Celebrating Our Make A Splash Watercolour Challenge

by Cass Art

We’ve been blown away by some of your entries to the Make A Splash Watercolour challenge! It’s almost over so we’ve asked a few of you on Twitter how you found the challenge and for some of your top tips.

Isher Dhiman

We have loved viewing your fashion illustrations - where do you look for inspiration?

Thank you. Inspiration is everywhere. Flicking through magazines, the Internet, historic fashion illustrators, existing illustrators - but most importantly I love people watching (in different cities preferably!)

Have you worked with watercolours before? How have you found the challenge?

Yes I have but not on a regular basis. I usually like to mix media, so it has definitely been a challenge for me to stick to watercolour alone, but I have found the challenge very enjoyable and one which has allowed me to practise my watercolour techniques.

Top Tip - Feel confident when holding the brush. Some of my best work has been created when I have not given it a second thought and put paint straight to paper.

Isher is all over social media, follower her on FacebookInstagramTwitter or check out her website to see more of her work.

Claire Skillen

Your work is so colourful and full of textures - what do you enjoy working with?

At the moment I enjoy working with Neocolor ll water-soluble wax crayons. I have had them for just over a month and really enjoying how they work. They are a good medium for mixed media and the colours are strong even when working on dark layers. I also really like using gesso, as it gives a nice ground and creates good texture.

Have you worked with watercolours before?

I only really use watercolours as background washes for a mixed media piece or in my sketchbook when thinking about new ideas.

How have you found the challenge?

The challenge encouraged me to experiment and share my work, both of which I have enjoyed.

Top Tip - Be free and try not to worry about the outcome, just enjoy the process.

You can find more of Claire’s work by following her Twitter on or taking a look at her website.

Howie Hobbit

We can see a lot of JMW Turner in your work, where do you look for inspiration?

Funny you should mention JMW Turner, as he was the artist that got me into art. When I was at university, I used to sit in front of Turner's Fighting Temeraire whilst studying, and the more I looked at that painting, the more intrigued I became by the colours of the sunset. Before long, I found myself trying to view any Turner art work I could, be it his sketches, oils, or watercolour paintings.

In terms of inspiration, I tend to find them in the most random of places, so I always have a sketch book, pens, and/or a small watercolour kit with me - I'm quite a sucker for sunsets and the weather. A lot of the time, I also find inspiration in books, and trying to create my own illustrations of scenes from the stories.

Have you worked with watercolours before? How have you found the challenge?

I have dabbled in a bit of painting before, but focused mainly on sketching with pens or pastels. I recently saw the Turner and the Sea exhibition, which showed a few of his watercolours, and then I saw the Make A Splash challenge on the Cass Art website, so I thought I'd give it a go, and get back into painting.

It was a bit touch and go to begin with, but after a few experiments, I think I am slowly getting the hang of how to manipulate the colours on the paper.

The challenge has actually been really fun and helpful, as it focuses your mind to actually paint, and thus adding to practising and honing of technique.

Top Tips

Art isn't necessarily about accuracy, so go crazy!  As Turner once said, "The truth of the imagination is more important that the truth of the eye." Focus on the colours, and basic shapes/forms.  If you want to look at the sky, you will see a lot more variations in tones of different parts of the sky if you look up with a pair of polarising sunglasses (DO NOT look directly at the sun though!)

Art is best taught by practical application, so try the different techniques you may have heard/read of. Theory is all well and good, but a lot of it is to do with feeling, for example knowing and feeling when your brush is too wet or too dry for the effect you wish to achieve.

Intrigued? Follow Howie Hobbit on Twitter or check out his blog to see more of his work.


Martin Hoare

Your street scenes are full of fun colours and textures - do you sketch while you’re out and about?

Yes, I usually carry a sketchbook with me when I'm out and I'll try to sketch when can. I also carry a camera to take reference to work from at home.

Have you worked with watercolours before? How have you found the challenge?

