Easy and artistic watercolor observe concepts

watercolor painting of mermaidListed below are some easy and artistic watercolor observe concepts for you strive. My inspiration is from a latest artwork retreat I attended in San Miguel de Allende. My associates Yoli and Rose co-hosted a seven-day affair of meals, artwork, procuring and consuming! We had the resort convention room on lockdown for the week. One of many artwork periods Yoli led was all about watercolor. Such an effective way to dive deeper into certainly one of my favourite artwork genres!

creative watercolor practice ideas

I’ve used watercolor for years, however I’m self-taught so I knew I wanted to study extra methods and construct my abilities. That’s precisely what occurred. I had such a blast, I believed I’d share all I realized right here with you. The inspo was so robust, I researched a bunch of different concepts.

From nonetheless life to portraits, I’m so able to stage up my abilities with these watercolor observe concepts!

First, lets discuss provides for these simple watercolor portray concepts:

watercolor set
That is my watercolor set. time for a brand new one!

Collect Your Provides

  • Watercolor Paints: You possibly can select from tubes or pans. As a newbie, it is likely to be more cost effective to start out with a fundamental set of 12 colours from a good model. I use this small watercolor set by Koi. I’ve had it for years, you may see all my favourite colours. It’s time for a brand new one!
  • Brushes: Get just a few good high quality brushes of various sizes. A big flat brush (for washes) and a medium-sized spherical brush (for element work) are begin. My fave? A water brush pen. This is a plastic brush that holds water, great for travel.
  • Watercolor Paper: That is thicker and extra absorbent than common paper. You’ll wish to select a paper that’s at the least 140lb (300gsm) to keep away from warping. I like using these sheets, they are easy to travel with.
  • Palette: That is for mixing your paints. Some watercolor units include built-in palettes.
  • Water Container: You’ll want this to wash your brushes. Take a look at this collapsable water cup!
  • Paper Towel or Fabric: That is for blotting your brush or lifting off paint out of your paper.
  • Spray bottle/mister: To dampen your watercolor set. Make it juicy and prepared for motion.
  • Pencil and eraser. I prefer to sketch out my designs first. I’m going over the pencil traces with paint and you’ll’t even see them!

Primary Methods:

watercolor basic techniques
Create a swatch web page of all of your completely different colours.
  • Flat Wash: It is a approach the place you create a clean, even layer of shade.
  • Graded Wash: Much like a flat wash, however the shade regularly transitions from darkish to gentle.
  • Moist on Dry: This includes portray onto a dry floor.
  • Moist on Moist: That is portray onto a moist floor for a subtle impact.
  • Dry Brush: That is portray with a brush that’s virtually dry for a textured impact.

TIP: One factor I realized was to start out with a lighter shade and add darker highlights. It’s the reverse of acrylic paints. In the event you begin with a darkish watercolor base, you’ll have plenty of troublemaking it gentle. This idea modified the sport for me and I discovered why my items at all times seemed so flat! 

Primary suggestions for easy watercolor portray concepts:

watercolor practice page
Considered one of my first observe pages for this class.

Begin portray: Begin with easy workouts, corresponding to portray fundamental shapes or gradients. Paint a big space to see how the colours dry. Observe mixing completely different colours in your palette and on the paper. Yoli had us create a swatch library of the completely different colours on our palette. 

Discover and observe: Begin simple with depart and flowers. you may’t go mistaken, it should look nice! Observe urgent and lifting the comb to make petals.

Wonderful particulars: Take one flower and spend plenty of time including character – outlines, dots, patterns. 

Study From others: You could find loads of tutorials and demonstrations on-line. You can even contemplate taking a category or workshop for a step-by-step tutorial.

Deal with your provides: Clear your brushes totally after every portray session to increase their lifespan. By no means a lot your brush to dry it, it should break the bristles. Hold your paints and paper saved in a dry, clear place.

Use a stencil: Tape a stencil to watercolor paper and use a single shade or a darkish shade to observe alongside the define. Fill in with a lighter shade.

*RELATED: Use stencils to make stenciled watercolor artwork*

Make an summary artwork or an summary portray: Simply make blobs on moist and dry paper. Define with a thin black pen. 

Have enjoyable: Most significantly, benefit from the technique of portray and exploring the medium. Be affected person with your self – mastering watercolors takes time and observe.

watercolor cactus
When unsure, paint a watercolor cactus!

Perceive your supplies:

Familiarize your self with the traits of your watercolor paints, brushes, and paper. Totally different colours have completely different ranges of transparency and granulation, completely different brushes create several types of strokes, and completely different papers take in water and paint in distinctive methods. For instance a set of greenback retailer paints will present completely different outcomes from an costly model. Each are worthy, however have their very own signature type. One dimension doesn’t match all!

