Easy and inventive watercolor observe concepts

watercolor painting of mermaidListed below are some easy and inventive watercolor observe concepts for you attempt. 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, buying and consuming! We had the resort convention room on lockdown for the week. One of many artwork classes Yoli led was all about watercolor. Such a good way to dive deeper into one in every 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 be taught extra strategies and construct my abilities. That’s precisely what occurred. I had such a blast, I assumed I’d share all I discovered 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 straightforward watercolor portray concepts:

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

Collect Your Provides

  • Watercolor Paints: You may select from tubes or pans. As a newbie, it is perhaps more cost effective to begin with a primary set of 12 colours from a good model. I use this small watercolor set by Koi. I’ve had it for years, you possibly can see all my favourite colours. It’s time for a brand new one!
  • Brushes: Get a number of good high quality brushes of various sizes. A big flat brush (for washes) and a medium-sized spherical brush (for element work) are an excellent 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 need to select a paper that’s at the very 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 scrub your brushes. Take a look at this collapsable water cup!
  • Paper Towel or Material: 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 wish to sketch out my designs first. I am going over the pencil strains with paint and you’ll’t even see them!

Fundamental Methods:

watercolor basic techniques
Create a swatch web page of all of your totally different colours.
  • Flat Wash: It is a method the place you create a easy, even layer of colour.
  • Graded Wash: Much like a flat wash, however the colour steadily transitions from darkish to mild.
  • 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 discovered was to begin with a lighter colour and add darker highlights. It’s the reverse of acrylic paints. If you happen to begin with a darkish watercolor base, you’ll have a number of troublemaking it mild. This idea modified the sport for me and I found out why my items at all times seemed so flat! 

Fundamental suggestions for easy watercolor portray concepts:

watercolor practice page
One in all my first observe pages for this class.

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

Discover and observe: Begin straightforward with go away and flowers. you possibly can’t go fallacious, it is going to look nice! Observe urgent and lifting the comb to make petals.

Effective particulars: Take one flower and spend a number of time including character – outlines, dots, patterns. 

Be taught From others: You will discover loads of tutorials and demonstrations on-line. You may also take into account taking a category or workshop for a step-by-step tutorial.

Handle 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 is going to break the bristles. Maintain your paints and paper saved in a dry, clear place.

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

*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 strategy of portray and exploring the medium. Be affected person with your self – mastering watercolors takes time and observe.

watercolor cactus
When doubtful, paint a watercolor cactus!

Perceive your supplies:

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

Stage two – let’s attempt different workout routines!
Layering and glazing: Use the strategy of layering, also referred to as glazing, to attain depth and complexity of colour in your work. Let every layer dry utterly earlier than including the following. This helps to attain a glowing impact together with your colours and produces totally different shades.

Moist-on-wet method: Use the spray bottle and mist your paper. Not an excessive amount of, simply sufficient to make it damp. It creates stunning smooth edges and blends which can be attribute of watercolor. It’s helpful in rendering refined gradations of colour, reminiscent of in skies or backgrounds.

Dry paper: It is a given, however observe the identical strategies on dry paper to see the totally 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 steadiness with a moist brush.

watercolor painting of crystals
I used further water to skinny out the paint to attain 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 allow you 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 various colours, attempt utilizing a restricted palette of main colours. This may result in a extra harmonious portray, and it additionally lets you perceive colour mixing extra deeply.

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

Endurance: Watercolor portray requires a great deal of persistence. Look ahead to layers to dry earlier than including new ones to keep away from undesirable colour mixing. This may even help 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. Typically “completely satisfied accidents” can add a particular contact to your work that you simply wouldn’t have considered in any other case. Create a observe journal so you possibly can experiment like loopy!

Research from life: Strive portray from life when you possibly can. This gives you a deeper understanding of how mild and colour work in the actual world. Possibly a can or vase, begin easy.

Straightforward fixes:

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

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

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

Reduce 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 damaging area with dots or crosses.

Watch video tutorials on-line for much more concepts!

RELATED: The way to educate a watercolor class for learners

Superior however nonetheless straightforward 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 need to use as a lot as you need. Enable your self to expertise each which manner. So many various methods!

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

Fundamental shapes: Paint easy geometric shapes reminiscent of circles, squares, and triangles. This can assist you be taught management and precision together with your brush strokes.

Fruit and greens: These topics have easy shapes however numerous colours and textures, making them excellent for learners. 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 wonderful option to observe totally different strategies reminiscent of moist on moist or dry on dry.

Mas concepts!

Landscapes: Begin with easy landscapes, like a sundown or a mountain vary. This can assist you perceive the best way to create depth and perspective in your work. How a few fairly evening sky?

Shade mixing: Take two colours and see what number of totally different hues you possibly can create by mixing them in numerous proportions. It will allow you to perceive how colours work together with one another.

Textures: Attempt to recreate totally different textures like wooden, metallic, fur, feathers, and so forth. It will require you to experiment with totally different strategies and brush strokes.

Washes: Observe creating flat washes, graded washes, and variegated washes. It will allow you to perceive the best way to management the quantity of water you employ.

Unfavorable portray: Use vivid colours to color round objects as an alternative of the objects themselves. This system can create fascinating results and assist enhance your understanding of varieties. This one is subsequent on my listing to attempt!

Monochromatic research: Select one colour and create a portray utilizing solely that colour, however with totally different values (lightness/darkness). This can assist you perceive the significance of worth in portray.


watercolor painting f a heart
Practising with one colour.

All of this may allow you to be taught colour principle as nicely. Bear in mind, the objective of those workout routines 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. Maintain training and also you’ll get higher over time. Completely satisfied portray!

RELATED: Watercolor Paper Earrings