Starting with Watercolor: A Beginner’s Guide

Starting with Watercolor: A Beginner's Guide

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The great French artist Henri Matisse once said, “Creativity takes courage.” If you are an amateur and are taking your first steps into the world of watercolor artwork, you need courage. That is because efficient use of watercolor is not so easy unless you have at least a little experience with brushes. The effect that watercolor strokes can put on a piece of art paper is unique and unmatched. Some of the most iconic paintings, like the Cathedral of Llandaff by Paul Sandby (also known as the father of watercolor painting) and the Marie Dieu Doubling the Point of Kerro’ch, by Roger Hirsch were created using watercolor.

Watercolor gives paintings a different look compared to traditional mediums. Imagine attempting to make a watercolor painting of the scenes outside your bedroom window. Upon completion, you would come to know just how surreal the scene looks on watercolor. If the painting is accurate, you would see the same picture, but in a different, more vivid perspective. That is the true magic of watercolor. This article focuses on certain tips to try if you are just starting with it.

Get the Right Watercolor Paints for You

There is a variety of watercolor paints that you can choose from these days. The most popular ones include the tube and pan variants. Tube watercolor paint can be diluted with water before use, or just be applied in raw form, depending on the shade you are aiming for. Tube paints are mostly used when working on a large canvas. That is because of the ease of maintaining these compact little tubes when things get too messy.

Pan paints, on the other hand, are generally used to make small-scale paintings. Children in schools are most accustomed to this form of watercolor as many academic curriculums tend to prefer this. Furthermore, painters tend to choose pan paints while on the go, due to the portability of pan canvases as they are generally quite small. You will notice most outdoor painters use pan paint because of this very reason.

Liquid watercolor is another variant that is gradually increasing in popularity. It, as the name suggests, is a concentrated hue in fluid form that comes in small bottles of particular colors. The results it brings are truly exceptional as the colors are usually vibrant and extremely consistent.

Other popular variants of watercolor include peerless watercolor, gouache, watercolor markers, watercolor sticks, inktense pencils, watercolor pencils, water-soluble oil pastels, water-soluble crayons, metallic watercolor, and a few more. For a comprehensive list of watercolor types, their uses, the associated benefits, and the ideal choices for painters, make sure you check out this link. You can get all sorts of relevant information from this source.

Sketch Before Applying the Watercolor Paint

Sketching a rough draft before starting to apply the paint is a matter of preference. The common misconception regarding sketches is that they are done by amateurs to keep the paint within boundaries. However, this is not entirely true. Sketching helps when the project is large and complicated. Certain paintings take days to finish. Sketching helps the painters to capture their ideas and thus enables them to take their time on the painting phase.

Additionally, regular sketches can improve the painter’s skill set and raise the quality of their brush strokes. Just make sure the sketches are kept extremely subtle and light, as darker lines might remain visible even after applying the watercolor on top. We suggest watercolor beginners brush up on their sketching skills before diving deeper into the world of watercolor artwork.

Deal With the Light Colors First

Unlike in most other painting methods, the lighter shades need to be applied first in watercolor. That is because watercolor is transparent and remains invisible when applied over a darker hue. Of course, it is not a hard and fast rule, but following this does seem to be the standard way. Most of the lighter portions of a painting come from the paper underneath. Make sure these regions remain intact while you are putting down the darker colors. You can use masking fluid to prevent unwanted paint from staining these areas. Try making it a habit to start working with lighter colors and gradually moving on to the darker shades. This will make your life significantly easier.

Plan Color Combinations in Advance

Many homeowners redecorate their homes in several ways, paintings being a prominent example. Unique art ideas may come up at any random time. Artists, in such cases, try to record their ideas on a canvas as soon as possible. However, there is a certain drawback to this. Most scrapped paintings are usually the result of hasty starts. Watercolor artwork is all about the brilliant combination of color components on a canvas. If a prior blueprint is not developed, it gets complicated once you start applying the paint. Expertise in mixing color comes with experience. Make sure you practice a lot. Soon you will start seeing improvements in the quality of your artwork.

Clean the Brushes and Change the Water at Regular Intervals

Unclean brushes may lead to unwanted smears on your painting. Many amateur painters make the mistake of simply dipping the paintbrush into the water before going for another color. These small dips usually fail to remove the color properly, resulting in horrific smudges that are extremely difficult to remove or work around. Try to use multiple paintbrushes for different colors if you are unwilling to clean them frequently.

The same issue occurs with the water. After a few rounds of brush-cleaning, the water becomes stained, which can cause color inconsistencies in your painting. Make sure you change the water before it gets too tainted. It is a remarkably easy solution for potential painting disasters that should not be taken lightly.

Final Thoughts

Classy paintings raise the standards of a house’s interior and make it look more appealing. Many homeowners tend to invest a lot of time, money, and effort on expensive decorations when they can simply grace their walls with beautiful paintings. Although quality artwork does not come cheap, having them around certainly is refreshing and worthwhile. Watercolor paintings are greatly popular household decorations. If you are an aspiring painter, now is the time to go for it.

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