Watercolor Wisdom for Beginners

I have been thinking a great deal lately about how I got started painting in watercolors. In my years of experience with painting, looking back I wouldn’t approach it the same way I did. So I’m going to give you some suggestions of what I would try now.

1. DO IT FOR FUN! Either teach yourself from a book or take a class from a local teacher, preferably one who isn’t going to require that you purchase a great deal of supplies of expensive brands, etc. This sometimes happens at colleges. I wouldn’t recommend signing up for a whole semester of classes to begin with, because it is very expensive. And there are tons of demonstrations online.

2. BUY MEDIUM-QUALITY BRUSHES. In fact at first, just get a set of brushes, but not the kind you might buy a small child. Cheap is cheap. Borrow some better quality brushes if you know another person who already paints and can spare some better ones. But don’t invest in a lot of expensive stuff at first, because if you don’t like it, you’ve spent a lot of money that you can’t get back. If you do fall in love with painting in watercolors, buy high quality brushes later on, because you won’t have to replace them for years if you take good care of them! A set of brushes should come with a flat brush, a couple of round brushes, maybe a chiseled brush, and a liner brush. All of these brushes have different types of bristles for doing different types of strokes.

watercolor brushes

3. BUY A WATERCOLOR BLOCK OF PAPER. The paper is in a block, hence the name, with each sheet of paper glued all around the edges. When you paint on it, the moisture of the water helps loosen the top sheet, but I usually have to use some sort of dull knife to loosen it all the way around so I can tear it off. The reason I recommend this paper at first is so you don’t have to worry about “stretching” your paper. You need more supplies to stretch paper, and I am trying to keep your costs DOWN at this point! 🙂

watercolor block paper

4. BUY A SMALL COMPACT OF PAINTS. Some compacts come in 4 colors; some come with more. Each color of paint is compressed into a cake. And to make more colors, you can mix primary colors to get secondary colors, etc. Look up color mixing online in your favorite search engine or go to the library and look for a very basic watercolor painting book for beginners. The library I use has many to choose from, and if you find watercolor painting isn’t your thing, you haven’t wasted money on a book you may never use again.

Watercolor paints set

5. JUST USE A HEAVY DRINKING GLASS OR CUP FOR YOUR WATER. Even a plastic container of some type works. Whatever can hold about a cup and a half of water is fine. Just make sure it is stable with a big bottom so it can’t get knocked over and spilled easily.

6. GO TO YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY OR A USED BOOK STORE. If you want a book of instruction to learn the very basics from, then I recommend the library (the books are free!) or a used book store. Look for a very basic book that is for beginners. You don’t have to do everything the book recommends either as far as supplies to buy, etc. Just use good “cents”! But if you want to buy a book, try any bookstore that carries art books. An art supply store can be a little more expensive.


Remember to have fun! It can feel a little frustrating when you’re learning how much paint to use with the right amount of water, but anything new takes lots of practice.

In my next post, I’ll walk you through a beginner lesson. Have a great day, and give someone you love a hug! 🙂

(Images in this post are from Google.)

About whitefeatherfloating

When I began this blog I was simply going to share my writing. However, after being part of the blogging world for quite some time now, I decided to begin sharing my artwork. Patsy's Creative Corner will always have my artwork. Thanks for visiting! :)

Posted on January 14, 2014, in Art Talk and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. You don’t have a “Follow” button on your blog! : )


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