Michele's Online Tutorials
Figure reflection

Painting the 6-Stroke Figure

Figures serve an important role in landscape painting. They provide scale and animation to a scene.

They need not be perfect in detail, especially if they provide interest in the distance or middle ground.
Six strokes are all you need to accomplish this in watercolor.

Please click the link to the right if you would like to see a short video demonstration of this technique.
  • Video Demonstration of the 6-Stroke Figure by Michele Cooper
  •  This free tutorial is small to conserve bandwidth. It plays in RealOnePlayer, QuickTime and Windows Media Player
As you can see, the 6-stroke figure is painted as a continuous connection of wet brush strokes. It actually makes a silhouette. Try the same procedure by simplifying the figures in action that you find in travel brochures and sports magazines. Usually they are engaged in some activity and often there are two or more linked figures. (Try it while watching the Tour de France---Go, Lance!)
Tip: The inclination of the head and relative angle and position of the spine, arms and legs are the tiniest but most descriptive elements of movement. Pay close attention to these relationships and you will have figures in action.
Try it for yourself and see how easy it is!

 Materials used:

#8 round watercolor brush
140# CP watercolor Paper
Ultramarine Blue
Burnt Sienna
Raw Sienna
Variety of other colors for group of figures
6 stroke figure

Note: We are in the process of adding more entries to these tutorials. Check back each week to look for new chapters.
Please write  and let us know which one you would like to see next.

Maintained by Michele Cooper
All contents copyright (C) 2005, Michele Cooper. All rights reserved.