How to Watercolor

 What you will need
  • Watercolor paper (I use Britannia 140 lbs)
  • Paint brushes (I use soft synthetic brushes, not ones specifically for watercolor)
  • Watercolor (I use a pan set)
  • A couple of glasses of water
  • Glass of wine (optional)


  This is my first blog ever and the first time I’ve actually sat down and written more than a two-line comment on a picture in many years.  So I am going to attempt to make it as easy to read as possible and try to stay on track. (a problem for me) My first degree was in journalism, but those writing stories days have been behind me for several years. (even then I was much better at reading off a teleprompter and smiling while I talked than writing stories) Soooo, good luck to me.
Thank God for Baby Einstein which can entertain my 3 month old for a couple of hours and I can get some writing done.
Alright let’s begin… Take a sip of wine… jk… unless you love to sip wine and paint, then totally take a sip of wine. Turn on some country or any kind of music and chill.

  So there are a few different kinds of watercolors: liquid, tube and pan. I use pan because it is small, easy to move around and comes with lots of different colors for relatively cheap. There are also a few different kinds of paper to choose from. Use at least 140lbs watercolor paper. Watercolor paper comes in 300lbs which is very thick and can take a lot of water without buckling, 90lbs paper is too thin and I would only use it for trying out different colors or strokes. As for brushes there are some made specifically for using watercolor, but they are usually pretty expensive.  I just use soft synthetic brushes that were around 10 Euro. I only have three and I usually only end up using one for the entire painting.
I always draw my picture first. Most of the time it’s the hardest part of the painting. As you can see in the picture I didn’t really draw the skirt of the dress because I knew I was going to mix a lot of colors into it and it just didn’t need to be done.


 I always mix a few different colors together on a porcelain plate before I start painting. I use porcelain because the paint washes off of it very easily. Even if the paint dries on the plate you can just add a little water and it is ready to use again.
Before you start painting decide where your lightest spots will be. With watercolor you work from light to dark. Make sure to test out the color on a test sheet before
you put it onto your painting. It always dries lighter than it looks on the plate.


Put down your first layer of color. From the first layer you can build on the color and make it darker, more vibrant or a different shade.
Always mix more paint than you think you will need. Trying to recreate a color can be very hard and frustrating.
Fixing a mistake is pretty easy as long as the paper is still wet. Make sure your brush is completely clean of any color, then take the brush and put in on the paint you don’t want and take it back off the paper. The damp brush absorbs more water than it releases, so it will pick the wet color up from your painting. I often use my finger or a piece of tissue to blot up the mistake. Sometimes if the color has dried and I just hate the look I will wet a little piece of a paper towel and use it as an eraser on the part I don’t like. This occasionally will take all of the color off and other times it doesn’t work so well.  :/


I loved doing the skirt because I put a lot of different colors into it and knew I couldn’t ruin it. I did the first layer and then built on it with more defined colors. I did some blue strokes, green strokes and teal strokes.    The more color the better.
If you have no patience, like myself, you can use a hair dryer to dry your layers. You can also get some cool effects with the hair dryer.  If you have too much water and want it to run down the paper a hair dryer is an excellent way to achieve the look.


For the shoes, hair and outline of the face I made sure not to have a lot of water on my brush, this way I could control my paint better.  The more water you have the larger area it will expand to and the more unpredictable it will be. I mixed a tiny bit of black with the green for the darker color. (a little black goes a long way)


For the shading on the neck I diluted one of my darker greens with a lot of water.  I then made sure I didn’t have too much on my brush, I wanted to be in control of it completely. I put color where a natural shadow would be.  I started with a small area and then worked up to what I have.
My favorite thing to do is the splatter on the side of the painting.  I put a base color down and then put a lot of water on the area. I then load my brush up with water and paint and let it drop onto the page.  The end product is madness and awesomeness. You can never recreate the exact same look and you never know how it is going to turn out.


I love watercolor because even mistakes look good, however there are ways to fix your “mistakes” if you hate the way it looks. You can blot off the color with damp tissue, clean damp brush or I once saw someone do it with a Mr. Clean magic eraser. You can even put the entire painting under the sink and wash it off.
Since watercolor is water-soluble you can work with it even after it has dried by just adding a little bit of water… even years down the road. (unless the painting is varnished, then you can’t change it)

** Once you frame the painting your mistakes just look professional and abstract


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