This can be done on dry paper, or
applied where you wet the tree
shape first then add the thicker paint
using the card for texture.
If you do it on dry paper you can
blend portions of it with a damp
brush before it dries. Or let it dry
then use a wet/damp brush to paint
clear or even lightly tinted water
(almost like dirty water) over the
shape to blend or smear the color a
little to paint the lighter part of the
(Hint: I like to use a pale blue or
lavender tinted water for this step.
Remember that the paint you applied
with the card will blend into this wash.)

Negatively painting the edge of the
tree by painting something behind it
is another way to add depth, interest
and value to the picture.
Be sure to look for my Watercolor Tips using a credit card to scrape out trees too.
Also check out the tips for blotting trees with paper towels.
To return to my list of
Watercolor Tips
© 2002-2008  Susie Short Studio LLC   All Rights Reserved  Permission granted to print single copies for personal study.        
Using a plastic card (credit card)
to create rough tree bark
Using a palette knife to do the bark-like
texture is not a new trick. But here is an
interesting and easy twist to the same
idea...using the side or end of an old
credit card.

Thicker paint works better…(less
water!) Pick up the paint from your
palette or brush it on the edge of the
card. I like to use the paint from the
puddles that has dried on the center of
my palette, dip the cc in water then run
it across the dried puddle of paint. Less
water is a big factor for success. Use
both the long and the short side of the
card. I find I have better luck with the
shorter side.

Vary the angle of the card for different
effects too. I get the best texture when
the card is almost horizontal with the
paper—15 degrees or less.

Too much pressure won't make a good
mark......use a very light touch. You
might have to do some practice to find
out what works best for you and for the
type of paper you are using.