Intro to Watercolors | Suzanne Kurilla | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Trailer

    • 2. Watercolor materials

    • 3. Getting Started Pt 1 Mixing Colors

    • 4. Getting Started Pt 2 Mixing Colors

    • 5. Background Ideas Tips Pt 1

    • 6. Background Ideas Tips Pt 2

    • 7. More Watercolor Examples

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class


In this class, I will cover all of the basics and how to get started with watercolors. First, I will go over all of the materials that you will need. Next, I will show you how to create different techniques, such as the wet on wet, and color balance. There will also be background ideas and many samples with various details and other options. This class is great for beginners and those who are new to watercolors. I have listed down below the supplies that I used throughout this class. The supplies listed are just guidelines for new students/artists. A reference photo is located down below as well. 

 In this class, you will learn

  • wet on wet technique
  • wet on dry technique
  • how to mix your colors
  • how to create textures

Supplies Used

  • Watercolor Paints - Winsor and Newton, Art Philosophy (Prima) Artist¬†
  • Brushes - Princeton, Neptune Series, Jacksons¬†
  • Watercolor Paper - Strathmore 140lb cold-pressed¬†
  • 1 cup of Water¬†
  • Rag/Paper Towel





Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Suzanne Kurilla

Watercolor & Acrylic Artist





About me

    Some areas I specialize in are Watercolor & Acrylic Painting. I have worked with adults of various ages and artistic levels. I enjoy creating content and helping others on their creative journey.

You can find my work on Instagram and FREE mini-tutorials on YOUTUBE, ArtwithSuzanne!
Also, l have Art prints for purchase and more in my Society6 shop.  

Now on TikTok, mini tutorials, Artwithsuzanne. 

