor paper is typically made with natural fibers like wood pulp or cotton. But just as you can get synthetic brushes, you can also find synthetic papers on the market.

    Watercolor paper comes in different kinds, orientations, and sizes. What you use depends on your preference.

    For reference, the watercolor paper we have here on ZenART is cold-pressed, acid-free, and of archival quality.

    Cold-pressed paper 

    This mildly textured paper is most suitable for watercolor painting. Cold-pressed paper has some tooth or grain and is more absorbent than hot-pressed paper. It’s sometimes called NOT paper because it’s not pressed by hot rollers. 

    Hot-pressed paper

    Best for painting fine details, hot-pressed paper has a smooth surface texture because it was pressed between hot rollers during manufacturing.

    Rough paper

    You’ll know it by its highly textured surface. It’s the roughest of these three kinds of watercolor paper because it was left to dry naturally without being pressed by rollers. This type is great for creating granulating effects with your watercolor paint.


    A pigment is usually an insoluble powder that gives paint its color. Paint pigment can be derived from natural or synthetic substances. In watercolor, a pigment is suspended in a vehicle or binder such as gum arabic and is then activated with water to release the color onto the paper.

    Rigger brush

    Rigger brush

    Read More: Watercolor Brush Sizes 

    A type of watercolor brush with long bristles and a fine point. Originally, the rigger brush was used to paint long rigging lines on boats, hence its name. Though thin, these brushes hold a lot of water and are useful for painting long, thin lines.


    A color made darker by adding black. Some artists also mix their own black paints to adjust their shades. You can create black by combining all primary colors.

    Snap & Spring

    This refers to the behavior of a watercolour brush. A good brush can “snap” back into shape after being bent at an angle. A brush with spring can hold its shape while pressed on the surface of the paper.


    An effect that creates paint splatters or blobs. To do this, load your paint brush or use an old toothbrush and start flicking paint onto the paper. It’s harder to control but adds a nice effect to your painting.

    Staining Colors

    Some watercolor paints have a tendency to sink in and absorb into the very fibers of your paper even before the water fully dries. Staining colors will leave a permanent mark on the paper and are harder to lift or remove.


    Transparent vs. Translucent

    This refers to paints or colors that allow light to pass through. It’s easy to confuse it with translucency. 

    A color is transparent if it can totally be seen through and light can fully penetrate through the pigment. A color is translucent if the light still passes through but not enough to show all layers, forms, or colors beneath.


    A color made lighter by mixing it with white or by adding more water.


    You create a tone of a color by adding gray. By doing this, you can desaturate and make a color more neutral, pastel, lighter, or darker.


    Tonal Value Scale for watercolor

    This refers to the lightness or darkness of a color or the relationship between different tones on one image. It’s often shown in a tonal value scale. White is the lightest value. Black is the darkest value. The halfway or in-between is gray. 


    Flat Wash vs. Graduated Wash vs. Variegated Wash

     A basic watercolor technique used to cover large areas with a transparent wash of color. It’s often the first step or layer of a watercolor painting. To create a wash of watercolor, load your brush with very wet watercolor paint and drag it across the paper moving downwards to spread more color.

    There are many kinds of watercolor washes. Watercolor washes don’t necessarily need only one color; they can transition from light to dark, or from one color to another.

    Flat Wash

    Literally a flat area of just one color. Ideally, the color shouldn’t vary in intensity or tint but be consistent throughout the area of the wash.

    Graduated Wash

    Also known as a gradient or graded wash, here the color gradually lightens as the wash takes form. To create that gradient effect, just keep adding water little by little until you get the lightest value you want in the wash. This technique comes in handy in landscape painting.

    Variegated wash

    A type of wet-into-wet wash where you paint with two or more different colors. The aim of a variegated wash is to allow colors to smoothly blend together and form soft edges once dry. You can create an ombre effect by transitioning from one color to another. You can also use the charging technique and let the colors mix together on wet or damp paper.

    Wet on Dry 

    Wet on Dry vs. Wet on Wet

    (See above: Glazing or Layering) Another basic watercolor technique that involves applying watery or wet paint directly on top of dry paper.

    Wet on Wet

    The wet on wet or wet into wet technique involves painting with wet paint on wet paper. To do this, pre-wet your paper and then start adding colors into that area. This style of painting lets colors blend seamlessly together, creating soft edges while the paint dries. 

    For beginners, the wet-on-wet technique may create unpredictable color combinations—worse, colors that mix badly and become muddy.

    As a rule of thumb, remember that watercolor will flow from the wettest area to a less wet or damp area of the paper. You can vary the degree of wetness on your paper depending on the effects you’d like to create with this technique.

    The great watercolor painter, JMW Turner, often used this technique for his landscapes. 

    How many of these watercolor terms do you know?

    Are you a watercolor beginner or a watercolor pro? If so, how many watercolor terms were you already familiar with? And which of these terms did you only find out about now? 

    Level up your watercolor knowledge! Check out our Toolkit section on the ZenART blog for more guides, tips, and how-tos! 




    Belle O. Mapa is a writer and artist based in Manila, Philippines. She believes that everyone is born with an inner creative spirit—we just need to nurture and discover it on the blank page. Currently, she lives out her passion: writing stories, hosting journaling workshops, and advocating for mental health awareness.

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