Free Watercolour Painting Lessons

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How to paint watercolours

Overview

You'll find lots of free watercolour lessons below. But before you jump ahead, take a moment to read this short overview. It will help you make better use of the lessons on this site.

The best thing about watercolours from a newcomer's perspective, is the ease and speed at which you can be set up and painting. It makes it much more likely that you'll actually get your paints out and... well, paint on a consistent basis!

This is good because more than any other medium, you need to get a feel for watercolour paint through short 'play' exercises.

Being able to control the amount of water in your washes - how they look when they first hit the paper compared to  when they dry - is crucial if you want to create pleasing effects.   

Another key trait of eye-catching watercolour images is the way different colours blend and bleed into each other on the paper. This takes practice and experimentation and painting full pictures is NOT the way you go about it.

Yet this is what most wannabe watercolourists will do. 

They will dive straight into painting a full landscape. Or they will make a half-hearted attempt at some basic exercises before quickly moving on to a complex landscape.

It's understandable because, after all, that's why we take up painting - to make great pieces of art that can be hung on the wall, given to friends or even sold at local exhibitions.

But you'll only get that satisfaction if the art you make pleases your eye. And you'll only get to that point by spending a bit of time mastering the component parts first.

How To Avoid Flat, Insipid Watercolour Paintings

Poor use of tonal value and tonal contrast is the number one problem we see amongst hobby artists in any medium. 

You see it pencil drawings, you see it in acrylics, oils, pastels and coloured pencils. But you see it most of all in watercolours!

Value simply refers to the lightness or darkness of your colours and contrast refers to how much difference there is between one value and the next. 

What you'll see in a lot of watercolours is that the lightest lights (the highlights) aren't light enough and the darkest darks (shadow areas) aren't dark enough. You can test this out by making a watercolour black and white and seeing how easy or difficult it is to distinguish shapes:

How to paint watercolour examples of tonal contastLeft: Poor tonal contrast = flat insipid image. Right: better tonal contrast = illusion of depth

If you haven't done it yet, get a copy of our free watercolour ebook which will take you through 3 exercises in tonal value...

GET OUR FREE EBOOK:
The Number 1 Secret to Improving Your Artwork


Watercolour Painting Lessons,
Tips & Guides

Watercolour Paints - What you need to know about watercolour paints and Bob's suggestion for a starter set of colours...

Watercolour Brushes - A guide to watercolour brushes and Bob's suggestion for a good all-rounder set...

Watercolour Paper - The various types of watercolour paper available and how it will affect your painting style... 

Watercolour Painting Accessories - From masking fluid to paper towel, here are some of the other bits and pieces you might want to have to hand...

Watercolour Palettes  - What should you use for a palette and do you need to buy one?...

Watercolour Painting Essentials Course

WATERCOLOUR ESSENTIALS COURSE - Our complete step-by-step course that covers essential techniques like colour mixing, wet-into-wet and dry brushing. If you're new to, or struggling with watercolour, this is where you need to start. Premium content. Become a member...

Watercolour Landscapes Course

WATERCOLOUR LANDSCAPES COURSE - The complete landscape painting course in watercolour. Built on the approach we talk about throughout this site - breaking things down into simple studies that are easy to learn and practice. Premium content. Become a member...

Watercolour Florals Course

WATERCOLOUR FLORALS COURSE - The complete floral painting course in watercolour. Built on the approach we talk about throughout this site - breaking things down into simple studies that are easy to learn and practice. Premium content. Become a member...

How to Mix Watercolour Greys - Watercolorists don't use black or white paint as a rule. So here's how you mix greys...

How to Paint Watercolour Clouds - Here's a simple technique for painting clouds in your watercolour skies...

Watercolour Painting Tips from Visitors to the Site - A collection of quick watercolour painting tips from visitors to the site...

Watercolour Still Life Course

WATERCOLOUR STILL LIFE COURSE - The complete still life painting course in watercolour. Built on the approach we talk about throughout this site - breaking things down into simple studies that are easy to learn and practice. Premium content. Become a member...

Watercolour Figures Course

WATERCOLOUR FIGURES COURSE - The complete figure painting course in watercolour. Built on the approach we talk about throughout this site - breaking things down into simple studies that are easy to learn and  practice. Premium content. Become a member...

Watercolour Portraits Course

WATERCOLOUR POTRAITS COURSE - The complete landscape painting course in watercolour. Built on the approach we talk about throughout this site - breaking things down into simple studies that are easy to learn and  practice. Premium content. Become a member...

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