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6 Things to Improve Your Watercolor Painting

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Things for Improving Your Watercolor Painting

Did you know that these things can improve your watercolor painting, helping you to paint so much better?

No matter you are a beginner or a professional watercolor artist, you will always find a way to perfect your watercolor painting skills.
Perhaps after a long time doing things a certain way, you want to discover new methods and techniques so that you can create more excellent works of art in the future.

If you want to improve your watercolor painting, then this article is for you.

06 Things Can to Improve Your Watercolor Painting

Maybe you’ve been painting watercolors for a long time, but the results still don’t make you happy. Below I list 06 things that can improve your watercolor paintings. Let’s go!!

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How To Stretch Watercolor Papers
Stretch your watercolor paper

Stretching the paper before painting doesn’t take too much time, but sometimes we are lazy and skip it.

Check out the detailed instructions on how to stretch watercolor paper here: https://artpaintingblog.com/how-to-stretching-watercolor-papers/

Many years ago, when I started to practice watercolor painting, I had very bad experiences painting without stretching the paper; so I understood its importance.

The characteristic of paper made from cotton or wood pulp is that it expands when wet and shrinks when dry, after this process the paper becomes warped and makes it difficult for the artist to paint. Small-size paper can usually return to its original shape, but large-size and weight less than 140 pounds (300 g) will wrinkle and warp due to water moisture.

Before becoming a watercolor artist, we need to learn how to stretch our own watercolor papers to be able to work effectively. 

2. Make a Sketch Before Painting can improve your watercolor painting

Sketching before drawing helps you come up with good ideas and then figure out how to infuse it in your painting. That is the best way for you to figure out the subject’s structure, composition, and light and shadow arrangement before painting. When you sketch, you can visualize the painting that you will create.

6 Things to Improve Your Watercolor Painting
Sketch Before You Paint- @Chien Chung Wei

Working with a pencil, Artist Chien Chung Wei simplified his composition and represented it in a small sketch. He looks for areas of light and dark—see how they might work in his painting.

3. Understanding Values

One of the best ways to improve your watercolor painting is to understand the value of art. Charcoal and pencil drawing takes the complexity out of color and lets you focus on studying light and shadow. Studying value will help improve your watercolor painting a lot.

Things to Improve Your Watercolor Painting
Value research by Andy Evansen

Value is considered to be one of the most important factors for the success of a painting. The value in painting is how light or dark an object is on a white-to-black scale (white is interpreted as the highest value and black is the lowest value).

Mastering the value will help you:  to create focal points in your painting. To create a three-dimensional illusion of form for objects and the illusion of depth of space.

the range of values on a scale of 1 to 9

Artists often simplify the range of values on a scale of 1 to 9. Some painters even prefer to use a limited range of values from 1 to 5, which can make it easier for them to control values and achieve harmony in their paintings.


The image above (@marcobucci) is an example of the relationship between value and color. You can see that yellow has the highest value while blue and purple have the lowest value.

4. Learn more about colors to Improve Your Watercolor Painting

Learn about color theory

Color theory is especially important in the visual arts in general and watercolor art is no exception.

Human color perception is the perception of light wavelengths through the retina, we must understand that there is no color without light. The object itself does not have a fixed color, it is always changing and depends on the color, intensity of the light source, and the surrounding environment.

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  • Illustrations of Color Harmonies
  • Complementary, Split Complementary,
  • Hue is identified as the color family or color name (such as Blue, green, or red). Hue is directly linked to the color’s wavelength.
  • Chroma, also called “Saturation,” is a measure of the purity of a color or how sharp or dull the color appears.
  • Brightness, also called “value,” is the shade (darkness) or tint (lightness) of a color. Areas of an evenly colored object in direct light have higher brightness than areas in shadow.
  • Color temperature:  Cool colors range from blue to violet, which is half of the shorter wavelength color wheel. Cool colors have a feeling of coolness, lightness, cleanliness, and sophistication. Warm colors range from red to yellow, which is half of the color wheel corresponding to longer wavelengths. Warm colors are dynamic, attention-grabbing, and positive colors that often appear on magazine covers or billboards.

5. Use the Good Art Supplies you can buy

Of course, good art supplies don’t turn a person who can’t draw into a good artist; however, they can help you have a better experience and improve your final watercolor painting.

If you’re a begginer, you need a lot of practice and definitely use a lot of art supplies, so cost becomes a factor that artists at this stage need to consider.

As you master your work, you should invest a little more in your materials to enhance the final result of your painting. Let’s analyze which materials are adversely affecting your results and what you need to upgrade.

6. Share your work on social networks

Have you ever felt sluggish and inspired to keep painting? Scientists have proven that sharing and connecting with others helps people improve their psychological well-being and be happier.

Social media platforms like Facebook vs Instagram are places where so many artists regularly share their works online.

Sharing your works regularly on social media will help you reach many people, and connect with other artists and people with similar passions. Besides, following other artists’ pages and accounts to learn and get more creative inspiration.

A site like Pinterest also is a great place to discover a huge catalog of artists from around the world.

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