Watercolor Materials and Techniques for Beginners

Jeffrey Arlyn, Artist

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12 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. All About Paints

    • 3. Cold Press vs Hot Press Paper

    • 4. The Best Brushes

    • 5. Setting Up Your Palette

    • 6. Using Your Brushes

    • 7. Painting Techniques

    • 8. Practicing Mark Making

    • 9. Using Transparency To Make Washes

    • 10. Making A Gradient Wash

    • 11. Feathering And Blooms

    • 12. Practice Is Everything


About This Class

This class covers the fundamentals of watercolor, starting with an in-depth explanation of materials.  The goal will be for you to better understand the materials you have, and learn which supplies will best grow with you as you expand your practice.

I will also be teaching you specific techniques to help you maintain control of the water while you paint, as well as the basic principles of watercolor painting.  You will walk away with an understanding of the following:

  • Water control both in your brush and on the page
  • Mark making for various effects
  • Transparency as a means to create light and dark values
  • Feathering and blooms

Our class project is simply to practice these things by following along with the lessons.  To take it a step further, you can make a painting that incorporates what you’ve learned. This can be anything you want it to be, you don’t have to take it too seriously!  Watercolor is a challenging medium at first, so the more you practice and play, the better.

This class is perfect for absolute beginners, as well as people who have some experience with watercolor and want to push their understanding of materials and techniques to the next level.

For this class, you will need the following materials:

  • Watercolor paints
  • Watercolor brushes
  • Watercolor paper (140lbs or greater)
  • A palette with a white mixing area of at least 3x3 inches
  • Two small bowls or jars for water
  • Paper towels (the more absorbant, the better)

The quality of your supplies can make a huge difference in what you can do with watercolor.  Feel free to work with what you have, or visit the Class Project for my list of recommended supplies.  These are all products I use as a professional artist, but they are friendly enough for a beginner’s budget.


Music Credits

"Carefree" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License