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Watercolor Basics

To get started with watercolor painting, you will need these 11 watercolor painting supplies:




Paper Towels

Jug of water



Kneaded Eraser

Flat Board



One extra supply that I can't be without - Watercolor Pencils!

A Quick Lesson:

Watercolors and colored pencils work really well together. When layered, they combine to create gorgeous textures and a rich sense of color.

Using a 2B pencil, lightly outline your subject. Also make some marks to denote areas of shadow or highlights.

Next, use a sepia colored pencil to color in the darkest parts, as well as some of the mid-tones.

Now it's time to add the watercolor!

To make the color as dark and pigmented as possible, wet the brush and swirled it in the watercolor pan. When it is wet enough, lift the brush and paint the heavy color onto the darkest parts of the painting.

To make the more watery color (like a smoky grey color), use the brush to the wet paint from the pan and deposit the paint onto the plastic tray, add more water as needed to "lighten" the color.

Essentially, adding water disperses the pigments, spreading them out, which is why the paint looks lighter.

Next, add more details with watercolored pencils.


The first technique that is used in watercolor is wet-in-wet painting. Wet-in-wet painting is when the paintbrush is loaded with paint and is applied to watercolor paper that is already saturated with water. The result is that the paint is allowed to spread freely on the paper.

The second technique is wet-on-dry painting. This technique describes using a brush to apply watercolor paint onto dry watercolor paper.


The dry-brush technique is the technique of using an almost dry brush to apply paint at a certain angle that will cause the paint to only cover the highest points on the paper. This technique fills the stroke with holes and ragged edges.

Edge Darkening:

Edge darkening is created using the wet-on-dry paint method. The sizing in the paper combined with the surface tension doesn't allow the brushstroke to spread. As the water evaporates from the paint, the pigments in the paint flow towards the edge of the stroke. Thus causing the edge of the stroke to be darker than the rest of the stroke.

Intentional Back Runs:

Intentional back runs occur when a puddle of water spreads back onto a damp area of paint. The water causes the paint to spread out in branch-like patterns with rather dark edges.

Granulation and Separation of Pigments:

This effect creates a grainy texture that highlights the peaks and valleys in the watercolor paper. This effect is strongest when the paper is very wet.

Flow Patterns:

Is created using the wet-in-wet technique. The wet surface of the paper allows the brushstroke to spread freely. This effect results in a stroke that follows the flow of the water on the paper.

Color Glazing:

Color Glazing is perhaps the most important effect in watercolor painting. It is created by adding very thin, pale layers, or washes over one another. This effect not only creates new colors, but some say it give a luminous effect to the painting.