10 Things to Know About Miniature Watercolor Painting

Things to Know About Miniature Watercolor Painting

Did you know that miniature paintings trace their origin back to the medieval era? In the early days, miniature artists expressed themselves using watercolours on mediums such as vellum, copper, and ivory, using various painting techniques and implements to breathe life into these works. Since then, many elements have changed in the world of art and watercolours. However, the attraction for miniature paintings remains as strong as ever.

If you want to explore the world of miniature watercolour painting and learn the nuances of this art form, you need to keep a few things in mind. Here are ten things to know about miniature watercolour painting.

Things to Know About Miniature Watercolor Painting

Go for the Right Paper

As the name indicates, watercolour painting is all about using cakes or tubes of pigment with water. Therefore, you need a paper that can endure the application of water when you go about painting on it. Regular papers are not thick enough to withstand such application. Instead, it would be best to go for papers that are specially made for painting with watercolours. Such papers are thicker in texture and can easily absorb watercolour washes without impacting your painting. You can try the 140 lb watercolour paper for this purpose.

Pay Attention to Your Choice of Brushes

You don’t need a large collection of brushes. Instead, you need to select the right brushes to last you the entire project. You can start with just a couple of round-tipped and filbert ones, but make sure to include sizes 0, 1, and 2 among the round-tipped brushes. You will need them to add fine details to your painting.

You can opt for either sable or synthetic brushes depending on what suits you better.

Protect Your White Sections

Watercolour is a very fluid medium. That is why you need to plan for the areas that you want to keep paint-free. For example, a spotless white border around your miniature painting can add a nice finishing touch to your creative work. To achieve this effect, cover the edges of your painting paper with masking tape before you get started. Once you finish the painting and have it dried, gently remove the masking tape to reveal the clean white borders all around the perimeter.

Learn to Experiment With Water

The amount of water you use to paint can make all the difference in your miniature paintings. Too much water can dilute your pigments, while too little water can end up giving you thick colour patches on your paper. You must experiment with the water you need to determine what is suitable for your painting. Finding the balance that works for you will always get you the results you desire.

Make It A Habit To Test Your Colors

Sometimes, the colour you select for your miniature painting may not look as good on paper as it does on the palette. If you want to avoid this, make it a habit to test your colours on a rough sheet of paper first. Ensure that the rough sheet and your painting paper are of the same quality so that you can get an exact idea of colour vibrancy.

Work Your Way In From Light to Dark

One thing to always remember about watercolour paintings is the axiom that you need to work from light to dark. Even when it is a miniature painting, you must follow this rule to obtain the best results. This way, you can preserve the lighter sections in your painting and add darker details wherever needed.   

Explore Different Techniques

In watercolour paintings, the possibilities are many and varied. There is no reason to believe that you can’t explore different techniques while painting miniatures. While wet-on-dry and wet-on-wet are the two most common techniques used, you can also try your hands at flat washes, spattering, gradients, and more. You don’t have to know all of them at once. Start experimenting with a couple of them and then expand your range as you begin to gain confidence.

Clean Brushes Between Colors

Many novice watercolour painters make the common mistake to ignore cleaning their brushes thoroughly. As a result, they often end up with muddiness in their creations. To avoid such a  mistake in the case of your miniature paintings, take time to gently swivel your brush in water until it comes free of all traces of colour, and then use the next pigment you need.

Always Use Clear Water

It is vital to keep an eye on the water in which you wash your brushes. Once it begins to get murky, change the water immediately. If you continue to use the same water, it is likely to ruin your miniature painting. 

If you do not trust yourself with regularly changing the water, another way out is to begin painting with a set of water cups ready for use. Then, you can continue using them until all of them become murky. This way, you avoid changing the water frequently and yet continue working with clear water for long enough.

Enjoy the Process 

The most important thing about creating miniature paintings is to enjoy the process. Sometimes mistakes may happen even when you have mastered a technique. Instead of feeling dejected, try to discover ways to cover up the mistake creatively by blending or diluting the pigments. In some cases, errors can even enhance the beauty of the painting. Remember to go with the flow and be proud of what you have created.


Mastering the art of miniature paintings requires a lot of patience and practice. An easy way to start learning the tricks and techniques of miniature paintings is to attend live interactive workshops on GoSocial. You will learn with a community of like-minded painting enthusiasts and get some much-needed encouragement to carry on with your art. You can even select your favourite creators to learn from and build your community on the platform.

With GoSocial, learning to paint becomes fun. What are you waiting for? Register on the platform right away!

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