How to Paint with Watercolors

Watercolor painting is great medium for all skill levels.

You will need

  • Watercolor paints
  • Paper with "tooth"
  • 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.

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.

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.