Watercoloring (or aquarelle as the french call it) refers to the act of mixing water and paint but also refers to the art it produces. The watercolor method has a pretty interesting history- dating all the way back to Paleolithic Europe, Ancient Egypt, and the German Dürer Renaissance.
Here in the US, watercoloring became popular in the the early 19th century by the likes of people who were greatly influenced by European Impressionism and Post-Impressionism.
Now that we have been exposed to watercoloring for centuries, we still look to nature and the watercoloring community tends to enjoy watercolor landscapes, skies, and brush lettering.
If you’re as fascinated in the history of Watercolor as we are, check out this video:
Ready to get on with your new hobby???
Items Used In This Tutorial
- 36 Watercolor Cakes and Palette
- Watercolor Brushes – Beginner Assortment
- Watercolor Brush Pens Set (Self-Watering)
- 15 Watercolor Postcards
- Canvas Square
- Apron/Watercoloring Super-hero Cape
Want to get a kit instead of individual supplies? There’s a solid watercolor paint set from Chromatek (a very well-respected art supply brand) that’s currently a great price on Amazon. This kit is great for beginners not just because it comes with a great array of paints and high quality brushes, paper, and pallette. BUT it also includes 9 detailed tutorials.
Another kit, that’s just as high of quality (if not better, is from Schpirerr Farben. This is a premium set for beginners, but if the discount on the Chromatek set above ends, this would be the better option to go with.
What we recommend grabbing before getting started:
- Cup of water!
- Scrap paper- for testing colors before adding to watercolor paper
- Salt (if you have it handy!)
- Your New Hobby Box! (unfold & use it as a placemat)
Setting Up Your Watercoloring New Hobby Box
In addition to the cup of water, scratch paper, and the items in your New Hobby Box… consider creating a space that is inspirational. You can fill it with important photos, plants or flowers, create a special soundtrack, and even make it smell perfect.
When you’re ready to start playing with your colors, use your paintbrush to add several drops of water to an individual cake you are wanting to use (no need to water them all at once). TIP: The longer water sits on a color, the more vibrant it will become.
You have ALOT of colors to play with. However, if you you wish to do some mixing, you can use the lid of your watercolor set as a mixing palette to test color recipes!
To obtain a lighter color: Add more water
To obtain a darker color: Add more paint *or* add a small drop of brown
Turquoise: Blue + Small amount of Yellow
Purple: Red + Blue
Pink: Red + White
Brown: Red + Yellow + Blue
Orange: Yellow + Red
Green: Yellow + Blue
If you create a color you LOVE, write it down! Keeping notes while watercoloring is always a great idea.
Many watercolor experts encourage beginners to stick with warm or cool colors (like fire & ice). Meaning, warm colors (FIRE) are the oranges, reds, and yellows and cool colors (ICE) are the blues, teals, and greens. Mixing fire and ice has been known to result in a ‘muddy’ art project.
When mixing colors, always remember to wash and dry your paintbrush each time you switch colors. You can “dry” your brushes with your apron, scratch paper, or an old rag.
On top of this, keep an eye on your water and change it out if it starts to get super dark.
As you may have guessed, there are MANY ways to watercolor. And for a beginner, this may feel a little overwhelming. To learn, try & master new techniques, YouTube is going to be your best friend.
For example, “wet on wet watercolor” is a very popular technique. It’s what most people imagine when they think watercolor. Hence it’s name, before applying paint to your artwork, you first apply a layer of water. (Your self-watering brush works perfect for this)
While the paper is still wet, you then apply drops of color allow them to spread naturally.
Here is an example:
Here is a great video showing how to use household items (like salt) to create different textures:
Interested in landscapes? Here is one you can start with, we recommend painting along with this video:
How about a beautiful skyscape (video 1) or sunset (video 2) ?
More videos for you to take a look at…. These three tutorials in particular start out by sketching their subjects. Remember, if you like them, paint alongside them! The best way to learn this art is to practice, practice, practice!
Looking to get a little abstract?
PRO TIP: If you are use a “splatter technique” … Be sure to have some sort of cover on your working space. Your NHB unfolded works great for this 😉
Finally, this video gives a closer look into how to control water. Very important if you are hoping to paint precise, controlled pieces.
Do you feel a new hobby developing? We sure do hope so!
What are you going to paint first? Or how did your first watercolor painting experience go??
Let us know!! We’d also love to actually see what you’re working on!
Your friends @NewHobbyBox 🙂