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The Basics of Watercolor Painting - A Beginner's Guide

Watercolor painting is a form of art that is loved and appreciated by many people. It is a unique form of painting that uses water-soluble pigments to create stunning artworks that capture the beauty and essence of the subject. If you are interested in learning how to paint with watercolors, this beginner's guide will give you the basics you need to get started.

Materials needed

Materials you will need for watercolor painting
Materials you will need for watercolor painting

To start painting with watercolors, you will need the following materials:

  • Watercolor paper: This paper is specially made to absorb water and prevent the colors from bleeding. It is available in different weights, textures, and sizes.

  • Watercolor paints: Watercolor paints come in different forms, including tubes, pans, and liquids. They are available in various colors, and you can mix them to create new shades.

  • Brushes: Watercolor brushes come in different shapes and sizes. The most common shapes are round, flat, and filbert.

  • Water: You will need clean water to mix with the paint and clean your brushes.

  • Palette: You will need a palette to mix your paints.

I have written a detailed blog about the Best tools for beginner watercolor artists. I have listed everything from papers to brush in this blog. If you are a watercolor beginner, I recommend you to check out this blog.

Basic techniques

Basic watercolor techniques
Basic watercolor techniques

Before you start painting, it is essential to learn some basic techniques. These techniques will help you create different effects and textures with your watercolors. Some of the basic techniques include:

  • Wet-on-wet: This technique involves wetting the paper first before applying the paint. It creates a soft and blended effect.

  • Wet-on-dry: This technique involves applying the paint on a dry surface. It creates a sharper and more defined effect.

  • Dry brush: This technique involves using a dry brush to create texture and depth.

  • Lifting: This technique involves lifting the paint with a wet brush or tissue to create highlights or correct mistakes.

I am a self-taught artist and I know the problems self-taught watercolor artists face every time. To help you more, I explained 5 basic watercolor techniques Every Beginner Should Know in this blog. These techniques will help you to improve your watercolor skills.

Color theory

Color chart
Color chart

Understanding color theory is crucial in watercolor painting. It helps you choose the right colors and create harmonious compositions. The primary colors in the watercolor paintings are yellow, red, and blue. You can mix these colors to create secondary colors such as green, orange, and purple.

Planning your composition

Read books that helps you understand the composition
Read books that helps you understand the composition

Before you start painting, it is important to plan your composition. This involves deciding on the subject, choosing the colors, and sketching the layout. You can use reference photos or live subjects to create your composition.

Painting techniques

Once you have planned your composition and understood the basic techniques, you can start painting. Here are some tips to help you paint with watercolors:

  • Start with light washes and gradually build up the layers.

  • Use a clean brush and water to blend the colors.

  • Allow each layer to dry completely before adding another layer.

  • Work from light to dark and from big to small.

  • Use different brush strokes to create different textures and effects.


Keep practicing to improve your skills
Keep practicing to improve your skills

Practice is essential to improve your watercolor painting skills. Start with simple subjects and gradually move to more complex ones. Experiment with different techniques and colors to find your style.

In conclusion, watercolor painting is a beautiful and rewarding form of art. With the right materials, techniques, and practice, you can create stunning artworks that capture the beauty and essence of the subject. Start with the basics and gradually improve your skills to become a master watercolor painter.

I would like to tell you about the monthly membership I am offering to all of my readers. In this monthly membership, you will get a step-by-step painting tutorial every month with a member-only blog. You will also receive a newsletter. If you are interested, you can check it out or if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

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