How to Paint With Watercolors: Watercolor Painting for Beginners 101

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you for your support !
Painting with watercolors can be a fortune of fun – or it can be super frustrating !

If you have always struggled with using watercolors, today ’ second post is all about sharing how to paint with watercolors – and all the tips & tricks I wish I would have known when I first started !

Painting With Watercolors Does Not Have to Be Complicated!

It ’ s a little obstruct to admit this, but I used to really struggle trying to paint with watercolors. I painted with watercolors my integral life, so far I still felt like everything I created looked like a small child made it .
My colors looked muddy. I couldn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate master the paint brush adenine well as I wanted. My pictures looked flat and nothing had any depth or property. Any and all attempts at shadowing were black .
What was I doing wrong? well, as it turns out, I was doing a lot of things all ill-timed !
There are TONS of little tricks that make it a LOT easier to understand how to paint well with watercolors – and a batch of people tend to forget to mention these details in most tutorials, because they are so childlike and obvious, unless you ’ re me of course !
If you ’ re like me at all, the obvious is not always exactly obvious. { I could credibly be a caller on the The Mr. Obvious Show for so many things in my life sadly ! } There are some things I fair don ’ thyroxine think to do !
I tend to make things a fortune more complicated than they actually need to be – and that would only add to the frustration ! thankfully there are a lot of things you can do that make it sol much easier – and direction more fun .
hopefully today after you read this you can avoid a lot of the like mistakes I used to make – and watercolor will be more enjoyable for you in the process !

Step 1: Gathering Supplies to Paint With Watercolor

watercolor supplies
To get started, you ’ ll need to gather some basic supplies. fortunately, most of these things are very comfortable to find – you can get them at most art stores or of run you can decree them & other handpicked creative goodies on our Amazon shop page !
fortunately, you don ’ thymine in truth need a set to get started – and most things you may already have or be able to get identical easily and cheaply !
The first thing we need, of course – are watercolor paints and some newspaper !

Types of Watercolor Paints & Papers

Paints are normally available in either tubes or pans. I ’ m a big fan of this Sakura Koi sphere stage set – it ’ s perfect for travel and has a dainty survival of colors. You can besides use watercolors in tubes with a palette, such as this watercolor paint set by Ohuhu .
The next thing that is important is the character of paper you use. Painting with watercolors requires a lot of water, and therefore regular standard copy or drawing composition is not going to hold up besides well with a draw of water !
I recommend using paper specifically meant for watercolors, because it is a fortune more absorbent material. This paper is normally a weight of 140lb/300g or higher. Watercolor paper comes in two varieties – cold pressed, which has a nice texture to it, and hot pressed, which is a short bite smoother .
I use Canson Watercolor Paper often – and I ’ ve found Amazon often has a paper pad of 30 sheets with a capital price ! Strathmore is another good brand, and of path if you ’ d like to work in a journal or notebook, I always love a adept Moleskine watercolor journal !
If you are going to buy watercolor supplies, I decidedly recommend shopping on Amazon – this is well the best way to get the good prices and a way bigger survival than what you might find at a typical retail craft store. Shop my handpicked favorites on Amazon here .

The Most Important Thing You Need: 2 Separate Jars of Water

watercolor painting tips
I ’ m not sure why it took me 20+ something years to learn this. It wasn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate until I was at a creative playdate with some of my art friends that I learned to do this and I noticed one of my friends, who is a professional watercolor artist was using two jars rather of precisely one !
so, yes, if you want to instantaneously be more “ pro ” in your watercoloring – use TWO jars of water system !
This way, you have one jar specifically for rinsing your brushes – and then a jolt specifically for houseclean water that can be used for painting and mixing up colors .
thus ace, and so simple !
This direction, you ’ re not constantly changing your water – AND your colors will be a distribute more crisp and clear – a must if you ’ rhenium working with lighter shades of yellow, orange, and green !
seriously, I never, ever in a million years would have thought to do that, and it ’ s sol childlike ! Two break jars of water !

