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Learn Watercolor Basics for Beginners

By: Aiden Wangsa

To become a watercolor painter you first need to master a number of basic skills. In this article you will learn a few watercolor techniques that will get you started on your way to creating your first work of art.

If you're a beginner looking to be a watercolor painter you need to learn a number of basic skills. We will briefly go over a few techniques in this article to get you started.

Drawing a "flat wash" is the very first thing you should learn to do. Let's begin by mixing a good amount of medium intensity paint on your palette using a flat brush. Something like Winsor and Newton 965 would be a good choice. After mixing the paint the next step is to saturate the brush and paint a thick straight line from left to right on your canvas. Make it about four to six inches long. 

Now repeat what you just performed, making sure that you start at the bottom of the first stroke. The flood of the first stroke should evenly flow into the second one. Keep repeating this for a third, fourth and fifth stroke, and so on. Now let the canvas dry and what you should see is an even toned square of color as if you painted the whole thing with one stroke. This is a very important skill to master and you will need to practice it a few times.

The next thing we're going to cover is called the "graded wash." This is actually quite similar to the flat wash except that you will use a slightly lighter mixture of paint for every line you draw. So you need to include several mixtures on your palette in order to get the desired effect. Once everything is dry you should notice that the color gets lighter and lighter as you go from top to bottom, with the top of the square being the darkest. This skill is also very important to master and will take some practice.

Now let's briefly talk about the "glazed wash." Here you will learn to overlap colors to make interesting designs. For this you need a palette with different shades of yellow, redFree Web Content, green and blue. Choose one of the colors and paint (using a 1 inch flat sable brush) a straight line about six to eight inches wide. 

Now rinse off the brush and pick another color. It doesn't really matter which one. What you need to do is paint another design slightly overlapping the previous one. You should see how the second color slightly alters the first one. Keep repeating this several times using different designs and overlaps.

The basic techniques we just covered only scratch the surface but should get you started on your way to creating some nice designs. 

There is a great resource in watercolor lessons that will teach you many more techniques from basic to advanced.

Courtesy: Articles Factory

About the Author:

Aiden Wangsa is the editor and webmaster of, where you can find great resources in a variety of topics that will enrich your life.