Hard edges occur when water pushes paint to the edge of the wetted area and the paint forms thin 'outline' as it is drying. Usually I avoid it in my paintings, but in this illustration I made it on purpose. And I like it!
The German shepherds have special characteristics, such as black nose, black mark near the eyes, and black 'saddle'-shaped mark on the back. And I thought these features were fitting for the hard edged style.
Here are a little insights I found when doing the hard edges effect:
1. I mixed a generous volume of water with less pigment to make a thin mixture. When applying the mix I made an effort to control the shape of the wetted area.
2. I dropped more water in the colour when the area was still wet. It pushed the pigment to the edge of the area and made the outline more striking.
3. I positioned the paper on a perfectly flat surface so that it created a uniformly sized outline.
4. To have a very fine outline, I avoided thick mixture. Too much pigment will make heavy, coarse outlines.
5. I made sure the area was completely dry before I put another hard edged washes and stroked the brush gently. The brush's pressure can scrape the previous outline.
I think there are many 'fun' possibilities for the hard edged watercolour as a stand-alone style or combined with other washes!