When glazing, the main point to consider is that watercolor is not an opaque medium like oils and acrylics where the pigments stay where placed. The transparent nature of watercolor makes it harder to cover underlying pigments with a new color and even with the best effort, the color underneath will not be completely covered over. That is the main issue with watercolor. That also makes it a unique and wonderful medium to work on. That brings us now to the issue of glazing.

Glazing as it pertains to watercolor is by definition changing the color value and the temperature of the under painting to achieve a particular effect and color strength. It is a layering of color not exactly to cover the color underneath but to arrive at another color definition where the hue of the underlying pigment is seen through even as another color is laid on top of it. Because of this, using watercolor as a medium will typically start with colors of the lightest value working to the darkest. That way, undesired effects are minimized and lifting dry watercolor is limited if unnecessary.

When glazing is desired, allow the underlying paint to dry. The measure of dryness of the paper underneath will influence the intensity of the color used to glaze. A paper that is very wet will result into mixing with the layered color that will produce feathery effects, blooms and other patterns that has rough edges. A dryer paper will create better-defined lines and patterns. Often, glazing requires a color that is lighter in shade than those underneath. Sometimes, plain water is used. There is however no strict rules to go by except the effect that the artist wants produced. To approximate a result, practice glazing first on a separate patch of paper before finally applying the glazing to the work.

There are many particular tasks in watercolor painting that fast is the key. In glazing however, patience is. Work slowly. Glazing requires slight changes with each application. The changes has to be gradual until the desired glazed effect is arrived at. Allow each application to dry out as the intensity of the watercolor when wet is different than when it is dry. The success of the application could be judged correctly only when the application is dry.

To allow the paper to dry will typically use fifteen minutes. To speed up the drying process, a blow dryer could be used safely. However, do not hold the blow dryer on an area that is too damp for too long. Water on paper may produce steam when heated for a prolonged period. Speeding up the drying too much will also affect the final appearance of the painting.

It is also well to remember that since watercolor is applying sometimes very wet pigments, care must be taken that the brush does not ruin the paper. For glazing, use only brushes with very soft tufts and apply with light controlled strokes. Let the paint flow off the brush. This will reduce the possibility of disturbing the underlying pigments.