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Trailer: thank you so much for joining in and for today's class. This is going to be a introductory class on water colors and some of the techniques and how to get started. 2. Watercolor materials: first up, I'm going to start with the materials and water colors. You couldn't buy them in little pans or tubes, and the pans come in half sizes shown here. Or you can get the bigger full pans. Um, and it doesn't really matter which ones you used. Just a personal preference. I actually like the the pans a little bit better. I just think they're easier to travel with. And then sometimes with the tubes they get like gunky, and then the caps don't come off, and then you can't scrape everything else. So again, it's some whatever one that you would prefer. Either one is fine, and next would be the paper. So there is half press and cold press. The cold press has a little more texture, which is the one I will show here today. And then the hot press is a much smoother finish, so again it's either one is better. The other is just a personal preference. I always go with £140 usually what I stick with because you want a thick paper so you don't see a lot of buckling, which is you will see that with like the cheaper £90 paper. So again, that's just something to be aware of when you're first. Starting out is that you want a nice, thick paper. And for student grades, I would recommend, you know, maybe a Strathmore or the Paul Reubens is affordable. And if you're looking for a higher artist quality, one of my personal favorites is arches. But again, if you're a beginner, you know there is no need to spend, you know, $50 or more on watercolor paper when you can just as easily start out with the student crave and then work your way up. So again, where some of the more affordable brands are the Strathmore or the Paul Reubens, I think even our Tessa has a student grade line, and there's lots of cancer and lots of brands to choose from. But again, moving on to some more supplies yes, of water or a jar to rinse off your brushes and and pet these ceramic pallets come in very handy. You can put out some of your colors and each and, um, this one. Yeah, this one holds quite a few here they come in all different sizes, and, um, this one is ceramic, but they also come in plastic as well. Or if you don't have one of these, a lot of times you can use the mixing wells on your pan sets. Here. Um, there's a much larger one over there, and also you can use a small like normal dish to it doesn't have to have these individual wells, so there's a few different options there. Here's another example I had to go digging, but I found this is actually a top to an old mug, but it comes in the handy. It's a nice again, like ceramic lid, and it even has this little little edge right here, which is nice. And this is just a old jewelry dish. So again you can experiment and there's lots of things you can use for a palette going. Jump into some exercises now, and when you're starting out, you could use I would say, no more than three brushes, and this one's actually a mop. And so, even for the regular water color brushes like a 678 would be some nice sizes. And again, that's gonna very on brand. I have about three different brands in my hand right here. I couldn't leave some information in the class description, which you can check out, but again, so 3. Getting Started Pt 1 Mixing Colors: so the little ones off of the side and I need my mom. And you could have, like, an old rag, handy or paper child, Will and I just have some circles that are really lightly drawn out here today. So I'm just going to put down some of the water for the what? My technique here. And then I'm gonna take one of my smaller brushes. This one is the size eight, which is a nice medium brush. Do you know what the brush and let's see, We'll start off with some warmer colors first. Okay, so here's a nice golden yellow and you can see how well it really blends out with the water . And with this technique, you're not gonna see any harsh lines like you would less water. This is good for backgrounds, and they go like blending. Let's see, you could be doing anything florals, landscapes. They will put a little bit of the pink in here, so everything is still wet, and you could see how they bleed right into each other. And this is a really good way to with whatever watercolor set you purchased, you get to explore and see what colors go well together. Um, right here. I'm gonna use it on the dry. So we do have with this light pink, give a good rinse and then I'll put another color on the other side. And again, I left this one dry. So we're going to experiment with both techniques. You will use a little bit of blue and again you can see here how, When you're painting it on the dry paper, you have a lot more control. It's not going all over the place, but as a little experiment here, so we'll go right up to the pink. And now the crack. You can see it start to bleed. Maybe we'll even get like a light little purple there in the middle. And as faras colors are concerned, when you're just starting out, you can obviously used the basics. But if you're looking for a contrast, you couldn't explore with some compliments, which I will show here, too. But for right here, we're going to do see you use a little bit more water and dropping the colors into each other. Colors that are more harmonious together would be like blue and green and purple, and even how over here, I used the warmer shades of orange and yellow and red, and, um then, of course, like over here, you can experiment with the light in the dark, and you can create your own color palette, which would be shades that are more of your interest because not everyone is going to be the same. You could be someone who really loves their blues and greens, or someone who loves to do portrait's and flesh tones. So it's it's going to vary. But again, right here in this particular circle, you saw me put down the paint there, and now I'm just going to use a tiny bit off water, and we're going to show you couldn't drag out the paint so you can experiment with that as well. Now, sometimes you will see that you can leave a little bit of harsh lines, or you could choose to add more water to blend it. Obviously, the more pain you use, the the darker moral pick the color would be. But then it is still really nice to leave a more water down area that's lighter. So then you have your you're contrast there. What's in the next little bubble. We'll show how to create some highlights. Let's say we're gonna put the water down first. Here I attended a blue so you could see a Okay, we'll add more blue. Let's see. I'll add too much water on purpose here so that if you are working on a painting like I said, you're go. No, I added too much water. You could always go in with your paper towel or clean rag, and you could dab. And then you could see how the color is lifting and just suck it right up. Don't ever like push and smear the just damn it really, really gentle like that. And like you can see there, it'll create highlights as well. So even if you had a really dark area can just tap tap town and then those are your highlights. 