You have seen them in the windows of galleries and gracing the walls of your friends' homes - beautiful watercolor paintings. If you have always thought that someone else has the talent and you would never be able to create professional-looking artwork, think again. As a professional watercolor artist, I am here to tell you that it is not as difficult as you may think.
To become a watercolor painter requires a few simple steps to get started.
1. Get the right equipment
Visit an art supply store near you and speak with the staff. Most art supply stores are staffed by artists, art students, and art lovers. Ask for their advice on what are the best brushes and paper to purchase for a beginner. You don't want to buy the cheapest equipment, but you may want to leave the expensive materials until you are more proficient. You don't want to feel like you can't practice without spending a lot of money and you will want to practice a lot. You need to give yourself permission to waste paper while you learn. You will need a palette to squeeze your paints into. I recommend you find a large one with more than a dozen wells for your paints and a large flat area for mixing colors.
2. Buy the right supplies
Watercolor paints come in little tubes and in several different grades including student and professional. To begin with I recommend that you choose student grade watercolors. The colors you choose is a very individual decision, but start out with a few basics. Your art store staff should be able to help you choose, but aim to purchase ten to twelve colors that represent the color spectrum. Watercolors do not come in white, since the paint is transparent and the color of the paper showing through creates white spaces. Black is seldom used and easy to mix using other colors, so you will want to choose a range from yellow through brown, plus reds, greens, blues, and charcoal grey.
3. Draw your subject
Drawing accurately is one of the most important aspects of creating a beautiful painting and you will need good drawing tools. To become a watercolor painter, you must develop your sketching and drawing skills. In my experience teaching art, I have found that the biggest mistakes that beginners make is to draw what they think they see, rather than seeing their subjects as a series of shapes, dimensions, light and shadow. For example, when you think of an evergreen tree, the picture you see in your mind is likely to resemble something you have seen since elementary school days - a cone shape with drooping jagged edges. However, if you were to go outside and really look at an evergreen tree you would see that the limbs usually reach upward. Notice where the light hits the tree and where the shadows fall. Notice the colors and the contrasts. Draw what you actually see, not what you think you see.
4. Practice with your paints
When you get home from the art supply store with your package of new supplies, squeeze some color into each well in your palette. You can use your paints straight from the tubes, but they will last longer if you squeeze them out into your palette wells and allow them to dry. Next, practice dampening your paper and painting into the wet surface. Also, paint on dry paper and see how your paints perform. When you are ready to start a painting, you will want to soak your watercolor paper in a clean water bath, lift it out an allow the excess water to drain off, then attach it to a board or table top using masking tape around all sides. As your paper dries it will shrink creating a nice flat surface that will not buckle when you apply paint and water to it later. This is especially important if you find you like painting with a lot of water, or painting wet paint onto wet paper.
5. Paint your picture
In order to become a watercolor painter, you will need to choose a subject for your first painting. It's best to choose something with which you are familiar, but that is not necessary. Find something you like and begin by drawing the subject lightly onto your dry paper. Do not be afraid to erase your lines if need be, just be sure to use a gum eraser so as not to disturb the surface of the paper. When you have completely your outline, which can be as simple or as detailed as you like, begin by defining the areas where the white paper will show through. You don't want to paint on these areas at all. Start painting with your lightest-colored areas and paint toward the darkest colors, layering your paint until you have achieved the desired effect. Remember that watercolors are transparent so you will have to apply layers to achieve a deeper color effect.
If you are ready to become a watercolor painter, an at-home study course is a great place to start. You can work at your own rate and the instructions are generally clear and easy to follow. You can learn a lot on your own from a good course and practice. To become a watercolor painter, you just have to paint, paint, paint. Click here to get started with a great course.
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I came across this video showing how to use watercolour pencils and thought I would share it. Watercolour pencils are fun and easy to use. Give them a try. You can find some supplies below.
Click on the links below to see supply choices.
Here’s something that will nurture your creative spirit and also help you relax and even change your state of mind. Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s called Zentangle.
What is Zentangle?
Zentangle is a form of meditative drawing using a pen and square paper tiles.
There are different ways to create these squares.
Here’s a short tutorial video that will help you get started experiencing the fun of Zentangle:
You don’t need much to get started with Zentangle. Here are the basics:
You can use white card stock or colored. Or, purchase an Artist's Tile Set. You may also want to get a good, unbreakable RULER, and a PROTRACTOR for measuring angles.
You will also want good permanent ink pens (above), and a Sharpie Marker. CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO SEE MORE.
We have also found some great books on creating Zentangles. CLICK ON THE COVER FOR MORE.
Coloring books for adults have taken the world by storm as grownups everywhere are discovering the joys – and the benefits – of coloring.
Studies show that coloring…
• is relaxing,
• leads to better work performance, and
• even lowers blood pressure.
Coloring books for adults tend to be rather sophisticated and more elaborate than their counterparts for kids. As such, coloring books for adults have been created around everything from gardens and tattoos to mandalas and Amazon animals.
If you’ve recently joined the coloring book for adults craze, you’ll want to learn techniques to turn your coloring page into a true work of art. Watch this video to find out how to shade with color pencils:
And look at how Wendy Dewar Hughes used brush markers (instead of crayons or colored pencils) to make this poppy page from my new Flower Coloring Book for Adults come to life.
I recently found this short video of how to get started in watercolors with a painting of a tropical sunset. The supplies you need are minimal and the technique is simple, so you don't need to feel at all intimidated to try it. This instruction is for beginners to get started.
To get started you'll need watercolor paper or pad, one flat watercolor brush, a smaller watercolor brush, a Sharpie marker, and a selection of watercolor paints.
Disclosure: I receive a tiny commission if you purchase products using the links above.
If you want to have an artistic project but don't want to invest in paint and expensive papers or canvas, try ink as your medium. All you need is a small unlined book—one made for using ink that you can find at a local art supply store—and a pen. The pen you see in the foreground of the above photo is one I use a lot. It's a Uniball Vision Micro. The ink is permanent, which means that once it has dried I can paint over it with watercolours and it won't smear.
If you want a perfectly rendered ink drawing you can start with a pencil drawing and go over it with ink, then erase the pencil afterward. However, you can also sketch with ink as I have done below. One of the benefits of sketching with ink is that it helps you get over perfectionism. Ink is unforgiving of mistakes but mistakes often make for the most interesting art.
The page above is from one of my sketch books. The subject are simply objects that I found around the house. (And my husband. I find him around the house frequently.)
If you want to explore using ink for drawing or calligraphy there are so many directions you can go with it. Beautifully coloured inks and fancy pens with multiple nibs, even glass, are available for exploration. Go and have fun with ink.
Want a more creative life? Here are a few simple ways to add more creativity to your days.
What do you do to add creativity to your daily life?
Want to make some elegantly decorated eggs this Easter? It's easier than you can imagine. I found this video with instructions a long time ago and thought it was a fun idea to share.
Keep in mind that you have to use SILK scarves as polyester ones probably won't work the same.