Top 5 easy watercolour tips

Are you new to Watercolour Painting?

Art work of Mountains

TOP FIVE EASY WATERCOLOUR PAINTING TIPS

ARE YOU NEW TO WATERCOLOUR PAINTING?


It all starts with water. While the artist can apply the colour, the water ultimately takes the process into its own hands. The watercolour artist soon learns to see water as a friend who must be understood and treated with respect. Neither the water nor the pigment can be completely controlled, and that is the beauty of this medium.


It may feel overcomplicated looking at all the techniques available online for watercolour painting when you are looking for water colour painting for beginners. You may find your self overwhelmed with watercolour brushes, watercolour paper, watercolour palettes, where do you start?


We have put together five essential and straightforward tips for beginners that will have you starting your watercolour career with confidence.

three different pieces of off white paper stacked on each other, one smooth and medium smooth and one rough.

TIP 1 | What Watercolour paper should I use?

It might seem like a simple thing, however, buying a good quality watercolour paper has you on your way to creating great work

TWO points to be aware of :

  • weight of the paper

  • texture of the paper

In the beginning, the best weight of paper to buy is either 185gsm to 300gsm sheets of artists watercolour paper.

The thinner the paper the tricker it is to paint on with watercolour as it will buckle.

Most artist watercolour paper comes in 3 types of textures.

  • Rough

  • Cold Pressed ( a little amount of texture )

  • Hot Pressed ( Smooth )

When starting out its best to try Cold pressed, as you’ll get to experience a little bit of texture without it having to be too smooth.

Just remember that the rougher the paper, the harder it is to get small detail when watercolour painting.

three different pieces of off white paper stacked on each other, one smooth and medium smooth and one rough.

TIP 2 | Watercolour Brushes

What about watercolour brushes?

Have a couple of varying brushes that are well made

The essentials are 3-4 different brushes in your box to get some different lines and washes.

When buying always keep these points in mind

  • Watercolour brushes mainly have shorter handles than acrylic and oil painting brushes.

  • They are either made out of very light soft animal hair like sable, squirrel or made out of a soft synthetic hair. *Never a hard Hog hair unless you are doing more advance dry watercolour painting.

  • It is good to have a tiny ROUND brush around a number 0 or 1 (to use for detail ), a standard round brush size no 4 or no 6.

And if you can get a more substantial “MOP” style brush around a size no 4 to no 6. Now you have the essentials you are brush-ready for watercolour.

six tubes of watercolour paints in a row

TIP 3 | Watercolour Paints

What colours do I need?

All you really need is three primary “cool” tone colours and three primary “warm” tone colours.

Here is a list of the essential primary colours to get


Here are some suggestions for some basic colours to get

  • Derivan Ultra Blue (Warm)

  • Derivan Phthalo Blue (Cool)

  • Derivan scarlet Red Light (Warm)

  • Derivan Crimson (Cool)

  • Derivan Lemon Yellow (Cool)

  • Derivan Yellow Deep (Warm)

watercolour painting of ocean and trees

TIP 4 | Work from Light to dark

It is always a good idea to water down your colours, so they are incredibly transparent and mix these in a watercolour palette or tin. The apply them to the paper like a very light sketch. When you are happy with the painting, then you can start adding darker layers to your work gradually layering from light to dark.

TIP 5 | Fill your own water colour pans.

The great thing about watercolour is that you don’t need to use a lot the bulk of watercolour painting is the water.

Making pans out your tubes is ideal for filling with your favourite watercolours to make them transportable where ever you might want to sketch and paint.

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