Watercolor Rules

Orange Sunset by Eileen McKenna

This past week I was teaching watercolor to the kids at the art studio. I’ve noticed that the kids are often impatient. They paint a background color and then they rush to paint the details. Since the background is still wet, the details bleed creating a blob.

I told the kids that painting in watercolor is like getting dressed in the winter. Just like you add layers of clothes to keep warm, paint layer after layer, letting each layer dry before adding another. With each layer add more and more detail. 

When you start a painting, start with a wet, bigger brush, painting the lighter colors. As you progress to the final layers, paint with a drier, thinner brush to allow for the finer details.

Watercolor “Rules”

PAINT LAYERS – LET THE PAINT DRY BETWEEN LAYERS.

PAINT LIGHT TO DARK, BIGGER BRUSH TO SMALLER BRUSH, WET TO DRIER BRUSH.

Following these “rules” helps you to turn beginning blobs into a detailed illustration or painting.

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Learn the fundamentals

from beginner brushstrokes to a final seascape painting and four other painting projects in between!

Check out my “Watercolor Exploration Guide” – which walks you through the fundamentals of watercolor with exercises and five painting projects. Discover a love of watercolor!

Beginner Watercolor Exploration Guide

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