10 Tippy Top Watercolor Tips for Beginners
from the Learn to Watercolor Index
Here's a few basic watercolor techniques that will help you to dazzle your friends and family (and yourself) right from the beginning. They will help you to make your watercolor paintings vibrant and beautiful.
1) Be spontaneous. Paint quickly and try to avoid corrections.
2) Use 140lb cold press paper for most watercolor paintings. The texture adds interest to your painting, and allows beginners to be a bit more successful.
3) Mix more paint than you think you will need. If you run out in the middle you won't be able to match the color, and you will have to start all over.
4) Paint with the side of your brush. Watercolor paper is abrasive, and will ruin your brush if you try to paint with the tip.
5) Watercolor paints are meant to be transparent. If your paint is too thick it will look weird, and not watercolory at all.
6) Watercolor paint looks brighter and darker when you are painting it. When it dries it will be paler and lighter. Remember to mix a darker color than you think you will want.
7) Watercolor washes need to be carefully planned. You always need to load your brush and start painting again at the wet edge. If you don't paint quickly enough, the partially dry wet edge and the next stroke of paint will create a funny mark in your painting. Also, try to avoid making corrections to a wash. Once you paint it, leave it alone. Making changes almost always leads to problems.
8) Choose the right brush to the task. A larger area requires a larger brush. A smaller brush will allow greater detail.
9) Paint from light colors to dark colors. Once you paint a dark color there's nothing more you can do.
10) If you want to darken a color, wait until the first application of paint is completely dry. Remember to be quick and spontaneous in the application of the second color or you will rub the first color off.
Memorize this list and apply these techniques as you practice. You'll be great!