I have used watercolour but not for a long time. I usually paint with acrylic but was looking for a quicker way to get colour into my drawings. I bought a block of the A4 50 sheet watercolour pad and a 36 half pan watercolour set, this was just before I noticed the watercolour challenge, so that came along at just the right time to provide a bit of extra motivation to get painting.

I've enjoyed the challenge, trying to produce a lot of paintings quickly has been a good way to experiment and loosen up with the way I use paint. Although I'm nowhere near the 50 paintings, there's still time to do a few more.

Top Tip - It's sometimes good to do a rough drawing and then throw a lot of heavy splatters of colour randomly onto the paper. Once dry I like to draw with ink into the shapes created and see what emerges. Masking fluid is great for helping to build layers of colour into a drawing.

Martin’s works can be found on his blog and keep up to date with his work by following him on twitter.


Carol Stanley

Where do you look for inspiration?

As a designer I try to be as diverse as possible. I look for inspiration everywhere but the things that catch my eye tend to be the things I love anything from delicate and colourful to the occasional morbid subject.

Have you worked with watercolours before? How have you found the challenge?

I have worked with watercolours before, but that was quite a while ago so it was exciting to use this media again. The watercolour challenge I found testing but it was very intriguing as I have found my love for it again and definitely will continue to include it in my work.

Follow Claire on twitter or check out her blog to see more of her work.


Betul Salman

We’ve seen a lot of experimentation in your work, what would your advice be for people looking to get into painting?

I would recommend people to just do it. I know a lot of people who I talk to that tell me that they love my work and when I ask why don’t they try painting, they reply with “because I am not good at it” or “I’m scared if it turns out bad”. The advice I would give to people is that they shouldn’t be scared if something turns out bad, it is a stage of learning, developing and moving forward.

Have you worked with watercolours before? How have you found the challenge?

For this challenge I found it every exciting to experiment with watercolors because I used a different technique every time and I tried to not repeat the same experiment all the way through. I learnt ways for dripping paint, painting with water and then putting a dot of paint that colored the water track, used drawing gum and pealed it off when the paint dried, dripped water around a glass to make it fall on my paper. I made portraits, illustrations and landscapes.

I enhanced some parts of the experiments with Indian ink, white acrylic paint and fine liners. I basically went crazy and decided to try out every idea that popped in my head and didn't care too much if it will turn out awfully bad. All I cared about is having fun, learning a thing or two and expressing my ideas.

Follow Betul on Twitter and Tumblr to keep up to date with her work.


Phil Isone

Where do you look for inspiration?

I'm a massive fan of tattoos and tattoo styled artwork, I get my inspiration from artwork I see on people and artwork I see from tattoo artists.

Have you worked with watercolours before?

Not really. I'm new to art. I'm a student nurse and have found art to be a great wind down activity in the evenings. I've found watercolours a great medium and hope to get to know how to use them better the more I paint.

How have you found the challenge?

I've found the challenge really fun and have had a great time taking part. I've got to see lovely pieces of art from a variety of people. I'm so glad I took part.

Follow Phil on Twitter or Instagram to see his new sketches. 

Amanda Kinsman

We've seen a mix of life drawing and landscapes, where do you look for inspiration?

I go to a couple of Life Drawing Classes regularly. This means I have an awful lot of drawings! I enjoy working on them in the studio with ink and watercolour and often I draw directly from the model with watercolour and brush and ink.

Have you worked with watercolours before? How have you found the challenge?

I have enjoyed the challenge because it was an excuse to buy lovely materials in my local Cass Art store in Kensington High Street. I think the water colour paper is very good value but I really like the blocks of Fabriano Accademia for Life Drawing.  I loved the excuse to get out into the "country". For me this is my local park, Wormwood Scrubs Common, and the London suburb of Hillingdon.  At this time of year everything looks stunning and the light has been great, more interesting than just blue skies. So I did get out and about thanks to the Challenge, more than I might have done.

You can find more of Amanda's work on her website or through her work with Art West.

Feeling inspired?

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Learn more about the Cass Art Make A Splash watercolour challenge and pick up a Cass Art Jumbo Watercolour Pad to get started.

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