5 Tips & Tricks for painting with Watercolor

5 Tips & Tricks for painting with Watercolor

Want to immerse yourself in watercolor? Take a look at our list of 5 Tips & Tricks to apply to your paintings and start creating pieces of artwork in less time than you think!


Watercolor painting is a fun and relaxing activity that everybody can do. Unfortunately, it carries within a reputation of being quite an unpredictable medium.

Being hard to control and unforgivable to mistakes are some reasons why people run away from it, but I am confident that you, my reader, are fearless!

All in all, watercolor is an easily accessible activity that lets oneself lose in the moment while providing a moment of relaxation in one’s busy life.

Because there are many ways to apply it, at first, the activity may feel overwhelming. But with our Tips & Tricks, we are sure that you will get confident and ready to paint in no time:

Watercolor Tips & Tricks #1: Don’t go crazy when shopping for materials but be mindful of quality!


Buying the right art supplies when you’re starting with watercolor can feel like too much, as there is an endless amount of materials an art supply store has to offer.

Before anything else, it’s good to be warned that going for the cheap materials isn’t the best decision because they won’t give you the results you are going for.

So, to prevent wasting time and money, abstain yourself from buying every single color and brush you see, and lean into stocking your collection with a few high-quality basics:

        • Watercolor paper
        • A brush
        • Watercolor paint
        • Palette for your paint

You will also make use of paper towels (be sure to stock up on them!) and a cup of water, but those you can just pick up from your kitchen.

If you live in the Netherlands or other parts of Europe, you can take a look at this overview of qualitative art supplies that are quite easy to buy and start your watercolor journey with.

Watercolor Tips & Tricks #2: Plan, prepare and mix your paints beforehand

What do you need - Billy Buttons

An important part of watercolor painting is the planning that must be done before getting that paint in the paper.

Preparing your colors comes step number one, and the rule of thumb here is to always mix more paint on your palette than you think you will need.

You don’t want to run out of a mix in the middle of your painting as it might affect your next steps, i.e. paint drying and so having to start over; or having a difficult time trying to mix the exact same shade again.

Also, don’t be scared of wasting paint. As watercolors dry easily, you can store the leftovers and reactivate them whenever you need them by just adding… you guessed it: water.

Watercolor Tips & Tricks #3: Work from light to dark


Due to the transparency of watercolor paints, light colors won’t show when painted over darker ones. Because of this, once you lay down the dark colors, it’s hard to undo.

The tip here is to “paint backward”, meaning you lay down the lighter shades first and work towards the darker colors.

You can imagine the planning and waiting between layers that have to go into the painting to be able to get the result you want. Just have patience, it sure will be worth it.

Watercolor Tips & Tricks #4: Know your water to paint ratio

Watercolor workshop Rotterdam

Don’t be afraid as there’s not a wrong way to go. Water to paint ratio is just based on what exactly you want to achieve with your painting:

    • Water in abundance will give you very light colors. Also, this method makes paint spread more, causing the colors to blend. It is the way to go if you need to carry out a large wash.

    • On the other hand, a short amount of water will result in muddy colors that don’t flow. You may also end up with visible brush strokes. This approach will do if you need to add detailed bits.

The decision depends on what you’re looking to accomplish. But it’s helpful to remember that no matter the style that you go for, you can complete a solid watercolor.

Watercolor Tips & Tricks #5: Embrace your mistakes


Watercolor should be a liberating and relaxing activity. However, the nature of the paint is to bleed if applied close to other wet colors. This gives the activity the quality of being prone to mistakes.

So, a good thing to remember when painting is to be open to mistakes and don’t let them get to you; embrace them, if you will.

Maybe you picked the wrong color with your brush or the paint bled in a different direction than you planned on. Don’t panic! These mistakes can be either fixed or incorporated into your painting. See every slip as an opportunity to release your creativity.

Watercolor Tips & Tricks Golden Rule: Have fun!


These tips and tricks are simply a fast lead for you to create your watercolor experience. But none of them will work unless you follow the Golden Rule, not just for watercolor but for any creative activity: have fun!

When you see and get into watercolor with a sense of fun, you will get rid of strict rules and start a joyous journey instead. The only way to get good at any activity is by repeating and experimenting with it countless times, so be sure to enjoy your learning process and learn from errors.

All set? Start preparing your workspace, gather all your supplies, and enjoy the ride!

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