Summmmmmmmmmer time and the living’s easy!
The summer of 2020 is the perfect time to engage your brain in something other than scrolling social media in a paralyzed panic. Being a teacher in 2020 has stretched my limits of anxiety and I vowed this summer to let go, relax and paint fun things for myself.
This post has four of my favorite watercolor tutorials that are beginner friendly with full step by step verbal directions. These are adaptable for kids, true beginners, or more experienced artists looking for inspiration.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn commission if you click through and make a purchase. I only recommend art supplies I personally love and use myself on in the classroom.
Let’s start painting!
Let’s start with the EASIEST of all easy watercolor tutorials.
This wet-on-wet technique is really quick and provides that popular watery color blend that everybody knows and loves.
This one is a blast and is very beginner friendly. This would be great for kids or a painter with little experience. That being said, I could do this all day long and I’ve been painting for years. I love this subject matter because of the vibrant colors and simple shapes. You can keep things really simple and stick to one color, or try blending several colors in each Popsicle. If your paint gets a little messy or drips- that’s perfectly okay! It only makes your painting look more realistic and expressive.
If you are in the market for a travel watercolor set, I LOVE the Winsor & Newton Cotman compact set. It is a great mid-level set for artists who want to invest in nicer watercolors without breaking the bank. I’ve been using this set for cards and illustrations for years and I am always happy with the results.
I love painting flowers. There are so many variations to choose from and each season brings it’s own inspiration. I love the simplicity of wet on wet watercolor blending and it helps me not overwork my painting. This video will show you two simple flower shapes with the same leaf pattern. I will also show you how to blend colors before your paint even dries.
You only need one paint brush and even inexpensive paint looks great. I love to make a whole page of floral patterns and I’ve used these flowers for cards and wedding decorations. This tutorial is step by step and approachable for beginners as well as satisfying for the more experienced painter.
I’ve added my Amazon affiliate links below if you are interested in the inexpensive Prang watercolor set I used for this tutorial and also use in my art classroom.
I am very fond of seascapes thanks to my dad. He always brought his watercolors and painted on the beach during our childhood vacations. I never realized how lucky I was growing up in South Carolina until I moved to the land locked state of Oklahoma. Oklahoma may have gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, but nothing is better than the beach!
This tutorial is a great jumping off point if you have limited landscape experience. I start painting wet on wet and then let it dry so I can go back and add a few sharper details with a smaller brush. You can change your color scheme to a sunset or you can use blues like me.
My goal with this seascape was to KEEP IT SIMPLE. I am a plein air oil painter in my other life, when I’m not in full public school teacher mode, and I am always working, reworking and changing my landscape paintings. It was so satisfying to finish a painting in thirty minutes and call it done. I feel like once I got warmed up I could paint dozens of these in a row. My dad still paints a little landscape or seascape on all of his trips and mails them to me.
Painting watercolor galaxies is my new therapy. It is so stinking easy and you get a different sky every time! My husband and I dreamed of getting an RV this summer and this sky is exactly the vision I have for this imaginary experience. Maybe one day.
I saved this one for last because it has a few more steps than the first three tutorials. The sky itself is actually the easiest technique on this post. You don’t have to worry about painting something that represents an object. It is simply swirls of whatever colors you are drawn to. Add too much water? No problem, just use a paper towel or let it dry!
Once the sky dried I use liquid acrylic to splatter stars in the sky and add a moon. You can use white watercolor if you have it, but I have found that tempera or acrylic work way better.
No acrylic paint? Try white out! A student showed me this a couple years ago and my mind was blown.
The tree silhouettes are really easy to paint with black acrylic and give such a magical finishing touch.
I taped my paper off with artists tape to create my :::imperfect::: diamond composition. Masking tape did NOT work for this. It works well with acrylic because you are not using so much water. I painted this twice before I finally got it right for this step by step tutorial.
I used my inexpensive set of Prang watercolors for this tutorial, but I recommend not skimping on paper when using such a water wash heavy technique. I added my two favorite splurge watercolor paper pads, Fabriano and Arches, below! You can use the link to purchase them from Amazon or you can find them in any art supply store.
I so miss the days of walking to City Art in Columbia SC to pick out art supplies in person and locally.
If you are looking ahead to Christmas, this Christmas lights painting is SO easy and fun!
I’d love to hear from you! Let me know what worked for you and any questions you have.
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