How to Watercolor Paint: 8 Steps For Making Amazing Art

5 Watercolor Habits You Need To Break

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Watercolor painting is an amazing art form that can be enjoyed by artists of all skill levels. In this tutorial, we will teach you how to watercolor paint like a pro! We will start with the basics and work our way up to more advanced techniques.

By the end of this tutorial, you will be able to create beautiful watercolor paintings that will amaze your friends and family. So grab your paints and brushes and let’s get started!

In this article, we will cover the following topics;

  1. What you’ll need to start watercoloring
  2. Set up your watercolor painting workspace
  3. Become a color ninja
  4. How to warm up correctly
  5. Choosing the right subjects
  6. Dedicating time
  7. How to measure progress
  8. Avoid beginner burnout
  9. Bonus tips if you are still struggling!

Learn how to watercolor paint and get past beginner burnout

Getting started with watercolor painting can be both exciting and frustrating. It’s filled with ups and downs so it’s no wonder many beginners become overwhelmed and quit. If you follow these eight steps we promise you that you’ll have longterm success. Heck, you may even become a fanatic!

watercolor supplies
– watercolor supplies

Step 1: Let’s begin with what you’ll need to get started with watercoloring

You will need the right supplies like watercolors and you can find more about them here. Get quality paint, a set of brushes, a cup of water, a palette, and paper. Watercolor paper is different from regular drawing or painting paper because it is designed to hold more water without warping or buckling. You can find the watercolor paper at any art supply store, or order them online. Here are the supplies Watercolor Fanatic uses and recommends to beginners and professionals. We’ve done the homework so you don’t have to!

Watercolor Paints – Use artist grade paint, that’s a must. But keep hues minimal. Here are the only 10 colors you need. Yellow ochre, cadmium yellow lemon, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, alizarin crimson, cadmium red light, neutral tint, burnt sienna, raw umber and white gouache.

Watercolor Brushes – Again, less is best! Large wash brush, #12 & #6 pointed round, and a dagger brush for creating awesome linear strokes.

Paper – Artist grade paper works best. Use 140 lb. cold press and get sheets. These are very versatile because they can be reduced to any size, front and back are usable and it’s cost effective if you buy in bulk.

Misc – two water reservoirs, masking tape, firm paint-board, something to elevate back f board so the washes runs downhill, and paper towels.

Step 2: Now you can set up your creative workspace

Part of being productive and learning how to watercolor paint is having a good creative space. It is important to have a dedicated space for painting so that you can spread out and not have to worry about making a mess. Find a table or desk that you can use as your watercolor painting station. If you don’t have a lot of space, you can clear off a section of your countertop or coffee table. Make sure that the area is well-lit and has a comfortable chair to sit in.

how to set up your watercolor space
– Set up your watercolor space; source Canva Pro

how to create beginner watercolor charts
– Create color charts

Step 3: Create color charts so you can become a watercolor mixing ninja!

To create beautiful watercolor paintings, you need to understand how colors work together. The best way to learn this is by practicing and experimenting.

Here are three tips to help you become a color ninja:

  1. Use a limited palette of colors. This will help you to understand how colors work together and how they react when mixed
  2. Practice mixing colors on your palette. Get to know the results of different color combinations
  3. Create color charts that focus on gradations, values, and temperatures. here’s a great article for that here.

Step 4: Start your painting sessions with simple warm up exercises

Before you start painting, it is important to warm up your hands and wrists. This will help prevent cramps and stiffness later on. Here are a few exercises that you can do to warm-up:

  • Wrist circles – Make small circles with your wrists. Repeat for 30 seconds
  • Finger curls – Curl your fingers into fists, then release. Repeat for 30 seconds
  • Mark making – Grab some scrap paper and make expressive marks. Go crazy, it’s a lot of fun and will loosen you up!
watercolor exercises
– watercolor exercises

How to warm up for watercolor painting
– Find the right inspiration

Step 5: Make watercolor painting easy by choosing the right subjects

When you are first starting out, it is best to choose simple subjects such as fruits, vegetables, forms, and organic shapes. This subject matter will help you to practice the basic techniques of watercolor painting.

As you become more comfortable with the medium, you can branch out and paint other subjects such as complex landscapes, animals, and portraits.

Step 6: How much time you should dedicate to painting

It is important to set aside a dedicated amount of time for painting so that you can make consistent progress. Beginners should start with 15-20 minutes per day and work their way up to longer painting sessions.

Time management, how to watercolor better
– Time management

measure your progress
– measure your progress

Step 7: How to measure progress

There are a few ways that you can measure your progress as a watercolor painter. One way is to keep a painting journal and track your improvement over time. Another way is to take photographs of your paintings so that you can see how your work has progressed.

Step 8: Avoid beginner watercolor burnout, it’s very common problem!

It is common for beginners to experience a sense of frustration and boredom when starting out in a new medium. This is called beginner burnout. To avoid this, it is important to set small goals for yourself and take your time learning the basics. You can also join an online watercolor painting community or take a class to get more feedback and encouragement.

avoid burnout
– Avoid watercolor burnout

finding watercolor inspiration
– Source, Charles Reid

Bonus tips!

If you are having trouble finding your watercolor grooviness, here are a few things that you can do:

  1. Use objects around your studio and home; this is perfect because you are familiar with them and part of your life. Keep them simple. A lamp, coffee cup with paintbrushes, iPad and paint tubes, things like that.
  2. Look at other artists’ work for inspiration; this is useful for gathering ideas you can try out. I HIGHLY recommend you don’t copy the art. Instead, borrow bits and pieces. For example, if you enjoy their urban-scapes, try studying how they paint cars and borrow some of their methods. If you love watercolor flower arrangements, try painting just the leaves, or you can explore how they create light and shadow on the vase. These are mush better ideas than copying every color and brushstroke.
  3. Join an online watercolor painting community; Check out Facebook, or Instagram and see if there’s a group of artists that interest you. This is great motivation and support for learning for great tips.
  4. Take a good online course; Robert Joyner has some amazing Skillshare courses that are highly rated by students.


We hope that this article has helped you to understand how to watercolor paint. Remember to take your time, be patient, and have fun! Experiment with different techniques and colors to find your unique style. And don’t forget to share your work with us! We would love to see what you create.

Do you have any other tips on how to watercolor paint? Share them in the comments below! Keep practicing and you’ll be a pro in no time! Happy Painting! 🙂

Affiliate Disclosure: Watercolor Fanatic recommends products we would use and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that are at no additional cost to you, we may earn a small commission. Read full privacy policy here.

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