Improve Your Art with this Amazing Positive & Negative Painting Tutorial!

Calling all painters – you are in for a real treat today! Hochanda have brought us a wonderful and insightful tutorial from their fabulous guest Lou Withers, who promises that this will change the way you paint forever! We feel you are itching to get reading already… dive in!

Positive and negative painting is very effective and so easy! The term comes from the action or technique of either painting an actual object or the space around the actual object. Negative painting can be done with any stamp and gives a wonderful effect, it makes the actual object focal point or theme ‘pop’ off the page.

You need to consider:

  • What effect do you want to achieve? Do you want watercolour, vintage ethereal effect or bright vibrant with impact?
  • The surface or substrate you are using.
  • Is the ink water-based or water soluble? This is all down to the colour, ink, paint, pencil or media you choose to stamp with.

I stamped my lilies from the Studiolight Jenine’s Mindful collection onto a semi pearl card stock. This is a more challenging surface to achieve the negative painting effect on, but this technique shows it is achievable on many substrates with a little more work.

Using a fine damp brush, apply water to the outer stamped line of your image. Blend out the water, the ink should bleed out slightly into the water you have applied. If you want to deepen the impact image and create more of a dramatic effect, apply extra ink wash, you can do this by just stamping your ink onto a non-porous mat and adding water to this to achieve a colour ink wash.

When you are happy with the colour apply a little to the outer edge, this will allow the darker ink to travel or bleed into the original area. More water blended out over this area will create a seamless transition from the ink to the paper. A timeless classic that works every time!



  • Use watercolour card for the best results.
  • It is better to apply several layers of colour gradually, then you can stop when you have achieved the desired effect.
  • Purchase a couple of fine brushes. 01 and 02 are perfect for fine lines, whereas 04 and 06 are excellent for applying wash/water.

Thank you to the wonderful Lou Withers for this excellent tutorial! Stock up on your art supplies on to start experimenting with positive and negative painting!


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