How to paint with Watercolor (with video)

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You Will Need

  • Watercolor paints
  • Watercolor paper
  • Tape
  • A drawing board
  • Pencils
  • A water cup
  • A number 10 or 12 brush
  • A palette
  • A plastic cup of water
  • A clean cotton rag
  • Some tissue paper
  • A hair dryer (optional)



Step 1

Pick out paints

Pick out non-staining watercolor paints, which do not fade in short durations. Check the “Lightfast” indicator on the tube.

Step 2

Soak and dry paper

Soak a rough 140-pound or thicker stock paper with “tooth” – dips and grooves – which will be less likely to wrinkle when wet. Dry it and tape it to a board inclined about 15 degrees, and smooth it out.

Step 3

Sketch an image

Sketch a simple box image on the paper in pencil, rinse a number 10 or 12 brush in the water cup and blot it dry. Load it with color from the palette and touch it to the paper.

Use less water to keep the colors bright, and don’t go back over an area repeatedly, or you may inadvertently leave dark lines.

Step 4

Paint first line

Paint a uniform line and lift your brush. If a narrow bead didn’t form, you pressed too hard, so try again, releasing the bead as you lift.

Step 5

Continue filling

Continue filling the area, tilting the brush handle up to maintain a light touch, and letting the watercolor bead paint the wash for you.

Use a hair dryer to work faster, but be careful: you can accidentally make colors bleed or run.

Step 6

Absorb excess paint

Absorb excess paint with a tissue to blot the brush, instead of rinsing. Touch the dried brush into the paint to draw the excess off the painting’s surface.

Step 7

Continue experimenting

Continue experimenting with color and textures on different paper surfaces, using an array of brushes and color mixes. Read and study to develop your technique over time.

The textures and patterns of watercolor can be computer-generated.


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