Color Mixing Color Schemes Watercolor Exercises

Watercolor Monochromatic Color Scheme

The watercolor monochromatic color scheme is one of the most popular color schemes for painting in watercolor. It is the simplest of all color schemes because it only uses one color.

The one-color color scheme requires varied tonal values and color intensity to structure the composition into an interesting watercolor painting.

This technique is often used by artists to create a cohesive painting while also emphasizing the textures and tonal values in the artwork.

We will explore what the monochromatic color scheme is and how you can use it to create stunning watercolor paintings.


The watercolor monochromatic color scheme is a color palette that uses different shades, tints, and tones of a single watercolor. This creates a harmonious and cohesive color scheme that can be used to create a variety of moods and atmospheres.

For example, a monochromatic color scheme using blue watercolor can create a serene and calming painting, while a monochromatic color scheme using red can create a bold and energetic painting.


Watercolor painting is known for its transparency and fluidity, which makes it an ideal medium for creating a monochromatic color scheme. Here are some tips on how to use the watercolor monochromatic color scheme:


The first step in using the watercolor monochromatic color scheme is to choose your color. When selecting a color for a monochromatic color scheme, it is essential to choose a color that has a wide range of shades and tones.

For example, if you choose blue, you’ll want to make sure that you have light blues, dark blues, and everything in between.


Watercolor paint can be mixed with different amounts of water to create a range of hues and tones.

To create a lighter shade, add more water to your paint. To create a darker shade, use less water and more paint. For even darker tonal values, add black to the chosen color.

Use a gray scale value finder as a guide for mixing a range of tonal values for the monochromatic color scheme.

gray scale value finder

Although a monochromatic color scheme involves using a single color, it is still possible to create contrast and interest in the painting by incorporating contrasting colors.

For example, if you are painting a blue monochromatic watercolor painting, adding a small amount of orange to the blue color can create contrast and make the painting more dynamic.


When using a monochromatic color scheme, it is essential to emphasize the textures and tonal values in the painting.

Using a range of brush strokes and techniques can help create a variety of textures and add depth to the painting.

For example, dry brushing can create a rough, textured surface, while wet-on-wet techniques can create a smooth, blended effect.


Use my affiliate links below to purchase the watercolor paints you need.

Instead of using a manufactured black watercolor paint, mix the following watercolors for a strong, near-black paint mixture. Then use this mixture to create darker blue colors.

Choose one or all of the following transparent and semi-transparent watercolors for the blue monochromatic color scheme:

Choose one of the following contrasting orange watercolor mixtures to add to the blue color to neutralize it:

A mixture of…

Or a mixture of…

Or a mixture of…

Compose small value-study paintings placing the strongest contrasting values together (the lightest next to the darkest tone) in the “focal point” central area of emphasis in the composition.

Add more mid-tonal values and neutralized color in the outlying areas of the painting composition.


By spending time working with the monochromatic color scheme, you will gain a deeper understanding of tonal values and how to organize the values in your painting compositions.

To learn more about transparent watercolors, click the link to my blog post “Which watercolor paints are transparent.”

See my YouTube playlist “Watercolor Color Schemes” for more videos. And, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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