8 Free Tutorials to Get Started in Watercolor

Learn the basics of this technique and digitize your creations with watercolor with these tutorials

It doesn’t matter if you are starting or are already charting your path in watercolor painting, it is always good to receive advice and learn new tricks from the professionals who work it every day. These 5 tutorials to start, develop and improve your talent in watercolor are essential for you if you are one of those who enjoy the chance and unpredictability of watercolor:

Tutorial: Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Water and Get Started

According to Paulina Maciel (@pau_maciel) designer and illustrator, founder of Canela Estudio, watercolor is more than a technique: it’s an attitude. Learning watercolor is not always easy: the balance of water and pigment will always determine the outcome and only with practice, will you be able to master it.

To help you overcome your fear of water and enjoy this painting technique, Paulina will show you her basic wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry watercolor techniques. You will put different methods into practice, armed with water, colors, and brushes.

Tutorial: Coloring With Watercolors

A good way to bring your illustrations to life is by coloring with watercolor. It is a very flexible technique that allows you to give your illustrations a unique style. If it fits your aesthetic, it is worth taking the leap and experimenting with it.

If you are ready to try it, the graphic designer, illustrator, and author Paula Bossio (@paulabossio) will explain in this tutorial how to quickly and easily apply it to your drawings. Get your sketches ready, and let’s go!

Tutorial: Wet-on-Wet Technique

Watercolor is a much more complex medium than one might suppose: one has to understand the drying times, when to use more opaque or watery colours, and how to mix the different shades well, avoiding undesired results–or taking advantage of them.

Artist and illustrator Ana Santos (@anasantos) teaches us in this tutorial how to use the wet-on-wet technique, in which the same layer of paint is used, before drying, to perfectly blend the colors.

Tutorial: How to Paint with Watercolor Brushes and Pencils

Watercolor offers a wide array of creative possibilities. You only need a brush and a few pigments to get going. Choosing the right colors, brushes and techniques is crucial for bringing the final work to life.

Naranjalidad (@naranjalidad) is the artist name of Spanish illustrator and architect Beatriz Ramo. In this article, she tells us concisely how to use two different tools to apply watercolor–pencils and brushes–and how to mix them to create a universe as colorful as hers.

Tutorial: Basic Exercises to Inspire Your Painting

Despite being one of the most popular visual arts, getting the most out of watercolor requires a lot of technical skill. As we can’t use the colour white to create light, we must introduce the colors gently and work with transparency, or we will never achieve the effects we’re looking for in our illustrations.

In this tutorial, botanical illustrator and artist Cristina Cilloniz (@cristina_cilloniz) shares her different techniques for letting go and taking advantage of watercolor’s gentle layers. Get your materials ready and let’s go.

Watercolor Tutorial: How to Create Shadow Using Color Theory

Sarah Stokes teaches the use of complementary colors in watercolor to create realistic shadows. Students learn to mix primary colors with their complements (like red with green or purple with yellow) to produce muted, natural tones. These techniques are key for adding depth and making brighter colors pop in watercolor paintings.

Painting Tutorial: How to Paint Skin Tones in Watercolor

In this tutorial, illustrator Emma Thrussell demonstrates how to paint various skin tones in watercolor. Using pre-painted witch characters as examples, she teaches the process of mixing and applying different shades of skin colors, ranging from light to dark. The tutorial covers creating light washes for base layers, adding gradients for realistic effects, and incorporating warmer and cooler tones for depth and shadow. This lesson is designed to help artists achieve natural-looking skin tones in their watercolor artwork.

Watercolor Tutorial: How to Fix and Avoid Mistakes on Wet Paper

In this tutorial, students learn to manage watercolor's unpredictable nature, focusing on techniques for applying paint on variously wet papers and correcting common issues like blooms and hard edges. Sarah Stokes demonstrates effective layering, softening, and paint removal methods, essential for watercolor control.

Recommended courses

Portrait Sketchbooking: Explore the Human Face. Illustration course by Gabriela Niko

Portrait Sketchbooking: Explore the Human Face

A course by Gabriela Niko

Discover the fundamentals of portraiture by learning to draw facial features and tracking your progress in a sketchbook

  • 126858
  • 95% (2.6K)
85% Disc.
Original price $39.99USD
Daily Sketching for Creative Inspiration. Illustration course by Sorie Kim

Daily Sketching for Creative Inspiration

A course by Sorie Kim

Improve your drawing process as you explore, imagine, and experiment in your sketchbook on a daily basis

  • 145501
  • 98% (3.7K)
85% Disc.
Original price $39.99USD
Expressive Architectural Sketching with Colored Markers. Illustration course by Albert Kiefer

Expressive Architectural Sketching with Colored Markers

A course by Albert Kiefer

Learn to create expressive sketches of buildings and landscapes filled with color and practice drawing by hand

  • 73807
  • 99% (2.2K)
85% Disc.
Original price $39.99USD