Lesson 3 : Lost & Found Edges

Same tonal value / different colour.


Thanks to Charles Reid’s fantastic watercolour book ‘The Natural Way To Paint’ I discovered  lost and found edges , this was a huge breakthrough for me in my ‘watercolour learning curve’.

Shapes have no outlines in the real world, thats only in cartoons!

illustration pen and ink
lost and found estoraos

Blending In

When two areas have the same tonal value, i.e. they are equal in their light or darkness, then the we can let the colours bleed together on the paper, even if they are different colours.

In this case the shadow on the dress is equal in tone to the background therefore they can blend together.

This ‘grounds’ the subject into the surroundings rather than being stuck on top of the picture.

Another example

I have indicated areas with pink elipses to show where one colour could bleed/blend into another because the tonal values are the same.

lost and found watercolor edges

Here is Charles Reid’s beautiful painting of Seargent, note how the sleeve and the hat blend into the background because the tones are the same. Also the same applies to the shadow under the brim of the hat and the shadow on his cheek, they are different colours but because they have similar tonal values they are allowed to bleed together.

sargent black and white