Have you ever wanted to try your hand at watercolor painting? It's more than just a beginner-friendly medium, but an exciting and rewarding one too. From choosing the right supplies and finding ideas for projects, to mastering the fundamentals of color theory and composition, getting proficient in this art form can feel like quite a challenge. With a few of these simple tips on how to get started in watercolor painting, you'll find yourself creating beautiful works of art in no time!
In this guide, we will show you how to get started with watercolor painting. We'll discuss what supplies are needed, where to find creative ideas for your artwork and how to apply the basics of watercolor painting in your own style. Whether you’re an experienced artist or just starting out, this guide will provide all the information needed to create stunning watercolor paintings from home
Watercolor painting is an incredibly rewarding and creative hobby. It allows you to express your unique artistic vision in a way that few other mediums can. Whether you are an experienced artist or someone who is just starting out, watercolor painting can provide hours of fun and relaxation.
The Basics - Supplies:
Getting started with watercolor painting requires some basic supplies, such as paints, brushes, paper and most importantly -- Water! Although there are many different options available, it's important to choose the right supplies for your specific needs. Additionally, having some ideas of what you want to create will help make sure that your experience with watercolor painting is enjoyable and productive. With the right tools and inspiration in hand, anyone can get started in watercolor painting.
Watercolor paper is especially important as it is durable, absorbent, and can withstand some beatings from a brush, and multiple washes. Painting with watercolor on any other paper is going to be messy, and the paper will tear very easily. If you are just getting started you can find some very cheap, and easy to use paper at your local art supply store like Michael's. For beginners, I definitely recommend avoiding expensive 300 lb. paper as you are going to be making a lot of playful paintings (and lots of happy accidents) and will need some cheap paper to get through your initial stages of learning. It's best to shoot for 140lb Cold Press Paper such as Canson's XL Watercolor Paper.
Don't worry if you are just getting started, the weight of different papers will become clear to you as you get experience with painting more. For now, just try to avoid any paper under 140lbs. and you will be able to put down some decent washes, and be painting masterpieces in no time.
Starting out painting in watercolor can be daunting on your first trip to the art supply store. There are just so many varieties of paints to choose from! Blocks, palettes, cakes, tubes, wet-dyes, pencils, you name it there's hundreds of different styles of watercolor paints!
In this artist's opinion, it's best to start with the original style of liquid tube paints. Originally, artists used to grind up naturally colored vegetables, flowers, stones, and fruits mixed with egg to color their palettes. We have come quite a long way since then. Simply the easiest to paint with, and the most fluid, these liquid paints in a tube will give you the quickest, freshest large washes of vibrant colors so you can be painting like a pro in no time. I would recommend starting with a beginner set such as the Winsor and Newton Cotman set. This set will last you a long time, as you will only need a dollop of paint to get large, vibrant, and juicy washes! A pro-tip for beginners, don't be afraid to use a good bit of paint from time to time. Vibrant colors make for stunning visuals.
Arguably the hardest material to choose, and the most varietal, we can make this super easy for you. You will only need three brushes to get started with watercolor painting. Those are a Small, Medium, and Large Round brush. That's it! So simple even a kindergartner can remember. The large round brush will be for applying lots of water and pigment to create backgrounds, and large washes of color. The medium round brush will apply all sorts of mid-tone values to your paintings defining the scene. And finally, the small round brush will be to paint little details and shapes that add to the final marks of your painting. It's that easy to get started with brushes. I would definitely recommend this beginner set to make your life easier when you are getting started with watercolor. It actually comes with 5 brushes, a large, two mediums, and two smalls so you can choose which size you like as you become more familiar with how they create brushstrokes across your page.
And last, but definitely not least:
For painting any size painting I recommend having TWO water basins. One with fresh water, and one for the dirty-paint water. The trick is to initially wet your brush in the clean water, grab some pigment, and rinse your brush in the dirty paint water. The clear water is first, then you pick up pigment with your brush to ensure clean, vibrant washes on your paper. Finally, you rinse in your dirty-wash basin. Once you finish with one color, it's as easy, as rinse, rinse, repeat!
If you think watercolor is for you, check out the recommended shopping list and see if you find comfort in creating some colorful magic at home:
Where do I find Inspiration?
Quite simply, the answer is EVERYWHERE! Human beings are naturally creative, and we can see beauty in even the most mundane of objects.
Find yourself staring in awe at the sunrise or sunset? Paint it!
Eyes lingering on the way the light is coming through your curtains? Paint it!
Do you love your pets? Paint them!
Love the sky on your way to work in the morning? Snap a picture and paint it!
The best way to get better at painting, is to paint things that challenge you, but that are also beautiful. Don't worry about capturing all the details, watercolor is not about that, especially not at first. It's about letting the flow of water carry the beautiful colors you see, and emotions you feel into the hearts of others.
Have fun painting, but most importantly, be kind to yourself, and let the process carry you away!