Easy Watercolor Painting For Beginners

What Are The Basic Watercolor Techniques

Easy Watercolor Painting Ideas for Beginners Step by Step

There are quite a lot of different ways you can use watercolor paint, all of them resulting in different and beautiful effects. The most commonly used techniques are wet-on-wet or wet-on-dry. As you learn about watercolor and how to use these methods, you will soon realize that the door has only just been opened. There are so many different techniques that fall under each method. For the wet-on-wet method, you prime your paper with a thin layer of water and then apply wet paint. For the wet-on-dry method, you allow your surface to dry first, or paint on a blank page without any water priming.

Watercolor Painting Tutorials For Creative Concepts

If you want to expand your watercolor ideas, you can always try out something different from the standard flower and landscape images through means of abstract watercolor paintings. Unique watercolor ideas from mesmerizing galaxies to dainty butterflies will help you develop your watercolor art. Most of these painting ideas can be put together to create one striking watercolor painting or can be painted as a stunning stand-alone piece. If youre new to the world of watercolor paints, your safest bet is to practice each of these on their own before combining any.

Creating a Watercolor Butterfly

Painting watercolor butterflies are an awesome way to exercise your creative brain, whether you want to add a delicate butterfly to an already-existing painting or want to make it the main focus. Start by creating an outline of the butterfly wings and the middle of the butterflys body with a wet brush . Grab a light color and paint the outline of the top wings with this shade. Use a darker shade for the bottom wings.

You can use different complementary colors for the outside of the wings vs. the inside. Fill in the butterflys body and antlers with a black or brown shade. You can continue to add details to the wings as you see fit, depending on which butterfly you based your painting on. This method will only take a few minutes at best and helps to create a basic yet beautiful butterfly to add to a stunning landscape.

Creating a Watercolor Galaxy

Did These Easy Watercolor Paintings Help You

I sure hope they did. I know how it feels when you badly want to do something in your art journal but still need some guidance and practice.

Thats why I made these mini-tutorials, to show you that, even if youre only a beginner, you can paint with watercolor and still be happy with it.

Painting with watercolors is enjoyable and I love the looseness and the softness it delivers.

Every skill needs practice, so dont neglect your watercolor stash and I promise you that, after practicing, youll get better and better at it.

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Blend Watercolor Paint Wet On Dry

Another common issue for beginners is blending smoothly instead of getting blotches of colors with hard edges, especially on dry paper.

Hard edges can be neat and all. But sometimes you just want a flawless, smooth color change.

Well this video does a great job of showing how to create smooth color gradients and blend colors together on the page, even if theyre already dry!

Painting Light Foliage Over Dark Backgrounds

55 Very Easy Watercolor Painting Ideas For Beginners â Femina Talk

One of the biggest rules of watercolors is to paint dark over light, because due to the translucency of watercolor you cant paint a light color over a dark one.

So how the heck are you supposed to paint something light, like a yellow bush, over something dark, like a night sky?

This video tut will show you the trick to painting light foliage that looks like its actually in front of a dark background.

Hint: the secret is a handy little substance called masking fluid.

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Adding Figures To The Scene

Figures add a focal point to the scene. They are not that difficult to do. Take a small round brush and place a small dot for the head. Underneath the dot paint a short tapering line downwards for the body and legs. Thats it! To ground the figures in the scene, I painted a few lines underneath them to represent their reflections.

Complete the scene by adding some dark spots in the foreground to represent stones on the wet sand. Place a little line underneath each one as they have reflections too.

Tip : Get The Right Supplies

Heres what you need to start watercolour painting:

  • Watercolour paint: I recommend Daniel Smith, Sennelier, Schmincke, Winsor & Newton. Find a set of colours to give you a great range for a manner of subjects.
  • Watercolour paper: cold pressed paper is textured and absorbent so its great for heavy washes. If you want to use less heavy washes but render fine details, I recommend getting hot pressed paper.
  • Watercolour brushes: get some extra soft brushes that hold a lot of water. You dont need many brushes for watercolour painting. You can get away with just using one smaller size . If you want to cover large areas of paper, get a larger sized round or flat brush.
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    Wet On Wet Paired With Wet On Dry Technique

    For this part of our easy watercolor painting tutorial, we will learn how to paint water using watercolor paint! You can use this method to create an ocean or a lake. The same method is often used when painting a sunset with watercolor or even for other kinds of landscapes. Water, however, may seem quite challenging to create with paint. That said, if done correctly and the right technique is used, you should be pleased with your end results. First, we once again paint our section with a thin water layer.

