Tuesday Tips and Techniques: You're the Boss of Your Reference

by Paint Tube 1 Minutes

Hello Tuesday!

Today’s Tuesday Tip comes from Keiko Tanabe’s “Storytelling with Watercolor.”

Here’s the tip: You don’t have to paint everything you see in your reference.

It seems obvious but it’s a hard truth to act on sometimes. But Keiko’s paintings are stronger because she follows this advice.


Learn how to use reference photos with Keiko Tanabe's video workshop

In fact, in her first demo, there’s a whole section of detail that she just covers with a tree. It goes back to answering the question: “What is this about? What is my focal point?” And then if those details (1) don’t help tell that story, (2) will pull the viewer's eye away from the focal point or (3) you don’t want to spend the time on them and they aren’t critical for your composition, seriously, cover them with a tree. You’re the artist. It’s one of the perks. :)

Learn more about Keiko Tanabe’s “Storytelling with Watercolor" here.