How To Paint In Watercolors?
I have been asking myself that question a lot, and so after doing some research, I decided to try painting with watercolor! It is so much fun!!!!
If you are a beginner, let me walk you through this quick guide on how to learn painting in watercolor – from which supplies to use to what basic techniques you should learn 🙂
It all starts with your supplies! So, let me walk you through what you need:
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Lower on this page I will insert a video of me painting with watercolors using Mungyo Watercolor Paints.
They have great colors and are a tiny bit expensive because the quality is very professional! I bought them at a local art store, but you can check them out for yourself at Amazon.com right here.
You can also go with other popular brands, such as:
Winsor & Newton, which are widely known for their quality product. These paints are on the “medium” level one cansay. They are not the cheap 5$ paints that will not listen to you and create cheap looking pieces, but they are also not the 300$ highlyprofessional paints (which you most probably don’t need right now. But if you want them, you can always search some up on Amazon!)
Winsor & Newton replace some of the costly pigments with more affordable ones to keep the high quality and stay affordable 🙂
I personally love them!
If you are looking for something even more affordable, I would suggest going with the Pantel Arts which are more economical, but I still find that they work very well! 🙂
If you want to read about all sorts of brushes there are with links to them, please click on this link right here, where I go into details about every brush. I won’t go into much detail here since this post is not about supplies, but rather to tell you everything in short about how to paint in watercolors (and with what supplies!)
Some quality brushes I can Suggest are Artify Professional Watercolor Brushes!
Just so you know, brushes are an investment! A long time ago I thought that all the brushes are the same and any will do, and I had to pay for my mistakes! Cheap brushes have bristles that are poorly connected to the handle, and therefore they come out and end up on your art piece! Not only does it look ugly, but it is also very annoying!
You can also check out this list that has a couple more great brush sets that I recommend!
Watercolor also requires a specific type of paper. Paper has to weight more in order for it to work well with watercolor. The more it weight – the better it absorbs water without smushing together or creating unwanted bumps! Here are the top 3 watercolor paper pads that I use and recommend : Canson, Pentalic and Strathmore. Check out the links below to read more about them!
Pallet, Tissue Paper and Water Cup
Any plastic pallet will do, but if you are buying a good quality watercolors set you are most probably going to have one in the box (the tiny squares and rectangles surrounding the watercolors)
Tissue paper or a rug are needed in case you drop too much water on your paper, or put too much paint and want to tone it down. It’s a very simple but useful tool!
And the water cup is pretty self-explanatory 😉
Now let’s get into some technical details! Because you are working with watercolors, you need to practice how to properly use “opacity” in your pieces. With watercolors it is pretty simple since the more water you add to your paint – the less opaque it will become!
I would suggest taking a sheet of good watercolor paper and trying to add more and less water, so you can begin feeling the paint.
If you are like me and you work a lot in digital or oil painting, you will soon begin to wonder “How do I blend in Watercolor?”. And the answer to it is pretty simple – practice!
The technical aspect of it is:
Imagine a circle “O”. You first paint it in one color – for example, light red. Then, if you want to create a realistic shadow at the bottom of it – pick a darker red and cover the part of the shape you want in shadow. Now, clean your brush, water it down and go over the line that separated the two colors. And that’s it! Because watercolor paints react to water – the two edges will blend together 🙂 Simple, right?
I’m so used to oil painting that my brain works like this: fill up shapes in base color, add shadows and light at the end.
Well, painting in watercolors is the opposite! Your whites – are your canvas! Therefore, you DON’T TOUCH THEM!!!! Which means that you have to begin with them (by knowing where the lightest parts of your art will be) and then you go into base colors and shadows!
It’s a totally different process, but with just a little bit of practice, it will become second nature to you 🙂
I also like to add some highlights at the end with my favorite white gel pen!
You can check my process out in the video I made last year 🙂
There are a couple of ways of mixing paints in watercolor! WARNING: please do not put paint on your brush and then go to a different color cube and try to mix it there! You will ruin the original color! You have spaces on sides and a pallet that are made specifically for color mixing 🙂
Let’s say that you want to create a unique dark green color and you decide to mix a yellow, a blue and a bit of black to achieve it! To do that, dip your brush in clean water and grab a little bit of yellow to put on your pallet. Clean the brush. Kepp a bit of water and grab some blue to put close to the yellow on your pallet. Clean the brush. Keep a bit of water and add a touch of black close to the two and only then mix them together in one! Then make adjustments as needed.
There you go, you mixed yourself a nice unique color! 🙂
A different approach would be to put watered down yellow color on the paper, and while it’s still wet add some blue to it. Or you can put a layer of yellow, let it dry and then paint low opacity blue on top.
Play around with all the different options out there and find a way that feels the most natural to you 🙂
So there you go! This is the end of “How To Paint In Watercolors Beginner’s Guide Part 1”. Part 2 is coming soon, and in there we will go deeper into the basic techniques one should know, such as: Dry on Dry, Wet on Dry, Dry on Wet and Wet on Wet techniques! Can’t wait! 🙂
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Good luck on Your Art Path,
Your Art Bud 😉