Jessie Alice Smith
Learn How To Watercolor
Watercolor is one of the most; beautiful, freeing, achievable and cheapest forms of painting.
Let's give it a go!
First things first, I am not a professional Watercolorist. I am an artist and painter, but I have never had any training in watercolor. I have learned by loving and doing! Which (spoiler alert) is how most enthusiasts learn to make art these days.
I have included some information on the materials I use along with links to those products, some photos, and a few videos. I hope this post gives you the confidence you need to give watercolors a try. I can promise you, you won't regret it.
Soft bristled brushes. They do not need to be specific watercolor brushes at this point (although you can certainly buy true watercolor brushes if you like). Many brushes are interchangeable between watercolor, acrylic, or ink.
Watercolor paper. This is more important as regular paper will not work and will buckle with the water. I would recommend starting with a watercolor book of paper. I personally like the brand "Fluid" in any size. I also prefer Cold Press paper which has a bit more of that recognizable watercolor paper texture than Hot Press paper. I have attached a link to the book of paper I like using. https://www.guirys.com/global-art-fluid-watercolor-paper-easy-block-cold-press
Tape. I don't always tape my paper down but it's a good habit to start. I use artist's tape but you can also use masking tape, painter's tape, or kraft tape. (Scotch tape will not work). I prefer using artist's tape because it very rarely tears the paper when you remove it at the end. Here's what I use today: https://www.amazon.com/ProTapes-Artist-Flatback-Printable-Console/dp/B00DVAZT0C/ref=sr_1_5?crid=2NCT9GQT3UNL9&keywords=artist%27s+tape&qid=1643212732&sprefix=artist%27s+tape%2Caps%2C107&sr=8-5
Watercolor paints. I use both solid paint pots and liquid paints. I enjoy both, but the solid pots are a bit less maintenance and easier for beginners. As far as solid paints go, I really like Grumbacher. Link attached: https://www.guirys.com/grumbacher-w-c-opaque-24pn
Water. Easy peasy.
Once you have your paper taped down to your surface (remember your tape lines act as your border so be sure they're straight), place your paints in front of you, get your paint pots wet with your brush, and put brush to paper!
In your first few attempts, don't try to paint anything recognizable. Just put down your colors in an abstract form. Let it flow, let the water run, let the paint find its way. Get to know your materials.
Once you're more comfortable and feeling brave, try to compose an idea. Many watercolorists sketch out their composition on the paper first and paint over the pencil marks. That's currently not my way, but by all means, try it if you'd like!
I also keep a hairdryer on hand in case an area I have painted is taking too long to dry and I want to speed things up.
Always sign your work.
I typically un-tape my piece just before it is fully dry. I find that if you remove the tape when it is not wet but damp, your tape is less likely to tear your paper.
Finally, after you have removed the tape and your piece is fully dry, you will probably need to flatten it a bit. I use a stack of books for about and hour.
Time Lapse Examples
Final painting #1:
Final painting #2:
Final painting #2:
You did it! Nothing great happens over night or rarely on your first try. Keep trying and experimenting with new methods, paints, content, etc... The point is, to do and keep doing.
Happy painting, Friends.
All photography and art by Jessie Alice Smith. Prints are available of the pieces seen in this post. See Print Shop.