Watercolor Painting Tips for Beginners

The question as to which kind of paint is easiest to work with is one bound to yield different answers. True enough, the ease or difficulty of using a specific type of paint largely depends on the person using it, particularly on the person’s skill and desired effect.

Watercolor, albeit a tricky medium to work with, comes with certain advantages. For one, it is cheap compared to acrylic and oil paint. It also gives off a muted and somewhat dreamy image that could be difficult to achieve with other types of paint, especially oil.

If this is your first time trying out watercolor painting, there are certain things you should bear in mind:

Buy good materials. Watercolor is already tricky as it is and using low-quality materials can make it more difficult to work with. Purchase small tubes of watercolors at first so you could get a feel of its quality. This way, you can easily buy another brand in case you don’t like the one you’ve first purchased. Buy good brushes, as well. Watercolor paint is rather fragile and the last thing you’d want is brush hair ruining your painting. As for paper, buy a sheet of heavy paper. Surely, watercolor pads are very easy to use, but they can be quite expensive so opt for thick sheets of paper initially.

Start with easy designs. Watercolor takes some getting used to, so take it easy. Make light pencil sketches on a sheet of paper, preferably of simple shapes at first. Choose one color and use it to fill in the shape you’ve sketched. Try adding or reducing the amount of water you add to the paint to see how different consistencies can affect the final color and the design. Practice with different strokes as well. This will allow you to get comfortable with the medium and your materials.

Gradually increase difficulty. Once you already know the consistency you are most comfortable working with, start adding more colors or doing more intricate designs. Bear in mind that watercolor is runny, dries fast, and remains soluble even after it has dried. Before coloring in a design, you might want to test the color combinations on a different sheet of paper first to find out how well the colors will go with each other. Work slowly and carefully, or else you might end up ruining what you have already finished.

Learn how to fix painting “mistakes”. The good thing about watercolor paint is that you do not have to redo the whole painting if you commit a minor slip. There are two fixes you could do. First, you can paint over the mistake while the paint is still wet, thereby mixing the colors and creating a new pattern. To do this successfully, make sure to swatch the colors first on a different paper. Second, you can wait for the paint to dry before painting it over. Make sure, however, that the second coat of paint is darker than the first one to make sure that the initial color doesn’t show through.

Mastering watercolor painting can take years of practice, so don’t be discouraged if you encounter difficulties at first. Just keep on practicing and enjoy the experience.

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