8 Watercolor Techniques Hand-Picked for Newbies

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Got paints. Got paper. Go for it. We're never going to discourage free-roaming exploration. But if you want to ground your watercolor play in a little technique, we've got you covered.

1. Laying Down a Wash

Applying a flat, even watercolor wash is much more than just putting paint on paper. We'll show you the tricks to prevent drips and make a smooth, even field of color.

2. Priming with a Water Glaze

A water glaze is the essential first step in understanding how watercolors work, and lets you easily contain your colors to avoid a runny mess.

3. Dropping in Color

Time to give that water glaze some color. But do it gently!!

4. Lifting Color with a Brush

Did you add too much paint to your paper? Or maybe just want to create a highlight or two? You gotta know this technique.

5. Lifting Color with a Tissue

We love this trick for lifting out excess color. But it works better in some situations than others (hello, painting skies).

6. Painting Hard Edges

Watercolor is not synonymous with soft and fuzzy, despite what you might think. This wet-on-dry technique is simple to execute and brings awesome detail.

7. Softening an Edge

This softening technique is vital to wet-on-dry painting and lets you avoid harsh edges so your details enhance, rather than distract from your overall composition.

8. Dry Brushing

Essentially, dry brushing is taking the water out of watercolors. It adds depth and texture to your painting, and makes your colors so much richer.

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8 Watercolor Techniques Hand-Picked for Newbies