Watercolor painting is an expressive art form that uses a delicate blend of colors, textures, effects, and techniques to its advantage. If you are new to the world of watercolor painting, you must pay attention to basic rules that will help you improve your skill.
Here are ten things to know before you begin your watercolor painting journey.
Things To Know Before starting Watercolor Painting
1. Go For Quality Over Quantity
To excel in watercolor painting, you don’t need a lot of art materials. Instead, collect good-quality supplies that elevate your artwork and save time, effort, and money.
To start with, you need proper watercolor papers. Unlike regular papers, these papers have a thick texture and are great at absorbing watercolor washes. Standard watercolor papers weigh 140 lb.
As far as pigments are concerned, you can use either tubes or pans. Please ensure that you steer clear of low-quality paints that turn chalky and cracky after a few uses.
The next is your painting brush. Now, you don’t have to own a vast collection of brushes to begin your painting journey. Instead, a few essential brushes that produce a reasonable variety of results will be enough for your purposes.
2. Sketch As Lightly As You Can
Watercolor painting uses transparent layers of colors. Suppose you have prominent pencil marks on your paper. Using watercolor on them might ruin the beauty of your artwork. So, when you make pencil sketches for your paintings, sketch as lightly as possible. Take care to remove any graphite mark that may smudge on your paper. Always keep a soft and clean eraser handy in case you need it.
3. Keep Masking Fluid And Masking Tape Handy
Planning plays a vital role in watercolor painting, especially if you want to master this medium. Suppose you want to keep a portion of your painting clear of colors, or only carry a faint hint of color. This is where a masking fluid can come to your rescue. It can help you to keep such portions completely paint-free.
Similarly, you can use masking tape to cover the edges of your painting paper. This will enable you to maintain a spotless white border around your painting and lend it a nice finished look.
4. Explore Various Watercolor Techniques
There are several basic watercolor techniques that anyone can experiment with, regardless of their skill and expertise. You can start with simple experiments to understand how these techniques work before you start using them in your paintings. For instance, you can try the wet-on-dry approach by painting on dry watercolor paper. Next, you may try the same technique but damp the paper instead with a wet cloth first. Explore the nuances between different watercolor techniques before you zero in on the technique that feels like home.
5. Allow the Layers To Dry Completely
Patience is paramount while painting with watercolors. To create layers upon layers of amazing washes, you have to allow each layer to dry completely before you start working on the next one. If you rush things, you may mess things up beyond repair.
Even if you make a mistake in the process, allow the layer to dry before you try rectifying it with another layer.
6. Avoid Mixing More Than Three Colors At A Time
An exciting aspect of painting with watercolors is that you can create new hues by combining different colors. However, combining too many colors may give you an undesirable mess. To avoid this, try to understand the color wheel and the effect you can achieve in mixing different colors. Ensure you combine a maximum of two or three colors at a time. Also, make it a habit to test the colors you create on a rough sheet of watercolor paper before applying them to your paintings. This way you can decide whether it is the color you want.
7. Mix More Paint Than You Need
More often than not, novice artists mix their paints in small amounts and repeat the process when they run out of the blend. This makes it tricky to arrive at the same blend every single time, and often makes your painting look uneven. To avoid this, always mix more colors than you plan to use. Doing this also save you the time you will otherwise spend mixing a new batch of the same shade. This will also allow you to paint the entire thing in one go and thus dry it all at once.
8. Work From Light To Dark
The beauty of watercolors lies in their transparency. It is good to start painting with watery and transparent mixtures and then work towards darker hues by adding layers of washes. Make sure to let the layers dry in between. This process will let you preserve the lightness of the more transparent areas as you build on the darker ones.
9. Pay Attention To Other Essential Supplies
Watercolor painting does not end with paper, paint and brushes; you need other implements to get the results you want. These include paper towels, painting palettes, scratch paper, etc. Paper towels are excellent for cleaning your brushes, absorbing extra water from your painting, and sometimes even siphoning extra paint. You also want a palette to mix colors and get the right blend for your artwork. Finally, a scratch paper helps test your combinations before you begin working with them on paper.
Make sure you arrange these on the side of your dominant hand for easy access.
10. Don’t Forget To Have Fun
As a beginner, you may sometimes make mistakes and fail in your experiments. Do not let that sit heavily on your mind. Instead, approach your painting journey with a sense of fun and adventure, and you will be able to sail through all the highs and lows. As Bob Ross puts it, “there are no mistakes. Only happy accidents.” So, paint frequently, experiment, learn from your mistakes, and have fun along the way!
To Wrap Up
The adage is old but true: practice makes perfect. It is only when you get your hands dirty that you realize what watercolor painting is all about. The live interactive workshops on GoSocial offer you an easy way to learn all about the basics of watercolor painting. In addition, you discover a community of like-minded painting enthusiasts even as you learn from your favorite creators on the platform.
Join this fantastic community of creators and let the artist in you flourish!