This is a reference list to the sources of information that I had used when I was working in my first sketchbook. It chronicles the series of lessons I took to upgrade my skills in watercolour. My journey is not the only way to learn watercolour. But I hope you had seen something you like from my sketchbook and will pick up a thing or two from this lesson plan that I had designed for myself.
Take a tour of my first complete sketchbook here: https://cracktheclaypot.com/2016/12/08/blog-post-title-5/
I had spent a lot of time searching for these tutorials and putting them in logical order for learning. Please enjoy.
General advice that you will see in any watercolor tutorial for beginners:
- Buy professional, artist grade watercolour
- Buy watercolour paper
- Use natural hair brushes as much as possible; beware of acrylic paint brushes if you are buying synthetic hair brushes for watercolour
- Learn colour theory, the colour wheel, and how to mix your own colours FAST
- Start with smaller brushes – size 8 and under
In my sketchbook:
- Basic watercolour wash techniques for backgrounds with Kelly Eddington (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8TdJA1P-nY) – (a) wet-on-wet, (b) wet-on-dry, (c) dry-on-dry, (d) dry-on-wet, (e) flat wash, (f) gradient/ fade, and (g) variegated.
- Exercise for understanding the transparency of watercolour; how to vary tone; how to lighten the colour e.g. from red to pink with TheWittyGrittyPaperCo. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJPQLd6UYz8) – I have found this to be easily the most valuable practice to do. You can do this practice over and over no matter your level of expertise.
- Watercolour-glazes is the deeper understanding of the transparency of watercolour. Take another lesson with Kelly Eddington. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8_yRnL4YUY) I find glazes to be my first real experience of layering in watercolour. The transparency of watercolours is by the far the most distinct characteristic and arguable the one characteristic that sets watercolour apart from other media. Many watercolourist are attracted to the unique transparency of watercolour and its ability to be layered.
- Colour-theory and mixing colours with Don Andrews at Cheap Joe’s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYFbmooRa7Q) and (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9BWZZIqzJE) I felt most inspired by Don Andrews because of his craft and his lifetime spent on watercolour. I truly wanted to learn more because of him. These two videos introduce a beginner to the staples in watercolours very efficiently. Check out how to mix violets as well (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTvI1rO_0ss).
- Systematic way of learning what colours you could mix from the watercolours that you own with Alek Krylow (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=py1cjGcroyE) I started making pages and pages of watercolour charts after learning his system to do so. I had learn so much through mixing only cyan, magenta, and yellow. Most notably, I know how to obtain autumn gold, all sorts of skin colours, tiffany blue, and all sorts of lipstick colours through this experience. This video is a MUST WATCH! He also offers a sensible first nine colours to buy – prussian blue, ultramarine blue, payne’s gray, burnt sienna, alizarin crimson, cadmium red, cadmium yellow, yellow ochre, and lemon yellow.
- Discover what your brushes can do with Kelly Eddington (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-KQBZHrIx8) I have found this exercise incredibly useful whenever I get a new brush.
- Up your game by creating backgrounds without a brush with Soon Y. Warren on ArtistsNetwork (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfsOo-5gGxI) I definitely got into spraying my watercolours because of her.
- Time to mix it up – learn to use two colours on one brush, to paint flowers with April Numamoto (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfsOo-5gGxI). All her videos are worth watching.
- More on painting flowers and the strokes involved with One Stroke Decorative Art (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oy0LZ9Cla70)
- Try different effects for card-making with Scraps and Stamps (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3u7ULk-jQk)
- Good to learn that you can drip watercolour to achieve effects like painting a feather with ART TV by Fantasvale (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxPXPeGcaaY) I never quite achieved this. I will have to get back to this some day.
- Definitely try watercolour galaxy with Studio of M.M (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFVLLjS912E) Go darker. Watercolour will always dry lighter. Layer. Wait for layers to dry.
- Go to Instagram for some inspiration. I started imitating some works that inspired me. Save the works so that you have a neverending stream of inspiration when you find time to work your watercolours.
- Try stenciling. Dab a dry sponge on nearly-dry pan watercolours. Dab the colours through a stencil and check out what you could achieve! I did this using inexpensive ready-made palette instead of artist watercolour because the ready-made pans are so easy for me to push in the makeup sponge. I used inexpensive simple shape stencils too – squares, circles, ovals, that you could get at the stationery shop.
- Take note of cool and warm colours. Stick to three colours in the same cool or warm family if you want your designs to have harmony.
- Take your watercolour up a big notch by painting a full scenery through step-by-step tutorials with Jason Skill on Painting With Skill (https://www.youtube.com/user/paintingwithskill/videos). This guy is a phenomenal teacher. He has covered your back from choosing a paint bucket to producing a full nature scene.
- Get on the card-making wagon with K Werner Design. I started with a simple Valentine’s Day hearts cover (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_kIA9Xz5aw). You have to discern with her videos because many of them use a lot of items that are too expensive for beginners. I skip all those that use die-cuts. I stick to those that use only watercolours and remain flat.
- Learn how to make your subjects come alive with shadows and perspectives with Alphonso Dunn, a published author (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9j6qH7qj5kE). I feel like he scolds me all the time but for my own improvement. His video on colour theory is worth watching as well (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdWOcdg-pls).
- I went on to try other brands of watercolour. And I am sticking with artists’ grades watercolour.
- I started to admire people who dare to paint outdoors and got some inspiration from Teoh Yi Chie on Parkablogs. I love his genuine disposition and conscientious attitude towards updating his channel. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZ_XW2S23yk) He has a great archive of videos that will likely answer many questions. Otherwise, he is responsive, so you could feel free to ask in the comments.
- I also found another down-to-earth watercolourist to learn landscape painting from – Patrick Ley-Greaves on purewatercolour.com (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvQcAuFj0dc) I had watched almost all of his videos. I found his studio setup very useful as well (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8jXUdAZQ_8).
- The community in purewatercolour.com is very supportive, so I started doing more imitations of pretty pictures I had found on Instagram and posting them on Patrick’s website. I am truly thankful for the community.
- Finally, I did an Alvaro Castagnet on the last page of my sketchbook! Alvaro Castagnet is arguably the king of watercolour today. Catch him giving fine art tips using a watercolour demonstration with Graeme Stevenson on Colour in Your Life (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCMj9SEz5Fs).
- Last but not least, explore more watercolour brushes with faith6651 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi3Nc1tTUKM).
I hope you have enjoyed the two dozens of lessons in this package. Feel free to give me feedback on the curation of lessons.
To what extent have you found this list useful?