Saturday, February 4th, 2023

What To Paint In Watercolor | Things To Paint In Watercolor

What To Paint In Watercolor

Art therapy can be very calming and can help you relax during stressful times.. 

Painting can truly be a hobby or a profession depending upon your interest as well as skill levels. It needs a lot of practice, but the end results are beautiful to look at. So, today, with the help of a good quality watercolor painter set we are going to discuss watercolor painting for beginners and the basic elements that can be painted once you start your watercolor journey. 

We will guide you to a certain stage so you don’t wonder how or what to paint in watercolor. Also, you will need painting supplies, and you will have to learn the basic techniques of using water and brushes. We are going to discuss these in detail so that you are prepared to begin your painting journey. 

Keep reading to know more! 

Painting Supplies

A few materials will be needed to make watercolor paintings. These are easily available online as well as in stationery stores. The list includes: 

  • Watercolor brushes
  • Watercolor paint set
  • Thick paper
  • Two or more cups
  • Paint palette
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Paper napkins
  • Drawing reference

How To Paint In Watercolor?

What To Paint In Watercolor

1. Tape The Paper

Once you have all the items, make sure you tape the paper to a hard surface. Use masking tape for the job so that the paper does not move out of place. 

2. Setting Up The Space

Because you will be working with water, it is best to keep paper towels and newspapers handy. We recommend covering the table surface with paper so that it is easier to clean up once you are done. Moreover, take plain water into the cups and keep them on the table. 

To paint with watercolor, you will need thick paper, preferably above 300 GSM, which should give you a nice texture. Since it is a water-based medium, a thin paper might tear off easily. Also, for mixing colors, you will need a palette that can be kept beside the water cups. 

3. Making A Color Wheel

A great way to understand colors is by creating a color wheel or chart. To do this, take watercolor paper or a color palette. Then, write the names of the colors vertically, moving from left to right. 

After that, use your brush and paint to fill the grid with the respective color beside the name. You can also find color wheels online, which can be used to understand how to create one. 

4. Decide On A Project

Select a project on the basis of your interests and purpose. Once you have a picture in mind, it is best to look for a reference if you are a beginner. Then you can take out the watercolors and decide on the shades that will need to be used, after which the painting can be started. 

Watercolor Techniques

Watercolor painting is known to be versatile, and you can use other painting supplies along with it to create the desired effect. This can be used along with pastels, acrylics, and gouache to create something unique and beautiful. Also, you can use it along with paper and watercolor brushes. 

Then you can play with different layers to give the painting more depth. As you know by now, it is best to learn simple watercolor techniques before moving to complicated paintings. 

Once you are comfortable wetting the paper just right and mixing the colors properly, then you can try tackling multiple hues. Remember that watercolor painting can be imperfect in the beginning, but with practice, you will be able to paint better. 

In this section, we will be talking about the two watercolor painting techniques, which are the wet-on-wet watercolor paint technique and the wet-on-dry watercolor technique. 

Wet-On-Wet Watercolor Method

This technique works the best when you are painting water or the sky. Here, you will need to dampen the entire paper in the beginning before adding colors. But make sure the paper is not completely wet as it may then tear. It is best to use thick paper and then dampen it. 

Once that is done, take color on a brush and apply. You will be able to see the color spread beautifully by itself. Then blend the edges well to give it a complete look. 

Wet-On-Dry Watercolor Method

On the other hand, if you are making detailed paintings or portraits, then it is best to use dry paper. Use pencil marks to make the boundary and paint in detail. You can add a number of layers to bring out the painting better. However, let each layer dry well before moving forward. 

Watercolor Washes

If you wish to use faded colors over the paper, then this watercolor technique will serve you well. In this case, you can cover the entire paper with color washes, thus blending the colors. And in case you’re not sure which type of color wash to use, here’s a quick reference on the topic: 

1. Flat Wash

Here you need to use a single color to paint the entire paper. This will need a flat surface and a lot of paint. Apply paint evenly on the paper to get a flat wash. 

2. Variegated Wash

In this case, you will need to use more than one paint shade to create a gradient. The wet paper will help the colors blend well, and you can use a round brush to spread it. 

3. Gradient Wash

This is a simple process of creating a gradient with a single color. Here, you can use one shade and then increase the intensity as you go upwards. This can involve either wet-on-wet or wet-on-dry techniques to do the job. 

Things To Paint In Watercolor

Things To Paint In Watercolor

1. Serene Mountains

Watercolor paintings with mountains are an excellent way to start practicing wet-on-wet methods. Start simple with just a few shades and then use them to create different textures. Use the colors to blend and shade, allowing you to learn better. 

For example, you can take blue and yellow to create a serene landscape with a sky and mountains. Use some black to show the different shades of the sky and clouds. Also, you can work with wide and flat brushes to achieve the perfect texture. 

It goes without saying that in a mountain landscape, a lake that mirrors the snowy peaks looks marvelous and the mirror of a mountain lake is a great study for aspiring artists everywhere. We have discussed how to paint water with watercolors in a previous article that you can read here. 

2. Leaves

Leaves are of various types and can be fun to paint. This is a great idea for beginners who can create a world with different shaped leaves and branches. When you play with shades and shapes, you are also learning how to use colors. You can create orange-yellow, red, and brown leaves to add some color to the frame. 

Here, we recommend using a photograph of different shaded leaves for inspiration. Then you can try to imitate that on paper with watercolor brushes. Just remember to begin with lighter shades and then use the darker ones on top. 

Once this process is mastered, you can opt for watercolor painting project ideas where you make and sell personalized postcards. 

