I am sometimes amazed – and this mesmerizing Yupo landscape painting totally caught me off guard! I’ve been trying Yupo for weeks now and have gone through a ton of paper with all the practicing. Tried filming hours of painting just for the last steps of the painting to go awry. But this one worked! Watch the video then read more tips later in this post.

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Watch the video below or click HERE to see it in HD on YouTube.

6 Tips for painting on Yupo Paper

I know some folks are going to ask if I’ll teach a Yupo class and…we’ll see. I’m not totally sure. It’s sooooo unpredictable, and it requires some imagination and patience – it’s not as if I can say “Paint this here and that there” and anyone could follow it….but you can always subscribe to the email list over on my teaching site (in the menu) and I’ll let you know if I do! In the meantime….some tips!

  • Don’t touch the paper. The grease from your skin will create spots that repel paint – so don’t touch it any more than necessary. Remove it carefully from the pad by the edges. There could be techniques for removing that skin oil, but I haven’t found a reliable one.
  • Limit the color palette. The more colors used, the more likelihood you’ll end up with mud! I’ve had the most success when trying a yellow, red, and blue, and ONLY adding an extra color or two at the end if necessary.
  • Plan for dryback. And I’m not talking about where you place the paint; I’m talking color! The difference between the bright color during the initial painting stage is vast. Some colors darken SIGNIFICANTLY and until you practice and let things dry, you won’t know. The near-black areas that I obtained in this painting are from Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) – and other blues will not provide that contrast.
  • Give up control. Trying to coax the initial painting into creating a scene is futile. You can attempt to create color sections and they MAY remain, but once it’s drying, it’s on its own.
  • Push your imagination. With each of my paintings, I’ve been staring at them sometimes for quite a while before seeing the subject matter appear. Then it’s a matter of finding a focal area and putting in ONLY enough details to help a viewer to see the same thing.
  • Use negative painting techniques. Affirmative strokes most often look like they were “added” to the loose painting rather than part of the whole piece, so limit it. Instead look for places in the dark areas to lift out highlights.

In general, just be ready to play. The best thing? If it doesn’t work out, just wash it off! Again don’t touch the surface while washing it under the sink; use a soft cloth to rub it off. Know that some colors will stain lightly, and some colors that normally don’t stain normal watercolor paper can stain Yupo. But being able to reuse it is awesome! (Not being able to recycle it is not so awesoome. lol)