Watercolour: Getting started with beginners Tips & Tricks
Getting started with watercolour can be tricky because watercolour and learning how to use them takes time. It’s about building up the colour gradually rather than applying paint when and where you want it.
That doesn’t mean you can’t make any piece of art from playing with it because you can!
Colour mixing is like all painting, learning your colours is key. So again just start with three colours and make a whole colour wheel. You only need the smallest about of paint. I find that generally, I am messier with Pans then I am with tubes. Tubes I keep super neat on the palette and I never clean my palette off if I like the colour. I get a wipe and clean up the colours I don’t like so I can reuse the colours again and again.
So starting out, it is easy to use the pans because learning how little paint you need is truly a skill. Wasting paint is a big no no for me.
Brushes & palettes
Keep it simple, you don’t need a massive collection and the Artiste range has it all covered for beginners. From my experience of owning and collecting brushes I have probably over 40 and some were very cheap, others are sable and very expensive but I always go back to the same few.
Art and creating is really personal, so it really is a journey of experience. what works for you is what works. Don’t ever let anyone tell you any differently.
Basic watercolour tips
Okay so sorry if you already know this but it never hurts to go over anything does it.
Watercolour Brush Care
Firstly look after your brushes, your brush should always be wet unless you are doing some dry detailing at the end.
Never stand your brush in the water for too long, you will ruin the tip and its hard to get the shape back after it is bent. Instead rinse it, scrape the excess water off and leave it on a towel to dry.
You should never push down fully on a brush you just need the tip. The tip is wear the paint goes and again you will ruin the brush if you press all the way to the ferrule.
Watercolour likes a lot of water so make sure you wet your paper before you begin.
If you are a beginner don’t worry too much about stretching your paper. Your pieces may warp but you are a beginner so don’t worry too much.
Don’t worry if you haven’t stretched your paper. Just add masking tape to the corners of your paper if you are working on an easel or drawing board ( I rarely tape anything).
If your masking tape tears your paper, stick it to your trousers and peel it off. this will take some of the tackiness away.
Watercolour Colour tricks
When mixing colours always mix separately to your first tube squeeze.
Mix light to dark, adding your dark colour a little at a time.
Watercolour is a gradual application. You need to apply colours to make them stronger building it up.
You really don’t need white to make a colour lighter, add water and build it up. White will make it less transparent.
Paintings are rarely ever black, shadows are often greys or blues. This will give life to your painting.
Okay, so these are some tips and tricks that I teach in my class so I hope you agree with them. Let me know if you do, don’t or have any of your own that you swear by!
If you are painting reflections remember this rule of thumb. Whatever is dark on dry land will be lighter in the water. If it is light on dry land will be darker in the water this will give balance to your work.
My biggest piece of advice is don’t be hard on yourself. We all learn from our mistakes and every amazing artist you have ever known started where you are. Make your first painting simple and concentrate on capturing what it is rather than painting a direct copy.
Try something small, sketch it out and fill it with colour. Drawing and composition is key to a good painting so practice practice practice.
Enjoy the process