Watercolour Painting Tips for Beginners

Shaurya Sharma
2 min readAug 6, 2021


I’ve been fascinated with water colour painting ever since I was a kid because it’s so easy and free flowing plus you can have fun with it. I try to paint when I can and the tips below helped me a lot so that I didn’t have to start with a blank canvas except on my actual canvas haha.

Work from light to dark

With watercolor it’s important to lay down your light colors first and work towards the darker colors. I start with the light colors first because once you lay down the dark colors, it’s hard to undo. Due to the transparency of watercolor, your light colors won’t show if they’re covered up by dark colors.

Also, the white and light areas of your painting are coming from the paper, so plan ahead and keep in mind which areas you want to keep white. Masking fluid is a great way to reserve areas of white on your painting.

Be careful about the water to paint ratio

The water to paint ratio will change depending on what you’re trying to achieve.

  • Too much water can result in colors that are too light. It can also make paint spread more than you’d like and cause colors to mix and become muddy.
  • Too little water can result in thick colors that don’t flow or lay down properly, or cause visibly streaky brush strokes.

Take note of what you’re trying to achieve. Large washes require more water, and detail spots require less water.

Wet on Dry v/s Wet on Wet

There are many techniques you can use while watercolor painting, but here are two basic techniques that will give you different result depending on what you’re going for:

Wet on dry: applying wet paint onto dry paper, or wet paint onto an area of dry paint. This technique allows for more control and crisp, defined edges. The paint will only go where your brush takes it.

Wet on wet: wet paint is applied to wet paper, or added to a wash of fresh paint. This creates a fluid, fun and unpredictable effect. There is less control with a wet on wet technique. To try it, lay down clean water on the paper, then add watercolor paint to the wet areas. You’ll see the paint flowing to the wet areas.

Mixing paints

There is a lot of planning and preparing in watercolor painting. A good rule of thumb is to always mix more paint than you think you’ll need on your palette. If you run out of a color, it can be really difficult to mix the exact same shade again, so you want to be prepared.



Shaurya Sharma

Pop culture whiz. Social Media junkie. Web guru. Unapologetic Trash TV connoisseur. I write more than I read. Talk to me about all things Tech.