Other Watercolor Painting Supplies You Will Need:

Good Quality Watercolor Brushes : There are a lot of different types of watercolor brushes. The decent thing to have is a bent that offers a boastful flat brush for washes and larger areas and then to have a nice categorization of round brushes in different sizes .
Round brushes truly do work well for most watercolor applications, because of the way they hold the water and push the paint around. If you plan to paint a batch of details, you ’ ll want very thin brushes that are good for smaller lines and even for handwriting and watercolor letter .
Towels: It ’ s besides a good theme to have towels nearby and on pass. These can be used to blot off excess water system and paint. They ’ re besides good to have in sheath of spills or if you incidentally use way more water than you wanted to .
You can use any type of old towel or fabric you don ’ thyroxine mind getting rouge on, or you of course can constantly use newspaper towels or flush tissues .
Washi Tape or Painter’s Masking Tape: here ’ s another great trick I learned after watching the lapp flair ally who uses two jars of urine paint for an good afternoon : record your paper to the table !
Washi tape and painter ’ mho tape/masking magnetic tape normally work pretty well because it won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate damage the airfoil. Having the newspaper taped down will help prevent wrinkles. If you ’ ve ever used watercolors with a wrinkling mess afterwards, this will help you a TON .
thankfully I have a fantastic washi tape obsession { See my favorites here ! } – and so there ’ sulfur constantly batch of tape at my house to use for this determination .
immediately that we have the supplies all gathered, let ’ s arrive started with the adjacent step !

Step 2: Learn the Basics of Watercolor Painting Techniques

There are a couple of different techniques that make painting with watercolor a lot easier. Learning the basics of just how the paints work on paper and how to use the brushes can make all the deviation .
how to paint with watercolors

How Watercolors Work

Watercolors generally are translucent – which means you can see through them. The more water you use, the more translucent they will be. If you do not use hardly any body of water, your paints will be more opaque .
Most high quality watercolors will have a richer pigment to them, so you can truly use a fortune of body of water in mixing them. It ’ south besides helpful to know that watercolors typically dry a draw lighter than they first appear while besotted .

Tips for Mixing the Paints with Water

The easiest way to mix paints is by using either a palette, plate or even in the eyelid of the pan of watercolors itself. You just need to add a bite of water to the pans or the spot you ’ ve squeezed out and mix a short with the brush .
If water is pooling at all on the paper, you by and large have besides much water – unless of naturally that is separate of the desire impression you are going for ! When water is pooling, you will have less command of where the paint may flow !
watercolor painting too much water example
It will take a short practice, but you will soon be able to tell when the brush has besides much or besides short rouge on it. If there ’ s excessively much, plainly blot it a small on a towel inaugural before applying it to the newspaper .
When mixing colors, it ’ s a good mind to practice with some start paper beginning, barely to get a good idea of how the colors will blend .

Make a Color Chart

partially of the fun of watercolors is using all the different colors ! Something that is a bang-up way to practice how much water system and how much paint to use together is by making a color graph .
not only are coloring material charts pretty, but this will give you a commodity idea of what each color will look like based on dilution ratios with water and what it will look like once dry, since it may dry lighter than it initially appears while moisture .

Step 3: Practice These 5 Main Watercolor Techniques

watercolor techniques for beginners
There are basically two ways to paint with watercolors. Wet on wet and wet on dry. Both have different uses & yes, you can even use them both together !
In addition to these two basic methods of applying key on the newspaper, there are a couple of other techniques that can be used for capital results .
We’re going to cover these 5 main basic watercolor techniques for beginners in this post today:

  • Wet on Wet
  • Wet on Dry
  • Layering & Blending with Watercolors
  • Mark Making
  • Paint Lifting

If you get these 5 basics down with some practice, you ’ ll be fix to make reasonably much anything with watercolor like a pro !

