The Art Beat guide to watercolours

All you need to know about watercolours

As a beginner, watercolour painting may seem quite tricky, but don’t worry. Once you learn the basics, the road ahead gets smoother and fun. 

Watercolour paint is made of colour pigments suspended in a water-soluble binder, such as natural gum arabic or synthetic glycol. Being a translucent, water-based medium, watercolours offer excellent versatility. You can make illustrations, paint birds and flowers, or even create a beautiful landscape painting for a friend using watercolours. The possibilities are limitless.

And the best part is that you don’t need much to get started. A brush, watercolour paints, a jar of water, and good-quality paper. The rule of thumb for beginners: keep it simple. When creating your colour palette, you can go with just the primary colours (yellow, red, blue), as they provide an excellent range of colours, shades, and tones when you mix them in different proportions. 

Begin with painting shapes that are easy, familiar, and symmetrical, like a jar, fruit or flower. Because when the form and shape of the painting are easy to work with, you can focus on mastering the techniques. 

There are many watercolour painting techniques, each offering new ways to bring your ideas to life. Depending on the object of your art and your desired expression, you can choose a technique that works best for you. Apart from learning many techniques, we recommend our students to experiment with the water content and try out different colour values and gradients in order to get used to various colour formations and their effects on a given surface. 

If drawing is your strength, you may even use watercolour pencils for creating art. That way, you get the best of both worlds of drawing and painting. Watercolour pencils are just like colour pencils but behave differently when water is added. 

Remember that your art may not always come out the way you had intended initially, and that’s okay. The beauty about watercolour painting is that even the so-called mistakes can open up gateways to fascinating themes, effects, and ideas. Keep your heart open and let your creative imagination run wild. 

At Art Beat, our friendly teachers guide students to make art using watercolours through a step-by-step process, making it fun, informative, and easy.

Getting started with watercolours

Learning a new medium can be challenging, but once you have all the materials you need and understand their functions, you are sure to have a ton of fun while drawing with watercolours. To make art with watercolours, get the following materials:

  • Paints 

Paints are available in tubes and pans. Tubes have a pasty consistency and pans are like hard cakes. You can get a set of each to find what suits you best.

Art Beat recommends: Watercolor set from Brustro

 

  • Paintbrushes

Watercolour paint brushes come in many sizes, shapes, and hair types. Beginners can start painting with just two round brushes - medium and small.

Art Beat recommends: Paint Brushes from Paaroots

 

  • Paper

Papers used for watercolour painting should be sufficiently weighted, consistently-textured, and be able to easily withstand multiple washes.

Art Beat recommends: Sketchbooks/drawing papers from Brustro or Menorah

 

  • Palette 

Watercolour palettes are available in ceramic and plastic. Beginners students can go with plastic palettes, as they are cheaper, lighter, and easy to hold. 

Art Beat recommends: Painting Palette from Futurekart

 

  • Kneaded erasers

It’s always good to have a kneaded eraser while creating art. They are easily stretchable, giving you more flexibility and control while erasing.

Art Beat recommends: Kneadable art eraser by Brustro

  • Removable magic tape

Easy to apply and remove, this tape helps your paper stick onto the surface. It also prevents watercolours from entering areas where it is taped. 

Art Beat recommends: Magic tape from Scotch

Create magic with these tips and tricks

Here are a few things to keep in mind while creating art with watercolours:

  • Work from light to dark, layer by layer, when you are applying watercolour.

  • If you like to sketch first and then paint, use a 2H pencil for the underdrawing.

  • You can add texture with salt. Sprinkle it over a swatch of watercolour and blow it away.

  • Watercolour painting is all about water content. Be in control of it, from start to finish. 

  • Mix your paint in excess, so you have extra paint left in case you need more colour than what you had accounted for earlier.

Did you know?

Watercolour art dates back to the cave paintings of paleolithic Europe. It later became popular in Egyptian art after the discovery of paper. Watercolour was also used for decorative purposes in traditional Chinese art. Modern watercolour painting has its origins in the Northern Renaissance. A German artist named Albrecht Durer was one of the earliest exponents of watercolour. 

See what our students are making

You can do the same! Whether you are a beginner in art, a hobby artist, or a designer who wants to explore a new medium, we’ve got you covered with our online classes. 

  • We’ll take you through the materials you need to get started, from watercolour paints, brushes to palettes, papers, and more.

  • We’ll show you some of the easiest ways to start watercolour painting, so you can experiment and choose what comes most naturally to you.

  • We’ll teach you all about texture, layering, underdrawing, and many creative techniques of painting to help you create magic with art.

  • We’ll give you tips and tricks and regular feedback to help you improve your artistic skills and progress on a day-to-day basis.

Expert Speak

"When painting with watercolours, remember that they are a translucent medium. So there may be uncertainty around the accuracy of the colour tones when you mix them. For the purposes of clarity, always keep a sheet of paper to test out your colours before using them for your art.”

 

~ Namratha G N, Founder | Art Beat

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