4. Getting Started Pt 2 Mixing Colors: and I'm gonna continue here to explore with a few more colors just to give you some more examples. 5. Background Ideas Tips Pt 1: And over here in these other squares that I have taped off, I'm going to show some background ideas that you could do with your artwork. Yeah, Let's see. Again. I'm gonna use my mop brush. I'm gonna put the water down and again When you're starting out with your your piece and you have your everything together in your paper down, you're gonna want to tape up all of your edges. So all the way around, I don't mind a little bit different because I'm doing like a grid Lego here just for examples. But you will do all of your edges and then it's even nice, because when you're done with your picture and you take off the tape, you have a nice little white border as well. Back to the backgrounds here. I'm just gonna use one color. Let's see who use bright red here so you could see, Then we're gonna work on blending. So I have a lot of water down there. I'm actually gonna rinse off brush, and I'm just gonna continue to back and forth, back and forth nice and smooth. You get a nice radiation here from the dark toe life and again. If you want to see a little bit more, could maybe add a little bit more of that type and then continue to bring it down. Just remember to bring staff your brush a little bit because you don't want it to alterna one color. So that's one example for a background and second going to use the mop brush. Put down the water. This is gonna be a wet on what technique as well. Most of the time, you are going to have to put down your water with your mock brushes because it covers a large area. And then you couldn't do your solid color or whatever colors you're using. Let's see. We'll do a they dropped color techniques. Have you wanted your background to be a bunch of different colors, which is really popular, too? So like the more speckled design you could watch, the the water spread see will go with the compliment, and we'll put in some porch, little bit more water, and then you could play with different designs that way. Let's see if you use a little bit too much water, we'll steep. You'll see it, too. Run a little bit, but sometimes that could be in your favor, especially if you're doing like a more abstract piece. You can create some really fun designs with that, then you can go ahead and add a second layer. If you see something to believe too much and then it will get to light, just go back and add more paint, because with water color, you're going to be adding many, many layers. So it does require some patients, and down here will experiment with blending two colors instead of just the one. So let's say we'll use something a little bit darker here so you could see it go with deep purple. - We'll put some into go on the bottom and then very gently you could blend the two in the middle in the last one. Here, have some water and we'll have some fun with This. One will demonstrate how to do the splash technique or the splatter design, which is a really fun popular one for backgrounds as well. So again, let's take some great fun colors. So we use a bright yellow, and what you're gonna do is you can dip your brush in the water, get really wet, and getting your paint there, and then you're just gonna give little taps and then you can see it's splashing here. 6. Background Ideas Tips Pt 2: - and as far as a detailed piece, if you were going to to a lot of detail in your work, you're going to use less water because you're gonna want to have your lines showing. And I can show a couple of examples off work, so you get a good idea. It also for details you can experiment with using, um, white gel pens or White Wash will actually go over really well on some of these. What's the Eiken demonstrate? One of the the circles that has dried up a little bit. I'll put a couple stripes on this one so you can see how well they layer on top of each other once it's fully dry. White for Russia is good for details or the white jelly roll pans are popular for the wash . So I I don't use my good, expensive watercolor brushes I would use like a cheaper acrylic brush. That's just my my personal opinion, but this is just like a thicker, different type of paint, and I don't want it to get like donkey ears stuck on my good watercolor brushes. So I like to keep the bristles really, really soft. Okay, now I am going to move on for some more examples to show 7. More Watercolor Examples: these would be examples of a looser type of work. You could tell that there was a lot of water used to blend these colors, and it's almost like an abstract type of vibe there. And, um, again, I really liked the fado with, like the five you missed in the trees or even the moon. Over here, you can still see some of the texture and how to leave some of the harsher lines within again adding more water to blend your colors in your background. And also these little watercolor journals are really fun. You can find them on Amazon or different art stores. They're very easy to travel with us. Well, for beginners, they're just If you're a person on the go, see, this is a different Windsor Newton sketchbook that I have here and here you can see that there is a lot more detail. I used very little water with this one. The pains are like very, very highly pigmented and concentrated, and I can show some close ups of this as well. So you can really see the the white pen detail. And then I went in with some white wash here on the chin and some highlights, like around the eyes and the nose, so you can see how well the medium's work with each other. Then here's a good example of the backgrounds, like I already showed here, just showing that the color radiation there and you could mix for your son sets. But again, everything is applied the same. Laying down your water, dripping your colors down and blending and then waiting completely for it to dry and then layering the black on top. And if you're looking for more tutorials, you can feel free to check out my the rest of my classes. I have lots of different classes on many different things, like landscapes, florals, all different kinds of stuff. I even have, um, like a space one with, like moon and clouds. So again, thank you so much for watching, and you can feel free to check out my other classes. I hope this information helped you on your watercolor journey and stay tuned for more