5 Resources to help and encourage beginner watercolor painters

Resources to help and encourage you when getting started in watercolor painting

Recently I’ve found my way back to watercolor painting, and the journey has not be easy. I enjoy the medium so much, I love their looseness and the way colors bleed and mix into each other. But I’m struggling… Premixed colors separate on the page, my paintings look ashy, and I’m never sure how to paint new layers without losing the previous layer. In my frustration I’ve been finding some encouraging words and lessons by various painters. I hope you can find some beauty and inspiration in their words and work as well.


Susan Chiang: Watercolor practice: learning to paint Maisa the dog (attempt #2)

Susan Chiang: Watercolor practice: learning to paint Maisa the dog (attempt #2)

Practice makes progress

Susan Chiang writes a series called Practice makes Progress, where she writes about her watercolor journey. One post in the series process and progress of painting a loose watercolor dog named Maisa. She documents each attempt with a photograph of the artwork and a paragraph or two about what she tried, liked, or didn’t like about the attempt. I’ve never seen an artist detail their “failures” and lessons learned, and it was so refreshing and encouraging watching someone else document their journey. There’s even a timelapse video of attempts #1, #3, and #4.


InkStruck Studio: blending techniques

InkStruck Studio: blending techniques

Blending techniques

Inkstruck Studio has a great post about 5 different blending techniques.

  1. softening the colors

  2. color drop

  3. two color blending

  4. color drop on water

  5. controlled blending

Each blending technique is accompanied with a photo series, and some techniques show alternative methods.


Susan Chiang: Why watercolor is so hard (and why you should embrace it)

Susan Chiang: Why watercolor is so hard (and why you should embrace it)

Why watercolor is so hard

Susan Chiang wrote an eye opening post about some of the most common difficulties with watercolor, and why you should embrace the challenges unique to this painting medium.


Surely Simple: 5 watercolor exercises to try and enjoy

Surely Simple: 5 watercolor exercises to try and enjoy

5 watercolor exercises to try and enjoy

Aaria watercolor exercises echo Susan Chiang’s post about the difficulties of watercolor paintings. The 5 exercises are all about embracing the imperfections, loosening up, and having fun.


Melissa Esplin: Getting the most out of your watercolors

Melissa Esplin: Getting the most out of your watercolors

Getting the most out of your watercolors: Saturated tones

Melissa Esplins post on getting the most of your watercolors caught my attention because of her tip on using warm/hot water instead of cold water. Colors will dry more vibrantly and the hot water will help the brushes last longer. I’ve always used cold water in my water jars, so I can’t wait to try this tip.