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Advice for Watercolour Beginners

Monday, 22 September 2014

Watercolour painting can be the most enjoyable of pass times,it can also be one of the most frustrating, especially when you are just starting out. 

The medium is wonderfully versatile but also quite unpredictable if you are not used to it.

Here is some guidance for those beginning to use watercolours. Hopefully, this will get you through the frustrating times and enable you to get maximum enjoyment from the hobby.

Buy quality.

You don’t need to buy a vast array of all the watercolours of the rainbow when you embark on your new hobby. The most important to thing is to buy quality products from trusted suppliers and websites such as Artifolk (http://www.artifolk.co.uk/paints/watercolour-paints.htm).
Tube paints are usually recommended by experts as it is easy to vary the consistency.

Start Simple

The best way to get to grips with this tricky medium is to start by experimenting with basic shapes. This will allow you to get used to how to produce darker and lighter shades as well as some blending techniques.

Use Water Sparingly

Blot your brush with cloth if you think it is overloaded with water or paint. Moderation is the watch word for watercolour painting.

Negative Painting

Best practice for watercolour painting is to paint the dark areas first. It is also a good idea to cover any area you wish to remain white, known as negative painting.

Some techniques to try…

Wet-in-Wet Watercolours

Wet-in-wet involves applying paints to a wet background. Wet your paper lightly with a sponge so the paint does not run toomuch and create washes and light backgrounds.


This technique allows you to produce sharper more deliberate images. The important thing to remember with this technique is that the surface must be completely dry so the paint does not run.

Dry brush

This is the best way to add detail to your picture, wetting the brush slightly and not overloading it with paint. Successful dry brushing depends on using short deliberate strokes with limited pressure and can be the most difficult to master.

Some warnings…

Watercolours dry lighter

Because of the high water content of this medium the colours will always look more intense when applied to when they dry. This is a factor you will get used to the more you paint.

Watercolours remain soluble

Even when dry, watercolours remain soluble. This is an advantage if you want to correct mistake but can be frustrating if you adjust something by accident that you previously thought was perfect.

Varieties of Watercolour Paper

Watercolour paper varies in texture, thickness and colour. The only way to find out which one you are most comfortable with or which suits your styles the best is to test the variations.

Have fun!

Brought to you in assocition with Artifolk.