Let's Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!!!
If you're a watercolor beginner or new mixed media, watercolors and water-soluble art supplies can feel a little intimidating and unpredictable.
In today's YouTube video, I'd LOVE to blow those feelings away for you by demo-ing 3 BASIC watercolor techniques to give you a dose of confidence:
✨Wet-on-Wet (creates beautiful blooms)
✨Wet-on-Dry (offers more control)
✨Dry-on-Dry (adds texture)
Let's get comfy with watercolors!!
All links are affiliate and are for U.S. residents - always use what you have on hand!
I've REALLY been enjoying working with a variety of my watercolor sets by Prima lately. If you've been hanging out with me on YouTube, you may have seen my videos reviewing both the Terrain watercolor set, and the Currents watercolor set. Missed those?Watch this playlist!
I first got into Prima watercolor sets with the Complexions set because I absolutely LOVED having a little palette of skin tone watercolors all in one place that I could dip right into, without mixing!!
If you're new to me, I'm OBSESSED with Daniel Smith watercolors, and have done LOTS of videos from How to Start Your first Daniel Smith Watercolor Collection, to How to use the Daniel Smith Dot Cards, and How to Build Your Own Custom TRAVEL Daniel Smith Watercolor Palette.
Daniel Smith makes GORGEOUS, fine art watercolors. BUT... I know they're SO expensive!! Because of that, I'm always on the lookout for Daniel Smith alternatives for my students.
Prima palettes, while not a fine art product, are affordable, and offer great quality and value for their price point of $25 or less, if all ya wanna do is have a little FUN!!
I love how the colors in each Prima palette already all go together (making them perfect for projects!), plus they have cute, inspirational names for the sets and individual colors.
WHY Watercolor Paper is So Important
Before we get into today's project, I can't emphasize enough how IMPORTANT paper is when it comes to watercolor (or using water soluble mixed media art supplies).
You always need to be working on paper that's been created exactly for watercolor. If you don't, your paper will tear because it can't handle all the water.
There are two main types of watercolor paper I use: cold press watercolor paper (which is bumpy and textured, I love this one), and hot press watercolor paper (which is smooth, I love this one).
Typically I reach for cold press paper (shown above), because it's a little more like a sponge than hot press, and I love the texture.
If you'd like to learn more about watercolor paper - this vid's for you and will give ya all the deets!!
Wet-on-Wet Watercolor for Beginners
Let's dig into technique #1 for today. Wet-on-wet watercolor is exactly like it sounds. All you need to do to play with this technique is to first, wet your watercolor brush and drag it all over your watercolor paper (or on the parts where you intend to use the wet-on-wet technique). Then, wet your brush again, dip it into the watercolor, and place that directly onto your already wet paper. EASY, right?!
This super simple watercolor technique will make your paint spread or bloom quickly into all the areas where your paper is wet! It's soooo fun!!
Love that shade of turquoise? Me too!! It's from the Woodland Watercolor Set by Prima :)
Wet-on-Dry Watercolor Technique for Beginners
Wet-on-Dry watercolor technique is basically the opposite. It's simply dipping your watercolor brush into water, wetting your paint, and putting it on dry watercolor paper.
As you can see below, the second line of color demos the wet-on-dry watercolor technique, and looks much different from the wet-on-wet section above it. Wet-on-dry will give you a much harder line, and more control than wet-on-wet.
Dry Brushing Watercolor Technique for Beginners
To achieve a dry-on-dry look in watercolor, dip your dry brush (or whatever applicator YOU want - I'm using a sponge in today's video), into damp watercolor. The watercolor can't be too wet, you want it to kinda feel "tacky."
Then, tap or drag your brush or applicator around on your paper wherever you'd like this effect. This will create vibrant and VERY different marks on your paper compared to wet-on-wet or wet-on-dry watercoloring techniques.
Dry-brushing can really give you some awesome textures to create depth, and can kinda have the look of acrylics.
Ready for a little timelapse? Kick back and relax as I watercolor this adorable fairy in a jar project using all three of the techniques demo-ed today, for one of my online art clubs at Awesome Art School, the Celtic Collective!
Wanna Learn MORE About the Celtic Collective?
Or do the project featured in today's video step-by-step with me? Awesome!! I run the Celtic Collective art club with my Scottish bestie, Lucy Brydon. This online art club is all about fantasy art and features drawing, watercolor, and mixed media art lessons on fairies, unicorns, mermaids, mythical creatures, castles and so much more!! We'd love to have you join us! Learn more here.
What to Watch Next
Check out this FREE watercolor tutorial for beginners, as I teach you step-by-step how to paint watercolor poppies! Can you tell which watercolor technique I'm using from the image below??
Need More Resources?
"Karen is flipping hilarious and she's very real...I like the way she teaches in a way that really gives you confidence, whether you're a beginner or advanced there's always something new to learn!"
- Elizabeth W.
What Fans Are Saying
Karen, you are absolutely fabulous! You make me feel like I can draw anything. I have recently retired and finally have the time to do some of the art that I have loved since I was in school. I am really at the beginning of my art journey and I hope to learn as much as I can. Thank you for all you do.