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Katya Schwarzenböck

Designer, Decorator



[UPDATED] Art Hack: How to Turn a Photo Into a Work of Art With Watercolors. Chapter I

Dear students and fellow teachers,

as I promised, I have published my Art Hack Series on October 31!

I divided this class into 2 short individual chapters, so you can consume it whenever you have free time.

Chapter 1
Class Referral Link
Free link

Chapter 2
Class Referral Link
Free link


In these two chapters I will cover two important aspects of successful painting including:

  • How to produce clean and nice outlines for your future paintings.

I will show you two tracing methods that can be used for drawing, designing embroidery patterns, stencils, tattoo tracing, sketching, calligraphy, and so much more.

  • How can you successfully control your washes and maximize the watercolor effects without worrying about mistakes.

My Watercolor approach is simple. And you really don‘t need a lot of painting experience and many supplies to get started.

Even though I can not guarantee you‘ll become a famous artist, I will show you everything I did to create my collection of watercolour tile decals and wall tattoos I am selling internationally.

Try my method and see for yourself!

I'm wishing you much success with your creative process and I can’t wait to see what you come up with!



THE OUTLINE of my class is here.




This class is perfect for beginners, for students, for designers, anyone who wants to experiment with watercolors, but doesn't have hand drawing skills. No prior painting experience is required.


I completely believe that your own hand-painted art adds inspiration and style to your spaces, gives a burst of creativity and stimulates your senses. This technique is a great way to turn any photo into some beautiful, sweet wall art that you can be proud of!


  • how to use tracing to get outlines for your future painting, an anchor to guide you, so that you know where to place your brush as you paint.
  • how can you successfully control your washes and maximize the watercolor effects without worrying about mistakes.



Step 1. Download the image of the rooster I've painted in this class (download link), save it to your computer and print it out.

Step 2. Pick one of the tracing methods you want to try and trace over the image.

Remember, it doesn’t need to look like what I drew above, it has to look like what you want it to look like. Choose a line to draw: short and messy, light or nearly invisible. See how it turns out. Use pencils that you can erase. If your line is too dark, dim the lines down with eraser.

Step 3. Apply watercolors layer-by-layer to arrive at the effect you want, using the wet on dry watercolor technique.

Step 4. Upload your process and the final project in this class and win one of these hand-painted watercolour tile decals and wall tattoos!

I can’t wait to see what you come up with!



To get started with your class project, you will need these essential watercolor painting supplies: paints, pencil with a rubber, paintbrushes, a palette, a container of water and of course a watercolor paper.

1. Paints. 

Watercolor paints come in 2 forms: tubes and pans. Tubes of watercolors are already moist, with a pasty consistency. Pans of watercolors are like hard cakes of paint that need to be moistened with water to be used. You can purchase watercolors individually. If you're not sure whether to get pans or tubes, consider buying a beginner's set of each and seeing which you like best.

2. Pencil and rubber.

To get outlines of the rooster you will need H or 2B pencils, depending on tracing method you choose. H leads are extremely smudge-resistant and give cleaner lines, making them useful for outlines and light sketches. 2B are darker and are great for redrawing the original image underneath.

3. Paintbrushes.

All you need to get started are 2 brushes: a medium round (#6) for creating large washes and a small round (#00) for creating fine details. You can worry about the other sizes and shapes later! Both natural hair or good synthetic brushes work well with watercolors.

4. Watercolor paper.

Watercolor papers are available as sheets, pads, or blocks. There are student papers and artist papers. Artist papers will be better quality, which will allow you to achieve better results. They can be purchased in individual sheets that you can cut to size. This is a good way to try out different types of paper. If you're not sure whether to get student or artist papers, consider buying a good quality and economical price tape bound watercolor pads that are perfect for students and beginning artists.

5. Palette.

Choose a palette that has separate wells that you can mix your colors in. The walls of the wells will keep the colors separate, otherwise the watery paint may just run into each other. If you use pan watercolors, you can also use the plastic lid of the watercolor set as a palette. Just be sure that the lid is dry when you close it.

6. Container of water and a paper towel (or kitchen paper).

You will need a glass, jar or cup of water. It's best if your container is clear, so that you can see how clean or dirty the water is. It's convenient to use 2 containers of water – one full of clean water for dipping, and one for rinsing in between colors.


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