Watercolor painting is an interesting form of art that both newbies and experts can use. But just like any other craft, it takes time to master. So, for all the newbies out there, you’ve got to start at the bottom and see how far you can hone your talent painting in this medium.
For the more practical beginners, it may seem more budget-friendly to buy cheaper watercolor paints to hone their talent before investing in more expensive paint brands and brushes. But these two aren’t only important things to upgrade as you improve your craft.
Many people tend to overlook the effect paper has on their final output, be it a rainbow watercolor or a landscape drawing of their favorite area. So, for beginners out there who want to improve the quality of their work, here’s what you should consider when you choose your paper. Among some of the things to consider when shopping for a watercolor beginner kit include:
Watercolor paper comes in three basic textures that are commonly referred to as rough, cold press, and hot press. The naming is from the process of manufacturing, and the most common one is the cold press option. This is ideal for adding detail to art through texture.
Hot press paper lacks much texture and is almost like drawing paper. However, it is sufficiently thick to allow you enough time to manipulate your wet media without warping. Rough paper is just like the cold press option but offers more texture.
Since it will be holding water, it is essential that the material does so without bleeding or warping. How heavy the paper is has a great influence on this. The weight is normally expressed per specific bundle, which is usually made up of 500 sheets.
The heavier the papers, the more water they can hold. When starting off, purchase light practice paper and upgrade with time to affordable high-grade material. As a professional, investing in good quality sheets will ensure that you get some extra time to create on it even when it comes at some added cost.
Water, brushes, and pencils are the major tools of the trade in watercolor painting. Brush sizing affects how much water you have to deal with. How large they depends on what you will be working on and how big you want it to get. For beginners, smaller brushes and the use of standard watercolor pencils will serve the purpose.
Other than size, you also want to get the shape of the brush right. When working with flat brushes, the results are even. You get a smooth background. Round brushes, on the other hand, are flexible. You can choose these from a mix of synthetic material or invest in quality ones that will cost you a little more.
Graphite Pencils and Masking Fluid
Other additional materials that you may want to acquire are graphite pencils for your sketching. Masking fluid is also essential. You will use it to block out areas that you want to retain the paper color, such as when drawing eye whites or clouds.
The fluid allows you to go about coloring the rest of the image without worrying about the sections getting paint color from the surrounding. You will only need to rub it off after you are done to reveal the still white surface.
When you have all materials ready, you can choose from a variety of watercolor painting techniques. Most beginners find it easy to draw first then add water in stages. The other option is to dip the pencils in water, which gives thicker lines.
Wetting the paper and drawing on it when wet are also another choice. Ultimately, all these methods give you some result. To identify what works best for you, do not shy from experimenting. With time, you will know what suits you and stick to it.
Watercolor paintings date back to the earliest civilizations. Documentation suggests that watercolors date back as early as the paleolithic era or the Ancient Chinese and Egyptian civilizations, but it wasn’t made popular until the Renaissance Era.
Watercolors generally consist of four ingredients: a pigment, gum arabic to keep the pigment, additives to improve the quality of the paint, and water. Unlike most types of paint, watercolor is water-based. This means it’s fairly easy to wash it away from surfaces like your skin. So, to get the best effect, you need to find a surface that can absorb the pigment and water solvent for the best effect.
More Tips for Watercolor Painting Beginners
- Don’t skip out on paper. You could get away with buying cheaper watercolors in your local craft store, but if you really want the best output it will depend on the type of paper. Use the right watercolor paper to avoid your paper fibers from tearing up and warping due to the excess moisture.
- Start with six brushes. You don’t need to have a huge collection of brushes, but if you’re trying to be a practical beginner, it’s best to have six brushes in your arsenal:
- Spotter – the smallest type of brush used for small dots and very fine and short lines.
- Linter – thin and slender, this is used for outlining or creating thin strokes.
- Round – slightly thicker than the liner with a rounded body and pointed tip. Think of this as your all-purpose watercolor brush for added control.
- Flat – squarish flat tip used for creating broad and straight strokes.
- Mop – similar to your average blush-on brush. Used for textured strokes.
- Fan – has the widest range for broad strokes.
- Work backwards – because of the fluid properties of watercolor, it’s much easier to cover up mistakes with your lighter colors than your darker colors. Start with the light colors of your painting and make your way down to the dark colors. If you make a mistake with dark colors, it cannot be undone. But for lighter colors, darker colors can hide it.
- Mix more paint than you need – it’s much better to have leftover paint than to run out. Before starting your painting, mix your colors in advance and in large quantities. If you run out, it will be difficult to get that exact color match if you’re inexperienced at mixing colors.
Beginners may try to start with low-cost art materials when honing their skills. But if you choose low-quality paper to paint on, you may not be able to see the improvement in your painting. As much as possible, try to get true watercolor paper rather than trying to cut costs and opting for regular copy paper instead.