I recently reviewed my priorities (not particularly connected to the New Year) and decided that while working out and binge-watching Netflix are valid contributions to my quality of life, they can wait while I focus on more productive things. I've been painting or drawing daily, and it's been amazing! I feel less stressed, more focused in general, and am enjoying seeing my progress. I went to college for drawing and painting so have taken my fair share of watercolor classes, but after years away really needed to warm back up.
The best part? Watercolor painting is relatively easy and affordable to start, compared to a lot of other mediums. Here's what's been working for me!
Resources to Get Started With Watercolor Painting
1) An online class. There are so many available, and a LOT of very talented artists are sharing their expertise. They don't have to be expensive! I just finished the Brit + Co Watercolor Painting Class by Jenna Rainey, and at $19 it was very definitely worth it. I've admired her work for awhile, so loved the chance to see her style in action.
2) Follow artists on Instagram. Need some no-cost inspiration? Follow artists who post their work, action videos, product reviews, and material details. When I see an artist whose work is amazing, I love to read what paper, brushes, and paint they use. My favorites to follow are Calligrafikas, Natalie Studio, Song Dance Design, Mon Voir Co., and Living Pattern.
3) A local workshop or mini-class. This isn't always easy, depending where you live, but I'm lucky we have an occasional one in Ithaca! I'm signed up for onein May at Mockingbird Paperie here in Ithaca. Many workshops are only for a day or afternoon, so you may want to consider driving to a large town or city if it increases the selection. For something longer term, look at local colleges - especially community colleges! I once took a ceramics class through a local community college and loved it. Not only was it affordable, but there was a small class size so lots of individual attention.
4) Online tutorials - there are so many! I really like this beginning watercolor tutorial from The Postman's Knock. Don't limit yourself to one online or in-person resource, though - everyone has a different style, and you may find that some work much better for you than others. YouTube videos are in abundance, so try searching there for specific techniques or subjects you really want to try painting. Another great tutorial is from The Alison Show - she is coincidentally one of the funniest people ever, so she's worth visiting just for that!
5) Stick to the basics. Find some exercises to get warmed up. Don't put pressure on yourself to churn out amazing paintings right away. Focus on the process, and the fun! Loosen up, make mistakes, and experiment. Maybe even start with a color study, like this one from Mon Voir to get acquainted with the paints you're using. Check out this YouTube video for some more practical exercises.
Bonus Tip) Just start! Even if it isn't perfect. I've taken online classes where I didn't have every brush or color they referenced. They used tube paints, I had pan paints. They taped their paper down to a table, I had no space, so used painter tape around the sides of a sketchbook to make my own "block". Yes, it's ideal if you can follow things exactly and have the perfect set-up... but sometimes you don't. Not having the exact same size round brush is no reason to skip an opportunity to learn! You can work with what you have until you improve or save-up for the supplies on your wishlist.
A Few Of My Favorite Watercolor Painting Supplies
- Silver Brush Plein Air Brushes (I most use this size and this size).
- Kuretake 24-Color Painting Set
- Aquash Water Brushes
- Arches Cold-Press Watercolor Block
Any other tutorials I should check out? Favorite techniques or tools?
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