FAQ: Getting Started With Watercolor Painting

I’m no expert on the subject by any means, but of the questions I get asked the majority of them have been about getting started with watercolor paintings. I’m posting a couple Qs and a couple As in hopes that this might shed some light on the subject.



fnjoy asked: yo i have a watercolor set and I don’t know how to paint. My first work is decent for someone who never did water painting and drew from memory, but what’s you advice or guides you personally approve?

Hey fnjoy! Thanks for writing.

For me color choice, water volume, and space are the things I think most about when I’m watercoloring.

Regardless of what your subject is and what type of style you’re going for, you’re probably going to have your colors bleed and blend together (which is what I and most watercolor artists do and for me is my favorite part of the medium).  So, keeping that in mind, I always try to think not only how the colors look next to each other, but also mixed. I’ve ruined many paintings because I wasn’t thinking ahead and ended up with a brown, muddy mess.

tumblr_ngfoj3WFUc1rcuwpbo1_1280Water volume is basically just being aware of how much water is on any given part of the piece. The more water = more flowy and diluted colors while less water = stronger colors and sharper edges.

 Lastly, and which I feel is probably most important when it comes to watercoloring, is space. With watercolors LESS IS MORE and always paint LIGHT TO DARK. Unless I’m planning on doing highlights with acrylics or something afterwards, I block out my highlights and work around those using a lighter color around those blocks and then a darker color on top of that.

My suggestion to you and to anyone first getting into watercolor painting is to draw something and try to paint only the shadows and only in one color. Start with something simple and move on from there.

I unfortunately can’t recommend any guides since I haven’t read any and the majority of my technique is built upon trial and error. That being said, watercolors are great since they’re such a cheap medium and perfect for goofing around and experimenting with.

I hope I didn’t ramble too much and I hope I helped you out a little. If you have any more questions or want me to clarify something please let me know.

Take care,



Anonymous asked: i love your watercolors! i’m interested in getting into them. any advice for a total beginner?

Thank you so much 🙂

It’s great that you want to get into watercolors! They’re probably my favorite medium – cheap, little clean up, and you can make some really cool psychedelic stuff with them.

As far as getting started, here’s a few things:

1. Buy paper that is thick enough to take washes. I use a watercolor pad for stuff that I know I’m going to scan and a sketchbook with a thick stock for everything else. I prefer the sketchbook.

2. If you’re first starting and not sure about whether or not you’re going to pursue painting with watercolors I would suggest buying a cheap set of multi use brushes and a cheap plastic palette of watercolor cake. Many people suggest that you don’t skimp out on supplies when you’re first starting a new medium, but I tend to generally disagree, especially with watercolors. Make sure you like something first before you spend a lot of money on it.

3. Dedicate the new brushes to watercoloring only.

4. Always use clean water and clean your brushes often (duuuh blah blah blah. That one is pretty self explanatory).

5. Always paint light to dark as opposed to acrylics, where you paint dark to light.

Have fun. Watercolors are great.


If you have any questions about watercolors or anything else, please feel free to ask @ datbumo.tumblr.com/ask (you can remain anonymous if you’d like :D)