Watercolor Basics 2: Water Control | Jessica Sanders | Skillshare

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Watercolor Basics 2: Water Control

teacher avatar Jessica Sanders, Artist | Designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Water Control


    • 3.

      The Results


    • 4.

      Thank you! and Project


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About This Class

Hi, I’m Jessica Sanders, a self-taught mixed media artist who loves exploring art and sharing it with you!

I am creating a series of ultra beginner mini classes to help you learn to paint with watercolor.  The skills I teach in these classes helped to put me on the fast-track to creating vibrant, loose, beautiful watercolor paintings like a pro!  And I believe they can do the same for you!

Each class is designed to teach 1 or 2 beginner skills of watercolor painting.

Let's Keep It Super Simple - KISS, baby! - short, and easy to learn!

Watercolor Basics 2: Water Control

In class 2, we will explore water control.    We will take a three bears approach to discover how much water is too much, too little, and just right.  We will explore how the amount of water affects the drying time and the results you achieve when painting .  All in less than 15 minutes!

Then it’s project time!  Let’s be Goldilocks!  I would love for you to try ALL 3 amounts of water!  Practice each one - too much, too little, and just right!  In this way, you will learn water control + you will learn how you love to work!  

You can do a little or a lot - fill a page with each, or fill a page with a mix of the three amounts of water.  Use lots of your favorite colors!

Don’t forget to  share it with me and your fellow students in the Project Section.  If you enjoyed this class, please leave a review, so I will know you want me to keep going!


How to recognize and control the water on your paper.


Watercolor paper:  140 lb / 300gsm

Watercolor brushes:  10 round

Paper towel



Other classes I am teaching:  

Watercolor Basics 1: Mixing Water with Watercolor Paint

Watercolor with Me: Loose and Juicy Summer Fruit Slices

Watercolor with Me: Fun & Fabulous Flamingo

Watercolor Skillbuilder: Daring Doodles

Whimsical Faces: Drawing Basics

Watercolor with Me : Falling Snow Holiday Cards


Other watercolor teachers on Skillshare:  

Irina Trzaskos, Ron MulveyChris V.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jessica Sanders

Artist | Designer


Jessica Sanders

Artist, Instructor, Designer

Illustrated Journal: Fill a Sketchbook with Butterfly Inspired Art


Hello lovely, lovely creative friend!

My new class is up and going!  I hope you will join me as we go on a journey together, filling a journal with lovely butterfly inspired art.  I just added a new page spread, Explore Texture, which is covered in 15 bite size lessons (13-27).  

I can hardly wait to see your project!!

