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4 Quick Watercolor Tips for Beginners

Updated: Feb 9

If you're just starting out with watercolor but find it a bit intimidating, here are a few tips that might help it to make it easier (and fun!):

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1. A good round brush is a must - The brush that I find I use over an over again in pretty much all of my watercolor paintings is a simple #4 or #6 round brush that has a sharp pointy end. Investing in a good quality brush that's bristles hold their shape is useful for both fat lines and thin or a combination of the 2 and will quickly become one of your favorite tools to use. A great brand to try that won't break the bank is the Princeton Snap!

2. Try using just 1 color of paint -

If you find that working with multiple colors seems tricky, try using your favorite color and ONLY that color to create some simple images like the heart with vines image above. You can create many shades (values) from just one color by the amount of water you use with your paint. For a full vibrant saturated color, use just enough water to loosen up your paint to load it to your brush, for soft to pale shades, use more water and less paint.

3. Experiment with brands and types of paper -

The quality and texture of your paper can make a huge difference in your finished artwork. Beginners who need an economical price might consider the Canson XL pads that are readily available at many big box stores. As your skills progress you might consider a more professional grade paper such as Arches or Fabriano brands. Paper with texture is called "cold press" and works well for the loose florals that are very popular right now. For very detailed work that may include the use of an art pen and precise painting a smooth "hot press" surface would be the better choice. My personal favorite is the Arches cold press.

4. Don't forget to PLAY! -

One of the very best thing you can do when beginning is to allow yourself the freedom to PLAY!

Even after 14 years of working as a watercolor artist, I still have to remind myself that it's ok to just have fun when creating. Your best ideas and most wonderful discoveries seem to happen when you ditch the perfectionism and just create for the fun of it.

The class "Watercolor Playgrounds" is an awesome source of inspiration (I've taken it a few times and learn something new every time!) Take the class ON ME today!

I hope this inspired you to give watercolor a try. There's always something new and fun to discover when you create!

Have fun and play with your watercolor!


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