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Painting With Watercolors for the First Time: An Instructional Guide to Watercolor Painting

May.17.2021
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watercolor for beginners

Painting with Watercolors for Beginners

Are you looking to start watercolor painting? Luckily for you, we have created this article to help creative beginners with learning watercolor painting. With this watercolor for beginners guide, you will be able to go from a novice to a blossoming watercolor painter with our easy step-by-step instructions and tips on painting with watercolors for beginners. There is a lot to learn when it comes to the art of watercolor painting, but there is also a lot of room to experiment.

As a beginner, it is important to enjoy painting and focus on learning the foundational technique as well as exploring your own creative intuition. Watercolor isn’t particularly forgiving, but abstract watercolor paintings can be incredibly beautiful and don’t have to require a lot of precision and skill level. Anyone can make a beautiful watercolor painting, but it is also helpful to learn some important tips and helpful tools to allow you to speak through your art and create work you are very proud of.

How to Start Watercolor Painting

To start watercolor painting the first thing that you will need to do is find the best supplies for your ability level. You will need paints, watercolor paper, paintbrushes, a surface to paint on, water and possibly pallets, paper towels, clothes that you don’t mind getting paint on, and some inspiration for your painting. Before you go out and purchase everything from this watercolor supplies list, take a look at some of our favorite recommendations for watercolor supplies for beginners.

Which Paints to Get

how to start watercolor painting

It is important to choose the right watercolors so that you will start off in a good place with your watercolor painting journey. For beginner painters, it is a good idea to get some student-grade watercolors in a pallet that has colors you like. Don’t opt for the super expensive professional-grade watercolors because as a beginner it is best to save your money and resources when trying something out for the first time. That said, don’t purchase watercolors for kids unless you want to try watercolor painting with young children as these cheaper children’s sets will not show as brightly on the page or last as long.

Good Watercolor Paper Brands for Beginners

Using the right paper is pretty essential to watercolor painting. If you use paper that is too thin and isn’t meant for watercolor painting you will likely become frustrated within the first few seconds as the paper absorbs the water and the colors bleed together in a disappointing swamp. It’s important to invest in some watercolor paper in order to see your watercolor dreams and ideas into fruition.

Some recommended watercolor paper for beginners might be a sketchbook of Strathmore watercolor paper. Strathmore paper is available in most art supply stores, and it’s a great first paper to work with before you can jump into experimentation with different expensive paper blends and watercolor books.

What Brushes to Buy for Beginner Watercolor

The best beginner watercolor brushes will differ depending on what you are planning to paint once you get started. If you are a beginner you might be asking “what size watercolor brushes do I need (I’m a beginner)?” and the answer is, that depends on what you feel like painting. If you want to paint lettering or small details you will need a very small brush. If you want to paint a background on a large piece of paper, a small brush simply won’t do the trick. It’s best to get a variety of sizes of affordable beginner watercolor brushes and then see which sizes you use most.

Once you have dabbled with a few different sizes in a package of a few different sizes of brushes, you will know which brushes to invest in later on. Again, unless you are wanting to paint with your kids or students, steer clear of children’s brush sets as they are of lesser quality than a student or beginner’s brush set. You don’t want to buy the most expensive professional brushes yet, but you do want to buy brushes that are going to be worth your while.

Watercolor Ideas for Beginners

learning watercolor painting

As a beginner watercolor painter, you can play around with different kinds of painting. You can paint your whole piece of watercolor paper with only your brush dipped in water and then go in with your watercolors for the wet on wet technique. Or you could leave your paper dry for the wet-on-dry technique. You can add watercolor pencils to the mix to make more concise linework or interesting shading. You can go completely abstract or set up a still life to paint.

Whatever you do, it’s a good idea to test out all of your paints first and see how they dry. On the first page of your watercolor paper, paint a small swatch of each color and let the page dry to see how each color will look once a painting has been completed. Mix colors together to see how that looks too. Whatever you do, be patient and kind to yourself on your creative journey. The more you practice, the better your technique will be and the more honed your creative ideas will become.

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