Watercolor Fundamental #1: Wet on Wet Painting Technique

wet on wet watercolor technique
With this technique, you first do a wash of water on the newspaper. Simply dip your brush in water only, and spread a little bite of water around the page. then, while the composition is still wet, you merely add your paints on top of this layer of water.

This is fun to use this proficiency, because the key will go wherever the water is. Use this technique if you want nice voiced edges or want complimentary colors to blend together well. Avoid this technique if you are using reverse colors that will turn into mud when blend together .
You can besides often exercise guiding where the key flows with your brush to create different designs this way. The paint will go where the urine is !
This is besides a good way to blend different colors easily on the newspaper, because the key will sort of float on top of the water on your newspaper and it can be swirled and moved around easily .

Watercolor Fundamental #2: Wet on Dry Painting Technique

wet on dry watercolor technique
With wet on dry painting, you do not wet the composition first base – you plainly use the watercolors, desegregate well with a snatch of water, straight on dry paper .
dry paper can be a completely fresh lacuna piece of wallpaper – or it can be something you already painted on that has dried .
With this method, you will have a distribute more control of where the paint goes, and you will see much more define lines and edges .

Fundamentals of Watercolor #3: Layering & Blending Techniques

building up layers in watercolor
Another crucial thing to rehearse is how to layer with watercolors. Learning how to layer with watercolors is what can truly help give the things you paint some more depth and matter to. Learning to layer is what in truth makes watercolors look fantastic on paper !
When layer, you want to start with the lightest colors foremost. This way, you can keep build upon those abstemious colors until you get the results you want .
It ’ s important to know that watercolors WILL become reactivate once dry if you paint over them with water again. This is truly helpful to know, because if you are not careful you can well muddy up the paints in concert and get some not-so-fantastic results .
This is a commodity way to besides add shadows in your paintings. With watercolor, creating highlights is done a sting differently – rather than paint the highlights like you might when working with acrylic paints, it ’ randomness normally best to merely leave those spots blank .
You can experiment a distribute when you are practicing on layer and blending the watercolors on paper. You can besides experiment with this by combining unlike wet on wet and wet on dry techniques .

Watercolor Fundamentals #4: Mark Making for Lines and Shapes

watercolor painting mark making and line pattern examples
once you have the basics of getting the paint blend with water and how it will behave on paper and know how to layer and blend the paints together, you are adjacent ready to exercise with painting lines, shapes, and other mark have .
I like to use the dilutant brushes and rung brushes for making lines and shapes. You will have a set more control over the paint this way !
Some of the marks you can practice make :

  • Lines & Stripes – straight and curved
  • Dots & Dabs
  • Cross hairs
  • Triangles, Circles, Stars, Hearts, Squares
  • Practice Writing Words & Alphabet Letters

Let yourself “ scribble ” with the paintbrush and see where it takes you ! This can be a great way to practice having restraint over the brush .

Watercolor Fundamental #5: Lifting Off Paint With Watercolors

This is another good trick to know when you are learning how to watercolor. Once you paint an area, you can well take a dry brush or even a paper towel to lift off some of the paint .
This can be used to make some areas lighter, or you can even have playfulness with different mark have designs, such as polka dots or stripes !
once you get down these basic fundamentals for watercolors and the chief watercolour techniques, you are ready to start with even more fun watercolor painting techniques !

