Watercolor tips for newbies

You know what it’s like when you don’t have a clue, but you want to be able to do something?  Well I do that a lot, with many things.  But today I am going to talk to you about my watercolor experience and tips I have learned that are really helpful.

Rose Dr Martin

  1. Buy good brushes.  I started with brushes from WalMart.  Some were o-k, but some were not and that proved to be a waste of money and a whole lot of frustration. The reason that good brushes are so important is that they make what you are doing easier.  They hold more water and keep their shape.  A good point is something you will need, as well as an angled brush for clean lines and pulling your paint along the paper.
  2. Speaking of paper, that is another place you don’t want to skimp.  I am now using cold-press 140# paper from Royal & Langnickel.  Not the most expensive, but a big improvement over others.  The reason you want this type of paper is because it won’t buckle with the moisture you are applying in your painting process.
  3. There are so many types of paints to choose from.  To get started, I don’t think it is a big deal, but as you start to master some techniques, you will want paints with more pigment and that comes with a price.  The rose above was done with Dr. PhMartin’s HYDRUS brand and it was a dream to work with.  The leaves were done with Royal Langnickel and I can see a difference.  Can you?
  4. This next tip I discovered by trial and error and watching videos.  To clean you brush when changing colors, just do a figure 8 with it in your jar of clean water!
  5. It is important to lay out your light washes first,  then fill in darker tones.  Work slow,  it is important to let the watercolor dry before you go over it to deepen the color.


I am still a newbie, since I just started this in July.  But practice is so valuable and I am only doing it for me.  But I do love to share what I learn.

So my advice is start slow..  practice techniques, but don’t be afraid to let go and just paint.  Have fun with it!   Read books, watch videos.  I learn something new every day.  I find I look at art differently to discover how the artist was thinking…donnajean




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