Watercolor painting is a fun way to relax and express yourself. However, this painting medium is as unpredictable as it is enjoyable! If you’ve been thinking of picking up watercolor and you want to create quality works that you’ll love, you’ll need to know a few things first.
1. Use the right materials
Even if you’re a complete beginner, you need to make sure you’re using paint, paper and brushes of decent quality. That doesn’t mean you have to shell out hundreds of dollars on a watercolor set, but if you use cheap brushes whose hairs won’t stop falling off, you won’t be satisfied with your work. Do a little research to find out which painting supplies are worth investing in at your current level, or just ask your artist friends!
2. Go from light to dark
Unlike other painting mediums like gouache or acrylics, you can’t paint a lighter color over a darker one when you’re working with watercolor, so you need to be careful and think about the colors you’re going to use in advance. Always start with lighter values and add progressively darker values afterward. As a general rule, the values in the background are lighter and less saturated, while the values in the foreground are darker and more saturated.
3. Be mindful of how much water you’re using
Too much water can ruin your painting or even your canvas, while too little will make it look stiff and, well, not like watercolor. Typically, you want to use less water when working on the center of interest and other fine details, and more water on areas that are out of focus.
4. Get some paper towels
Paper towels are to watercolors what erasers are to pencils. Excess water or accidental strokes of paint can be easily fixed by dabbing a paper towel over the problem area. Whether it should be dry or damp depends on the situation, but it’s always a good idea to have some paper towels on hand when you’re working with watercolor.
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