How to Paint with Watercolors for Beginners

Apr 6, 2021 | 1 comment

In this post, you’ll learn all about how to paint with watercolors for beginners. If you’re looking for an easy introduction to watercolors, read on whenever you’re ready.

For beginners, watercolors can look a little daunting, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. It is actually a fun medium to use for artworks, although it can be a bit intimidating at first.

There are a lot of tips and tricks that make painting using a watercolor a lot easier and this is what we are going to be talking about in this post.

watercolor painting for beginners

Materials and their uses

To get started, you’ll need a couple of things like a set of different brushes, jars of water, paper, and of course, watercolor. You don’t need much and these supplies are easy to find and are inexpensive.

  1. Watercolor Paints. The first thing you need to do when you get your watercolor is to make a color chart. Color charts will allow you to tell how your watercolors look like on paper.
  2. Brushes. The types of brushes will vary by artist. If you like tiny details, you’ll have to have tiny brushes. It’s best to have a couple of brushes of different sizes so that you won’t be limited when you are making your artwork.
  3. Watercolor Paper. Watercolor paper is another important factor when it comes to watercolor. If you want your painting to look great and turn out beautiful, you’ll have to get paper that’s made for watercolors. But you don’t really have to paint watercolor on watercolor paper only. You can use watercolor on any paper, although the result will vary and won’t be as good when using a watercolor paper.
  4. Two Jars of Water. A simple hack from one watercolor artist to the next is to have two separate jars of water when painting. One jar is for rinsing your brushes and the other is clean water for painting and mixing up your colors. A simple yet very useful tip! This way, you won’t have to constantly change your water, and your colors will be a lot crisper and clearer especially when you are working with lighter shades.
  5. Cloth. You will also need a cloth or paper towel to blot off excess paint or water. It will also be handy in case you spill your water.
  6. Washi Tape or Masking Tape. We’re letting you in on another trick – using masking tape or washi tape to stick your paper on the table. Taping down your paper is a good idea to keep it flat as the paint dries. The watercolor paper likes to curl up and contort when it’s introduced to water. Using painter’s masking tape or washi tape usually works well. Keep the paper taped down until the paint is dry.

how to paint with watercolors for beginners

The General Process

Watercolors are easy to use and very low-maintenance. If you have a watercolor palette, spray it with water to hydrate the colors your wish to use. Wet your brush, dab in the pigment of your choice, and put it on paper. Simple!

By adjusting the amount of water on your brush, you can control the shade of your pigments. For lighter shades, you’d have to use more water. The lesser the water you use, the more opaque your colors will be.

Starter Tips and Techniques

There are so many different techniques and tips to make using watercolors easier. Of course, you’ll need to learn the basics first.

Mixing Colors

You don’t have to buy a set with all the colors as they can be very costly. You can mix your own colors instead!

The easiest way to mix colors is to use a palette, plate, or the lid of your watercolor. Moisten a pigment, incorporate water into it, and dab it into a palette or slick surface. Get another pigment and mix it into the first one. Make your own pigments by mixing the colors you already have.

Some basic color combinations are:

  • red + blue = purple
  • yellow + blue = green
  • yellow + red = orange
  • orange + blue = brown
  • yellow +red + blue + black

Wet on Wet Painting Technique

In this technique, the first thing you do is to paint a layer of clean water on your paper. While the paper is still wet, add in your pigments on top of this layer of water.

The paint will flow wherever the water is. This technique will give you nice soft edges and will also blend your complementary colors together easily.

Wet on Dry Painting Technique

With this, you don’t have to wet your paper. You simply just wet your brush, get your pigment, and paint straight to your dry paper. This technique will give you defined edges and you’ll have stronger control over where you want the paint to go.

Layering and Blending Technique

Learning how to layer with watercolors is how you give your artwork more depth. This is what makes watercolors look unique on paper.

Remember to always start with the lightest colors first. You can keep building those lighter colors until you get what you want and then you can go on with the darker pigments.

Make sure to let the watercolors dry in between layers. And be informed that watercolors will be reactivated when you paint water oven them again. If not careful, you can easily muddy up the paints together and ruin your colors.

Practice and experiment with layering and blending with watercolors to improve your results.

Lifting Off Paint with Watercolors

This trick can come in handy in learning how to paint with watercolors for beginners. When you lay on too much paint on an area, you can easily lift off some paint by using a dry brush or a paper towel.

You can use this trick to make some areas lighter or use it as a fun way to add details to your art, like stripes or polka dots.

Here’s a fun YouTube watercolor tutorial for beginners to get you started~

Painting with watercolors is a lot of fun, you just have to learn the basics and learn some tips and tricks along the way to improve. Of course, it will take lots of practice to master something, and painting with watercolors is no exception.

I hope this post has inspired you to pick up your brush and create something new. Enjoy your art journey!

Visit our blog for more inspiration.

Renee Alexis

20-something Filipina, an introvert who loves young adult fiction, brush pens, Taylor Swift, and Mobile Legends. Coffee runs in my bloodstream.
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