The best way to start painting with watercolors

… is using pen and watercolor wash.

We all want our art to be great and impressive. However, if you are new to some medium or absolutely new to drawing and painting, you have to bear in mind: nothing happens right away and with the first brush stroke. I have had absolute beginners who were somewhat disappointed that their first piece of art wasn’t exhibition quality. Well, that is normal.

Every skill takes time, efforts and work.

Creation of drawing or painting involves lots and lots of information. Some people are courageous by nature and love to experiment, and that is a very good start. Some people are perfectionists and they believe everything they do must be either perfect or they are ready to give it up; and that is a completely wrong approach.

My personal attitude towards something new in painting: different subject, medium, tools or technique never focuses on perfection. I focus on potential. Something might work out and something might not. There will be easy parts and probably difficult parts. That way. I call this attitude: let us see what happens.

Progress is usually gradual. That is why we start with simple things and move to more complicated things.

Pen and watercolor wash is a great technique for beginning watercolorists. Some like it so much that they stick to this technique and turn it into their personal style.

If you are insecure about drawing lines with pen, sketch them in using pencil. You can draw over with pen and delete everything else. We have now clean drawing in black ink, and the white paper is not damaged.

Anything can serve as a subject: from your morning coffee cup to flowers in a vase or at the fence, from a bird at your window to sprouting vegetables in a garden. Any scene with some object is good, but flowers look extremely nice when done in pen and watercolor.

When somebody says they cannot draw, I don’t believe that. Most often that means they tried 1 or 2 drawings and these drawings were not splendid. So, they make a conclusion that they cannot draw. Talk to me after 200-300 drawings. That is a decent start. It is also much easier to point out what else one should do in order to create better art when they have done some attempts.

Pen and watercolor flowers and spring scenes

Flowers are extremely suitable subject for this type of watercolor application

Apple blooms in pen and watercolor: great starting subject

Birds fit in this category, as well

Spring mood with butterflies: excellent subject for beginners in watercolor

This exercise is for absolute beginners

Why to start with pen and watercolor? It is forgiving, it is easy and fast, and it allows learning watercolor application more effortlessly. The pen lines provide additional support. It is a flattering technique since practically any painting or drawing looks good regardless of how sufficient one is with watercolor only.

I have done numerous pen and watercolor paintings over years, just because it is fun, it is easy and looks fantastic.

14 Replies to “The best way to start painting with watercolors”

  1. This is a great post! If I was just starting out I would be inspired as you explain the process so well. Learning to paint and draw is not easy, but oh so worthwhile if you persevere. I love your butterfly painting.

    1. Thanks Jo-Anne! Well, the layout is still going to be adjusted as I haven’t installed a better theme yet just because everything comes at such a high price (Canadian dollar exchange rate!!!). I needed a website, and I couldn’t get to migrating the blog to a self-hosted website for a long time. I simply waited and tried to get myself to this point for too long since the blog was huge, and that made the transfer difficult. The other difficult part was my domain name which I wanted to keep regardless of where I move. I managed that all, but the website takes a lot of work and time in the initial stages.
      I appreciate you find it quite attractive already, so that inspires me to do more.

  2. “Nothing happens right away and with the first brush stroke”.

    I couldn´t agree more with that statement dear Inese…
    My mom has once taken Watercolors painting classes. She was so tidy and careful, as she told me. Once again, you teaches about Life, which imitates Art, (or viceversa maybe!)…. Beautiful post… thank you… happy week ahead. <3

    1. Yes, I’m seeing very often somebody who has hopes that 1 art class will turn them into an experienced artist. I have no idea what cause that belief because we do not expect to be professionals in any other area after 1 hour, but that’s what it is.
      Life and art are mutually enhancing each other and there’s quite an interaction between the two.
      Have also a very nice upcoming week!

      1. Oscar Wilde said: “Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life”. However, I believe that there is a reciprocal interaction, as you have well pointed out! 😀 <3 Sending love!

        1. It could be true in some cases. For me, life and art is the same and they go hand in hand.

  3. Your words are so encouraging for anyone who wants to pick up the paintbrush again after telling themselves they aren’t good at the craft. It takes time, practice and the ability to want to do better 🙂 Your creations are stunning, Inese!

    1. Thanks Christy! I really appreciate you stopped by. I love the kind comments. I’ve been drawing since I was 3 years old, and nobody ever taught me, but I have observed that drawing is just like handwriting: everybody can learn that. People also can draw before they are able to speak and they can draw even when they cannot speak. So, it is one of the best self-developing pastimes one can have. That’s if we do not mention the huge contribution to keeping our brain fit, flexible and efficiently functioning.
      I am hesitating right now which WP theme to pick. While there are so many, I don’t see a good fit for me. Altogether, the personal website creation is fun and more rewarding than a blog. It’s just so that I don’t have enough time to work it out properly.

Your comment is greatly appreciated