3. Trees

If you wish not to restrain yourself while painting, then trees can be great to start with. These can be painted on any kind of watercolor paper, and you can make all kinds of shapes. Trees do not come in a specific shape, and that gives one freedom to experiment. Also, they are a great way to learn to make different brush strokes and color blending. 

First, you can use light strokes to make the border. You can either draw it with a pencil beforehand or make a freehand outline. Then fill it in with paint and add the branches. 

Remember to start with a lighter shade and then make it darker. In case you have applied too much color, use paper towels to fade it out. Then use darker shades of yellow, green, and red to create depth. 

Once you have learned the watercolor painting techniques, you can paint complete forests with brushes, followed by a sky with clouds. Some also love adding texture by painting a foggy layer on top of the forest by using faded white color. Just remember not to paint this on wet paint. Let the previous layers dry, and then paint the top white layer. 

4. Flowers

Painting flowers can be soothing, and you can play around with a lot of colors. Now there are flowers that are easy to paint and will only require two shades. As you learn more, you can add more depth to the petals and create flowers that look much more realistic. 

Now, remember that a watercolor painting of flowers can look messy at first. But once you keep adding more details, it will look beautiful. You can use a medium or small round brush for this job, depending upon the size of the flowers you are painting. But for detailing, you will need to make brush strokes with a small brush loaded with paint. 

Further, you can paint bright sunflowers, tulips, poppies, hibiscus, dandelions, and other herbs. If you are just starting out, then it is best to draw it out with a pencil first, and then fill it in with colors as needed. A pen can be used at the end to fill in the details. 

Another idea is painting watercolor wreaths. If you plan to make greeting cards, then wreaths can look beautiful on the cover. Flowers can surround the space while you write the message in the middle. 

Also, you do not always have to use traditional shades for flowers. Let your creativity decide the kind of colors you want to use. Contemporary artists have even used rainbow shades for flowers with great effect. 

5. Geometric Patterns

If you are into abstract painting, then you can begin with painting geometrical shapes. Use a masking tape to keep the watercolor paper in place, and then use your pencil to make abstract shapes. You can use your own imagination on white paper for this. Make the shapes interact with each other and then paint them using round brushes. 

This is a great way to experiment with effects to create interesting textures. Plus, it can be used fully for painting water or the sky once you understand how to mix different colors. 

6. Smoke

If you have learned the basic watercolor tips, then you can move on to painting smoke. Here, you will have to use more than one method to paint the color gradients. Also, you can use your entire collection of watercolor brushes for this job. 

Flat brushes can be used to blend the shades near the edges, while one can use a round brush to paint the fumes. Then a small and thin brush can be used to add detailing to the picture. 

7. Animals

If your kids are just learning to use watercolor paints, beginning with animals can be a fun idea. Start by creating animal shapes and then filling them with your favorite colors. Kids can let their imagination go crazy while they paint animals with any watercolor they want. 

Moreover, you can opt for watercolor kits that are safe to be used by kids. These are going to be less messy, and you will be able to clean up better later. 

8. Color Transitions

If you want to practice wet-on-wet techniques, then color transitions can be a great way to experiment. You can create surrealist paintings with many colors, blending them properly into each other. 

To make color transitions happen, paint from the edges and slowly move towards the middle portions. First, wet the entire paper and then dissolve each color slowly; make sure to blend the edges of one color with the one next to it. 

This color technique is widely used by painters to create sceneries and landscapes, which are under heavy fog. 

9. Multicolor Patterns

Do you want to start creating artwork to sell? If you are looking at selling art-related merchandise, then practicing multicolor patterns is a good idea. You can take a completely dry paper and paint your desired patterns on it. Then use your brush and set of watercolor paints to fill the patterns, make color gradients and blend them well. 

Before beginning multicolor paintings, always make sure that you have your watercolor painting supplies in place, as a number of color shades will be needed. 

10. Abstract Colors

If you’re looking to explore how paints work in detail, then the best way will be to experiment with watercolor techniques and use all your watercolor supplies. You can use a wet surface and then add different shapes to it. 

Blend them as you wish and use a paper towel to blot if needed. You need not have fixed watercolor ideas; rather, create a place to play with all kinds of shades and learn different watercolor techniques. 

11. Water Color Candies

If the holiday season is near the corner, you can make beautiful greeting cards for your loved ones. Just get some paper and other watercolor painting supplies before beginning the project. Then draw out shapes for cookies, berries, marshmallows, cupcakes, watermelons, and doughnuts on the paper. 

Paint them in different colors to make the picture look fun and attractive. Then you can write out the message with a paintbrush too. In this case, choose a thin brush and take some wet paint. Do not dip the brush in the water again and directly write out the message. The alphabet may have a gradient that will add a special appeal to the picture. 

12. Dream Landscape

What is that one happy place you keep dreaming of? It can be the mountains or the beach where your heart wants to be. 

Painting the place on paper can be stress-relieving, and you can frame the picture and keep it in your room. If you are not confident about painting it perfectly, take a reference picture of your dream destination and then try to reproduce it on paper. 

What To Paint In Watercolor

What To Paint In Watercolor Final Words

While we have discussed some ideas here, know that there are many more things that can be painted using watercolors. Inspiration can be drawn from a butterfly that you see outside the window to the cutlery on the dining table. 

Anything around you can be taken as inspiration, and you can try painting them. Art has no boundaries, and the sky’s the limit. Just experiment and try out different forms of watercolor painting to slowly get the hang of the process. 

And till you master it, take care and enjoy the journey! 

Ann Hutchinson

Ann Hutchinson

Ann Hutchinson is the heart of the team, senior editor and our Head of Product Reviews which means she sets the testing parameters of each group review ensuring that tests resemble everyday use.

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