8 Watercolor Painting Tips & Tricks for Beginners

watercolor basics 101
now that we ’ ve gone over the basics, I thought I would parcel a few more tips & tricks I think are super helpful to know as a novice .
#1. Two Jars of Water: Yes, I know I already mentioned this. But, just in lawsuit you are like me and painted with watercolors all wrong for a good 25 years of your life always since that first specify of Crayola watercolors as a child and not slope to think of these obvious things… Yes, I am wholly mentioning it again. 🙂
#2. Tape Down Your Paper : This is another big tip off I wish I had known ! Wrinkled up paintings are NOT fun. Using tape to keep your paper in locate until the water is completely dry you will be able to have nice compressed pages ! { Come to think of it, this would likely be utilitarian for ANY type of wet desegregate media type of art work where wrinkled pages are a problem ! }
#3. Use the Just Right Amount of Water: The most common mistakes with watercolour is using either way besides much urine, or not using enough water .
sometimes lots of crazy amounts of water is a good and fun matter – but if you ’ re going for preciseness or trying to do a sealed effect, it could spell out catastrophe or frustration .
If you are using excessively much urine, you ’ ll have puddles and water pool on the surface of the newspaper. This can take constantly to dry, cause paint to go in directions you may not want it to, and can besides cause your colors to be much lighter than you might want them to be .
On the other hand, besides little body of water could mean your paints don ’ thymine run smoothly or that you end up wasting a batch of dependable paint every prison term you rinse off the brushes. With practice, you ’ ll start to get a adept find for how much is “ good right ” .
#4. Let the Watercolors Dry in Between Layers: It ’ s a good mind to let the watercolors dry a spot in between layers, particularly if you did a decent besotted wash and are ready to add details. Giving it time to dry first will make it easier to paint details with more accuracy and less spread .
#5. Avoid the Heat Gun: I LOVE my hotness accelerator when working with acrylics, however without a distribute of caution it can be a disaster with watercolors – largely because you will find out the force of the air pushes the water around. This can be used for courteous effects for dripping paint in shuffle media, but if you worked difficult on a painting it ’ randomness better to let it dry naturally .
#6. Work on a Level Surface: This is another one of those things that is credibly obvious, but international relations and security network ’ metric ton always obvious. One day I was working on a table external, alone to notice all of my paints were sort of running & pooling to the left english of the table. Turns out the board was not flush ! Oops ! If motivation be, you can always prop up with papers and books underneath .
#7. Take a Class: While this fuse will hopefully help you get started, taking a class or learning from an experience watercolor artist friend will change everything you know about watercolors !
I have met some fantastic artist friends locally through sites like You can besides often find watercolor classes at libraries, community colleges, and even local anesthetic high schools with adult community programs .
prefer to learn on-line at home ? Craftsy has some capital low-cost on-line watercolor classes – or even better even, you should wholly join their baby site Bluprint. You can check it out here AND get a free trial to watch ALL the 1,300+ videos – Talk about ooodles of creative inspiration !
#8. Practice, Practice, Practice! There ’ mho actually only one good way to ever get commodity at anything : practice ! fortunately, watercolors are not extremely messy and are extremist portable, which means you could easily exercise paint in watercolors for a little bit every day or even on a lunch break at function. Practice any and every chance you get !
Watercolors can be a LOT of playfulness, and it fair takes knowing a few of these tips & tricks to actually take it to a unharmed raw level. If you have ever struggled with watercolors like I have, I hope this post inspires you to give it another chance AND learn that it can be a bunch of bang-up fun – once you get the basics down !
I hope this post on how to paint with watercolors has inspired you to create something fun that you love- and of course, if you ’ d like to share any of your watercolour masterpieces – please DO join our Facebook community group – we ’ vitamin d sexual love to have you there ! { not painting a masterpiece ? No worries, Watercolor disaster paintings besides welcome in our group – we are super novice friendly and of course will answer any questions you may have ! }
Any watercolor tips for beginners you might want to parcel ? Any techniques or types of watercolor paintings you ’ d like to see us make videos on or publish tutorials for ? Any questions on what we ’ ve covered thus far ?
This is precisely the beginning of many more watercolor posts on our locate and I ’ five hundred love to hear your ideas in the comments below. And of path as always, feel free to ask any questions about working with watercolors below – I ’ m constantly happy to help !
Favorite Watercolor Supplies
Sharing is caring !


Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.