Degree two – let’s strive different workouts!
Layering and glazing: Use the strategy of layering, also called glazing, to realize depth and complexity of shade in your work. Let every layer dry utterly earlier than including the subsequent. This helps to realize a glowing impact together with your colours and produces completely different shades.

Moist-on-wet approach: Use the spray bottle and mist your paper. Not an excessive amount of, simply sufficient to make it damp. It creates lovely mushy edges and blends which might be attribute of watercolor. It’s helpful in rendering refined gradations of shade, corresponding to in skies or backgrounds.

Dry paper: It is a given, however observe the identical methods on dry paper to see the completely different outcomes.

Management your water: Water management is essential in watercolor portray. An excessive amount of water can dilute your colours past management, whereas too little could make them overly daring and laborious to handle. Experiment to seek out the best stability with a moist brush.

watercolor painting of crystals
I used further water to skinny out the paint to realize this look.


Plan your whites: Not like different types of portray, in watercolor, you don’t paint the whites; you protect them. Planning the place you need the whites to be, even earlier than you begin portray, will make it easier to obtain higher distinction and highlights. And…if all else fails – use a white paint pen to outline everything. That’s what I did for the crystals!

Use a restricted palette: As a substitute of utilizing many alternative colours, strive utilizing a restricted palette of major colours. This may result in a extra harmonious portray, and it additionally lets you perceive shade mixing extra deeply.

Worth sketching: Spend a while sketching out your values (the lightness or darkness of a shade) earlier than you start. It will make it easier to perceive the place the sunshine and shadow fall in your portray, which may drastically enhance its realism.

Persistence: Watercolor portray requires a great deal of persistence. Look forward to layers to dry earlier than including new ones to keep away from undesirable shade mixing. This may even let you consider your work because it progresses.

Experiment: Don’t be afraid to experiment and make errors. Watercolor could be unpredictable, and that’s a part of its magnificence. Generally “joyful accidents” can add a particular contact to your work that you just wouldn’t have considered in any other case. Create a observe journal so you may experiment like loopy!

Research from life: Strive portray from life when you may. This offers you a deeper understanding of how gentle and shade work in the true world. Possibly a can or vase, begin easy.

Straightforward fixes:

watercolor painting
We have been to make a watercolor portray of a door we noticed within the metropolis.

Use a white paint pen so as to add highlights. (Be certain that the watercolors are utterly dry!)

Use a black Sharpie to stipulate and add Zentangle designs. It should give it new life.

Lower up and use for artist buying and selling playing cards.

Use because the background for a journal web page.

Fill within the white area or adverse area with dots or crosses.

Watch video tutorials on-line for much more concepts!

RELATED: Tips on how to educate a watercolor class for rookies

Superior however nonetheless simple watercolor concepts

watercolor mermaid
I sketched in pencil first, then added the watercolor.

As soon as you’re feeling able to stage up, crack these knuckle and go in for some heavier experiences. Bear in mind creativity is free, you should use as a lot as you need. Permit your self to expertise each which manner. So many alternative methods!

Shade gradients: Observe creating clean transitions with the moist paint from one shade to a different. Start line: Saturated vibrant colours and regularly add water to lighten them, making a gradient impact.

Primary shapes: Paint easy geometric shapes corresponding to circles, squares, and triangles. This will help you study management and precision together with your brush strokes.

Fruit and greens: These topics have easy shapes however numerous colours and textures, making them good for rookies. Strive utilizing vibrant colours to color an apple, orange, or a bunch of grapes.

Florals: Watercolor flowers could be as easy or complicated as you need, they usually supply a superb method to observe completely different methods corresponding to moist on moist or dry on dry.

Mas concepts!

Landscapes: Begin with easy landscapes, like a sundown or a mountain vary. This will help you perceive how you can create depth and perspective in your work. How a couple of fairly night time sky?

Shade mixing: Take two colours and see what number of completely different hues you may create by mixing them in several proportions. It will make it easier to perceive how colours work together with one another.

Textures: Attempt to recreate completely different textures like wooden, steel, fur, feathers, and so on. It will require you to experiment with completely different methods and brush strokes.

Washes: Observe creating flat washes, graded washes, and variegated washes. It will make it easier to perceive how you can management the quantity of water you utilize.

Adverse portray: Use vivid colours to color round objects as an alternative of the objects themselves. This system can create attention-grabbing results and assist enhance your understanding of varieties. This one is subsequent on my checklist to strive!

Monochromatic research: Select one shade and create a portray utilizing solely that shade, however with completely different values (lightness/darkness). This will help you perceive the significance of worth in portray.


watercolor painting f a heart
Working towards with one shade.

All of this can make it easier to study shade principle as properly. Bear in mind, the purpose of those workouts is to not create an ideal portray, however to grasp how watercolors work and to enhance your abilities. So, don’t be discouraged in case your outcomes aren’t what you anticipated. Hold training and also you’ll get higher over time. Blissful portray!

RELATED: Watercolor Paper Earrings