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What are some beginner tips with watercolor?

I want to get into watercolor and I'm curious about how I should start. I have the materials, but I do not know how to blend or etc., or anything in that matter when it comes to this style of painting.

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T.J.’s Answer

Hello Rei!

I struggle with watercolor... So Much.
While watercolor challenges you (and makes you want to toss your brush sometimes), it is actually a fun art form!
Two of the best places to get beginners tips for watercolor are these artists:

- Jenna Rainey. She's a highly skilled watercolor artist. Her YouTube channel contains more than 30 videos on watercolor. Here's a playlist of her Watercolor Basics!

- Allison Lyon Art. She's another watercolor painter, with a focus on nature-inspired pictures. Her videos are calming, encouraging, and helpful. Check out her Watercolor Lesson 1 Video!

If you want to start painting objects, here's Allison's playlist of Watercolor Tutorials as well:

The videos will lead you in the right direction. Just be patient with yourself and you'll get the hang of it! (Don't toss your brushes 😄).

Sending you encouragement as you learn watercolor :)
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Ellen’s Answer

Hi Rei

Watercolor is a unique art medium that many artists love for its freshness and sparkling quality. It is also easy to take along on trips to paint, and can be a relatively inexpensive art medium for beginners. Some artists create finished watercolor paintings with watercolor, while others use watercolor for sketches in preparation for oil or acrylic paintings, and many artists nowadays combine watercolor with other art media, such as color pencils, tempera paint, or collage to create 'mixed media" artworks. Before computer graphics came along, watercolor was used extensively by illustrators for books, magazines, and advertisements.

Watercolor can be hard to control, and learning to control it takes practice, but the time spent is totally worth it. A good watercolor has a "sparkling" quality and a freshness that is totally unique. Someone else gave you some websites to check out, but in addition, as an art teacher who taught young artists about watercolor, here are a few of my tips for traditional watercolor painting.

Start with a good drawing that defines your composition; after you are done, go over your lines with an eraser so that they are very faint. If the pencil lines are too dark, the graphite from the pencil will turn your paint muddy. I sometimes had my students go over their drawings in color pencil, which helps to save the drawing as you paint, since watercolor paint has a tendency to run, the color pencils lines acts as a barrier to keep the color inside the shapel Start off painting simple objects, such as pieces of fruit or flowers, or simple landscapes; just to get used to the paint.

Use watercolor paper; "cold press" is rough; "hot press" is smooth. To start with you can buy pads of relatively inexpensive watercolor paper at art supply stores or online, which is thicker than regular drawing paper, and can stand up to the paint better. Watercolor paper is white or off white.

If you are using a watercolor set with square of oval "pans" of color, put a drop or two of water into each pan to moisten the paint before you start painting. Do not paint directly from the pans, but use the cover of your watercolor set (or a plate) as a palette, where you can mix your colors and see what they will look like on your paper.

Water is your friend in watercolor. The watercolor paint should flow off your brush easily. Watercolor is a transparent paint medium; if your strokes look scratchy or rough, add more water. And change your water as needed; do not paint with "dirty" water. Once the paint is dry, you could go over your painted areas again to darken them. Keep your watercolor painting flat until it is dry.

Some artists wet their entire paper before painting, and tape down the sides with masking tape to keep the edges from curling, but you don't have to. When the paper is really wet, it sometimes causes the paint to spread too much, and it can be difficult to control for beginners. To start with, you could paint with the paper dry, or you could moisten the paper with a brush dipped in clean water in small areas before you paint. As a beginner, take your time as you paint. After you get more experienced, you could try painting with wet paper and see some of more splashy effects you can get from watercolor.

So there are a few beginners tips. Happy Painting!
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Daniela’s Answer

Ok, here it is. Watercolor 101, from an illustrator and watercolor teacher:

To get started with watercolor here's what I recommend.

Before getting mixed in with color start monochromatic. Pick one color and start experimenting there.

Start experimenting with the paint. There are FOUR main ways to use watercolor:
1. Wet on wet (Wert the paper and use a paintbrush watered down pigment)
2. Dry on wet (Wet the paper and add paint with the paintbrush mostly loaded with pigment)
3. Wet on dry. (Use the paintbrush loaded with paint and water on dry paper)
4. Dry on dry. (Use the paintbrush with very little water, mostly loaded with pigment on dry paper)

After that, I'd start by studying basic shapes: Sphere, Cube and a pyramid.
Look at how the light bounces on these objects and try to recreate that with your paint. See which of the four techniques works the best depending on the effect you're trying to achieve. (I recommend still using one. color for this.)

After that start studying the color wheel. Primary colors, secondary and tertiary.
Try isolating two and creating a smooth path between them to connect them.
Repeat with all the primary and secondary colors.

Although there are many steps after that. Different materials, shapes, depth, contrast......
this might help you get started.

Hope this helps!