Easy Beginners Watercolour Techniques

Green HIlls watercolor, easy beginners landscapes, debi riley painting for watercolor beginners, debiriley.com

Easy Beginners Watercolour Techniques revolve around watercolours being fun, lively playful and forgiving!  They are so easy to correct mistakes, they really are perfect for beginners.

watercolour patio flowers debiriley.com
Watercolour Patio Flowers soft edges in background, sharp edges in front…debiriley.com

These Watercolour Beginner’s  snippets and tidbits will  help get you started and keep you moving forward in a fun and fast paced approach.


Watercolour Beginner Techniques

For the watercolour beginner looking for more techniques, have a quick look through Watercolour Tips to find everything from materials use, to colour mixing, avoiding mud, and creating depth!


With the 5 beginners’ watercolour tips and techniques, the easiest & best way to get the results you’re going to be the most happiest with is to use Arches 100% cotton paper.  That way, you can correct any mistakes you make with ease!!


Watercolour Techniques – Soft Edges

In the featured watercolour Patio Flowers, the soft blurred edges in the background and the perimeters help guide the viewers’ eyes inwards and towards the more dominant focal flowers with the harder/sharper edges.

Any time you paint on dry paper = hard edge. Any time you paint on damp = softer edge. This is key information to you for creating depth and perspective.



Watercolour Techniques – Creating great mixes without mud

In this sample watercolour mixing chart, I have used 3 tubes of Paint:  cobalt blue pb 28  permanent rose pv19 and winsor Lemon py175.   These unique 3   provide the beginner the most encouraging results!

beginners watercolour mixing chart debiriley.com
Watercolour Beginners Easy Colour Mixing: cobalt, winsor lemon, perm.rose…debiriley.com


Watercolour Techniques – Creating Texture and Depth

In this sample chart on watercolour depth and texture I adjusted the amount of details, texture in the background. Very little goes in the back, with progressively more into the middle ground area, and the foreground area has a lot more!

This,  will ensure that the painting ‘magically’  creates depth and perspective in a simple way.

watercolour textures chart debiriley.com
Watercolour Texture: Foreground – Most! Background – Least …debiriley.com

Watercolour Techniques – Allowing your brush to Dance!

This chart illustrates the importance of allowing “permitting”  your hand and Brush to be free, to dance along the paper!  When your hand is stiff, nervous and rigid – the resulting painting is also very rigid, mechanical and too tight.     Be loose, be free, play!

cobalt watercolour flowers debiriley.com
Cobalt Watercolour Flowers debiriley.com


Watercolour Techniques – Creating Light Filled Washes of Translucency

Glazes are when you place a thin sheer veil of light colour over top another colour, (that is now absolutely Bone DRY.)  The result is a painting filled with light and radiance that is free of mud!

And if,  perhaps, you have a slight leaning…. towards Impatience?  Well, then just get the hair dryer out and blow dry the watercolour paint.

Takes 60 Seconds!!

watercolour glazes, sheer veils of colour debiriley.com
Watercolour Glazes Create Luminosity- sheer veils of see through colour…debiriley.com


Correction Methods

Correction Methods:   gently rinse the paper under the tap til the paint is gone;  apply brushload of clean water over the ‘naughty’ area, wait 2 minutes, gently lift up the colour now with a tissue; for a vigorous approach,   apply water over the area and use a soft toothbrush to ever so lightly, delicately scrub off the offending paint.

In all cases, it is critical, imperative… that you then let it totally dry before doing anything else to it.  Or the consequences will be – ‘mud’,  peeling paint/paper.  Not nice!

Watercolour paints that I use a lot:  Daniel Smith watercolours, Art Spectrum, Maimeri,  Winsor and Newton.  These paints are beneficial in creating clean mixes, with less mud.


The watercolour paper that  never lets anyone down.…… Arches 100% cotton watercolour paper, either rough or cold press.

This paper is Extremely  good value for money.

Used front side, back side, rinse and repeat.  Gesso and use for acrylics. Tear and use for collage.  Gesso again and use for oils. Apply molding paste with a palette knife, dry, and apply watercolours.    You’re getting a lot of use out of this  $10   22×30 paper!



Reference Sources

reference sources  I’ve referred to in the process of developing this post and the watercolour images are:

  1. Solving The Mystery of Watercolours David Taylor  International Artist Publishers ISBN 1929834209
  2. Atmospheric Watercolours, Painting with Freedom, Expression and Style  Jean Haines  Search Press ISBN 1844486745
  3. The Painter’s Handbook  a Complete Reference to…  Mark David Gottsegen    Watson Guptil Publications ISBN 0823030032

Published by debiriley

The act of creation, in any media is a fascinating and magical process. I simply love to create. Expressing in color, line, tone, texture - as if, they were words upon a page. Creating a uniquely me, interpretation. Enjoy More of my "one-of-a-kind" expressive art at society6.com/debiriley and, redbubble.com/people/debijriley/shop

12 thoughts on “Easy Beginners Watercolour Techniques

    1. Mitza thank you, I appreciate that you stop in and take the time to comment! 🙂 The top painting is a nice bright colourful one, just whats needed for a rainy day here. Hey, do like the changed site layout any better/easier to navigate?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry, I just saw it right now and must admit that it is really beautiful, well designed and easier to navigate. I’m right now a bit “blind” due to a lot of thoughts I have in my head about a sad thing. But it is always a pleasure to stop at your blog. I wish I had more time, but 1300 followers need a lot of time. Regards from the very cold and rainy Northern Germany, Mitza

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!!! that is very generous of you 🙂 as you know, getting started & getting the word out – is huge! so I Thank You very much, really 🙂 ….sending good vibes Your Way!

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    1. you’re welcome, and thank you for your time and kind comments 🙂 … i’ve spent 30yrs & way tooooo much $$$, sad to confess, on lots of paints/papers that were horrible. and left me thinking …. “so, WHY do I think I CAN actually Paint!?” lol Hope you can glean information that will help you. and, if you have any watercolour questions, you can always ask me! Debi

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great post Debi. I should have taken classes with you years ago 🙂 Love the new look to the blog. You’ve done a great job. Makes me think I should be spring cleaning mine. Best wishes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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