    While still wet, we will use a very similar action as we used for the gradient effect but, instead of covering the entire page or section, we will create negative space by pulling our hand back to interrupt the motion. While the paint is still wet, we will create some darker contrast using a small amount of black or very dark blue. Then, using the same darker blue shade of paint we will put darker strokes starting at the bottom of the page. You should fade this darkness as you reach the top of the page by using less frequent strokes with less pressure.

    To finish your piece off, you can add some final flecks and strokes with white paint to help create the light reflections on the water.

    Lets Talk About Materials


    If you are here looking for easy watercolor painting ideas I would assume you have the necessary materials. But just to be clear heres a list of the supplies used to paint each of the following pieces. For more details about the supplies be sure to check out watercolor paint brushes, watercolor papers and best watercolor setup.

    All paintings shown here use the following palette yellow ochre, lemon yellow, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, alizarin crimson, cadmium red light, burnt sienna and neutral tint.

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    Modern Abstract Watercolor Painting

    Sometimes the best way to find your creative flow is to paint random patterns and shapes. If you’re doing this, it can be helpful to think about what colours you might like to use before you begin. The finished result will be random and uniquely yours you can guarantee that no one else will have the same painting as you! Have a go at this abstract painting exercise from The Creativity Exchange.

    Monochrome Painting For Beginners

    Looking for easy watercolor painting ideas? Sometimes painting in a single colour can be incredibly striking. If you’re getting into watercolor painting, have a go at monochrome painting to see what you can create. This monochrome painting for beginners project by Esther Curtis is an excellent starting point if you want to give it a go. In this project, Esther has used some white gouache paint on top of blue watercolour paint to bring out the design this is a great way to add highlights to your watercolor designs, so it’s worth adding a tube to your art supplies.

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    Trying Out Beginner Watercolor Techniques

    Watercolor techniques make a major difference in the overall outcome of your painting, as each technique offers a vastly different finish to the next. Here are some methods which are useful for all watercolor beginners to be familiar with, so that they can create different textures and details. This is what you will need:

    • A watercolor set
    • Watercolor brushes
    • Watercolor paper
    • A dish for mixing watercolors
    • A bowl or jar of water

    Dining Chair Easy Idea #1

    55 Very Easy Watercolor Painting Ideas For Beginners â Femina Talk

    The first watercolor painting, try a simple chair. This is a great project for beginners because it is fairly easy and the results are always interesting.

    • Start by sketching out a basic outline of the chair on paper.
    • Once you have the basic shape down, begin to add the lighter values, then gradually go darker, finishing with darkest values in the chair.
    • and cast shadow.
    • Dont forget to add the cast shadow, I kept mine light in value so that it didnt compete with the dark values of the chair.

    Technique: Start with wet-in-wet technique. Pre-wet the surface, but not too much, and started painting the lighter values. The wash was free to bleed and run in whatever direction it wished because the paper was still wet.

    Thicker paint is used for each additional layer. The details, which are the stripes, were added last because you want them to hold their shape. This helps give the chair some volume and shape.


    Here are some other chair ideas you can try.

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    What Exactly Is Wet On Wet Technique In Watercolor Painting

    Popular among watercolorists, the wet on wet technique refers to applying dabs of clean water for the paper to become moist and then painting the watercolor on that damp paper. Following the water, the wet paint will generate aesthetic effects. The outcomes tend to depend on how skilled you are. That said, practice will allow you to ace this technique.

    Easy Watercolor Painting For Beginners Step By Step

    This is a stepbystep guide for painting a landscape using watercolor.

  • Begin by sketching out the basic outline of your landscape on paper. Use loose, easy strokes to get a general idea of the composition.
  • Next, start painting the sky with a light blue or white color. Add some clouds for realism.
  • Fill in the landscape with light green and yellow colors. Use a light hand to avoid overworking the paint.
  • Next, add darker green and yellow colors to the areas that will be in shadow. Use a slightly heavier hand to create depth and interest.
  • Finally, add touches of red, orange, and brown to the highlights to create a more natural look. Use a light hand when painting these colors to avoid appearing too intense.
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    Shaded Watercolor Sphere Exercise

    The intensity of the values is built up from light to dark. the highlight of the sphere is the lightest tone and has been left white so that we can see the paper underneath . A light wash is applied over the rest of the sphere.

    Once the first layer of paint is dry, another wash is applied to intensify the tone, making sure to leave a lighter zone around the highlight. This wash has been blended to try and get a smooth gradient. You do this by rinsing your brush, blotting off some of the water, then using the brush to smooth out the wet paint.

    Leave the paint to dry again, then apply a new darker wash of paint to the shaded half of the sphere. Again you need to blend this wash to get a smooth edge.

    Let the paint dry again, then lay down a final wash over the darkest third of the sphere, blending the edges of the paint like before.