Happy Painting,



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Level: Beginner

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1. Welcome!: Hello. Welcome to my skill share class. I'm just Sam. In this many watercolor class, we are going to explore how much water you need to use on your paper. Well, sort of use the Three Bears approach will try too much, too little and just right. And then after that, we'll talk a bit about how to apply these techniques. I'll see you in glass. 2. Water Control: Let's talk about water control. Water control is a big topic for new watercolor artists, and it's actually very important no matter how long you've been doing water color. But you just eventually you learn, Um, and to be able to observe exactly how much water you should need and how much you don't. But I want to give you sort of ah three bears approach. I say this is a three Bears approach to knowing how much water is too much water on your paper or how much is too little. And then how much is just right? So I've sort of created a space is here for this, and I hope that you're going to build a really see how much water is on the paper. As we're going through this, I decided to at a little color to mine water. Now this could be you could do this with plain water or colored water. I'm just going to use a lightly pigmented water. Often we have the problem of having too much water. Too much water sort of causes blooms. It causes your paint your paper to buckle sometimes. But the main thing is, you don't get a nice, smooth effect that you're looking for. If you have too much water, let me show you what too much water looks like. So when you're painting and you have a big puddle like this, see that I couldn't even move this puddle around. Then you're not going to get a smooth effect when your paint is drying. So you can expect this big mounded too much, too much water to yield, sort of an uneven kind of result. So we'll come back to that and see how it drives. But let's just leave it there for now. It's actually also going to take a really long time to dry now, just because I said this is too much water, it doesn't mean you can't use this much. You may want the effects from having this puddle of water, but if you don't, that that puddle is definitely going to be considered too much water. Now, if you have too little water, then what? What happens is you get a dry brush effect. So if my brushes quite dry and I try and pick up the paint, this is not even showing up. I have so little in there then I'm going to pick up the texture of the paper. Let me use a different color for this because it's not really showing up, but basically not going to get smooth paint. It's gonna have. The texture of the paper is showing now. There's nothing wrong with this, either. This is called a dry brush effect, but if you're looking for that sweet spot of water having a dry brush, that's just not it. Okay, that is going to drive very quickly, though. That is nice and it does have a nice texture. Okay, so then just right, How much is just right? That's really the main thing I want to talk to you about. So we're going to pick up our color and then we're going to tap off the tips. Usually there's a little drop there and let's see. Have you know, let's see if I have just the right amount here, so my colors going on smoothly. I don't have a big puddle. It's not soaking into fast. I could still move my pigment around, but you can see there's no puddle there, so as this dries, it's going to be very smooth wash of water color. This is already almost completely dry. So I'm going to let these dry and then I'll come back and share the results with you. 3. The Results: okay. Our paper has dried and in fact, the dry brush effect. The too little water. It actually dried before I was ever finished talking and and took the break. The just right section dried and about so I would say, less than five minutes. Really nice and smooth there. And now let's talk about the too much section. I decided to go back and add another, deeper, darker color just to see what would happen and what I really noticed about it. It it dried both of them fairly evenly. There is a little bit a variation of color in here, which you may get that anyway when you're doing watercolor on, and there is also a little bit of where it's a little bit lighter here in the middle. But But what you may notice is this really dark ring around the outside. So because there was so much water there, it pushed the pigment to the edges, which is what creates this dark ring. You noticed. This has a little bit of a reading, but it's not much. It's like, really close to the color the rest of the color. But this one is quite a bit darker. So a lot of the pigment got pushed out. And same thing here. It did dry fairly evenly. Sometimes when you have too much water, especially if it's in a, like a bigger area, I'll show you this here with this color Swatch. If you see this, this is because there was a lot of water in this area and not much water here and not much water here. So this big mound of water in this area pushed the color out and away, push this like color and pushed the start color and moved into there and did not create a smooth transition because I had somehow managed to get a lot of water in this section. This sort of happened here. Also see, it has this sort of bloom these air called blooms or cabbages, and for me, I'm okay with them. But some people want that really smooth transition. And in some of these, I do have the smooth transition that I could see here after the fact. Oh, I really probably had too much water in that area, and that's what caused this blooming effect here. If you like the blooming effect or you want to use it. That is perfect. Now you know how to get it. You put quite a bit of water in one area and has more water. One area less water in another. And perfect your good. These are the kind of effects that I love. And watercolor. I don't mind if you have too much water. I don't mind if you have too little water. I think those air just more techniques that you can explore. And I also I don't mind if your water is just right and perfect on your paper. So any of these are great. As long as you understand and know what happens when you have too much water, too little water or just the right amount. Okay, so let's talk about your project. 4. Thank you! and Project: in these many classes. The goal is not to create a fabulous, fantastic painting at the end, but the goal is to practice your skills and to build your watercolor skills. So for your project, I would like for you to practice having too much water practice having too little water and practice having just right water. Let's be Goldilocks. Let's try a with three and see what happens. And in this way you'll learn what you enjoy. How your paints your specific pains work with your specific paper because everyone's slightly different, depending on the brands and things that you're using. And you can just see what kind of textural effects you can get, what kind of solid, dark lines you may or may not get. Whether you get this sort of feathering look with it, just try it, experiment with it and fill a whole page. Maybe in your sketchbook. It can be a small page or large page with too much too little just right. Label it if you can maybe put it in sections. Here's O section one too much water. Here's a section with just right. Here's a section with too little and create a page that will show you and then also will have something you can refer back to that shows you how your pants behave and what happens when you have that puddle. What happens when you use the dry brush and what happens when it's just that perfect amount ? Quote of water. Okay, thank you so much for joining me. I'll see you in the project section of the discussion section and be sure and check out my other classes. If you're enjoying these many classes, I would love to see you in my other classes as well. I have a painting loosened, juicy summer fruit slices painting a flamingo. I also have a a drawing, um, class, so far whimsical, drawing their arm. Or But I just want Teoh let you know that those air out there And also, if you enjoy this class, leave me review. Share it with your friends. If you share it with your friends and they join skill share. Guess what? You could get a free month of skill share. So it's pretty good deal there. All right, so thanks so much. And I'll see you sing. Bye bye.