    Finally, you can add a dark wash to the area of cast shadow. This time leave a non blended crisp edge to the shadow shape.

    Dark To Light Wash Stroke Practice Exercise

    Easy Watercolor Temple Painting | For Beginners | Art Lesson
  • Load a large brush with thick, wet paint. And, just drag it across dry paper.
  • Dip your brush in water and rinse it slightly. Now apply another horizontal stroke touching the first stroke. Dilute the paint by adding water for each stroke.
  • For the last few strokes, use clear water and the color from the previous stroke. This will create the lighter tones. The color should get lighter with every stroke.
  • End with mopping up the extra color.
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    Technique #: Whitespace And Brush Control

    The last technique Ill share is the signature element that all of my paintings are known for – whitespace! I like to break down complicated motifs into simple flat paintings and break each element up with thin white lines. Having thin lines of paper show through sections of the illustration is about more than just creating a modern aesthetic. It also keeps the wet paint from bleeding into other areas and allows me to move on to other areas of my painting before waiting for the paint to dry.

    My technique to achieve this look is simple – brush control. Some artists use a tool called masking fluid to achieve this look, but I love to create whitespace by using a very refined detail brush and simply painting carefully.

    The easiest way Ive found to get this level of detail is to start painting your area with a medium sized brush, and then finish with a smaller detail brush.

    To start playing with whitespace, draw your motif on your watercolor paper. Youll use the pencil marks from your sketch as a guide for where your whitespace will go. Since no paint will go on top of those pencil marks, youll be able to erase them once your paint is completely dry.

    In my example, Ive painted the larger areas of this eyeball with a medium sized brush, and finished them off with a small detail brush. When the paint was completely dry, I erased my pencil marks and was left with a beautiful whitespace painting!

    Wet On Dry Stroke Practice Exercise

  • Start with a dry surface. Youll get different results on cold pressed and hot pressed watercolor paper.
  • Moist a medium-size brush with clean water and pick up some paint. Water dilutes paint. So, experiment with the amount of water, and see how the transparency of the paint changes.
  • Apply a simple shape outline, like a circle or a rectangle. Use smooth strokes in the same direction to fill it in. I like to start with small shapes, so that I can paint them quickly before it gets dry.
  • When the shape is completely dry, pick up some more of the same paint and paint a smaller shape over a part of the first shape.
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    Back Runs Or The Cauliflower Technique

    The black runs or cauliflower technique is very common and used quite frequently amongst watercolor painters. It can help create some very beautiful color combinations and effects that are hard to replicate. In our mini-tutorial for this technique, we will show you how to create abstract flowers. Another excellent method to master.

    First, we apply a water layer to the demarcated section of the paper. You can use a bright and vivid orange color or mix one yourself. Apply a stroke at the top of your section and allow your hand to move left and right as you move towards the bottom of the page.

    This time, we want to leave the page to dry until damp and not fully dry. You will now select another color and dot the page with a blob of paint. Once the red paint seeps into the dampness of the page, you can add another blob of color over it. We have used blue for this. You will notice that the paint has what is called a back run effect and it stops as the page dries. This creates a beautiful and classic watercolor effect.

    Do not get too precise about this or the shape of the petals. Keep your hand loose and body relaxed.

    Paint With Adobe Fresco

    42 Simple Watercolor Painting Ideas For Beginners

    Whether youre filling out your own digital sketchbook, painting watercolors for holiday cards, bookmarks, or other gifts, you can do it anywhere with Adobe Fresco. Choose from a huge variety of live brushes that blend and blossom like real paint. Discover how to paint with realistic watercolors, and try it for yourself with a step-by-step tutorial on how to paint an underwater scene with jellyfish.

    Take your watercolors wherever you go, and keep refining your eye and your hand. Be bold with your brushstrokes, and remember the wisdom of Bob Ross: We dont make mistakes, just happy little accidents.

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    Paint The Cloud’s Shadow

    Before you start applying the colors, tilt your paper at a 30 degree angle by just placing masking tape or any object below. This will help the colors and water to flow downward. If you see excess water flowing down, just grab a tissue and lift off the extra water. Then start applying the gray color that we mixed earlier on the wet paper, leaving the gaps in between.

    What Are The Different Watercolor Techniques

    There are so many different watercolor techniques out there for you to try, and each technique can be adjusted. experimented with. It is entirely possible that while you are learning how to watercolor that you stumble upon a technique or method that nobody else has! Some of the most commonly used watercolor techniques include the gradient technique, which is when you paint a seamless fade of color. Another awesome one to try is dry brushing, which helps to add texture to your artwork as well as some details.

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