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Some tips on beginning watercolor

Do you cook? If so, how did you learn to cook?

If you cook, you’re most likely one of three people. The first person took cooking classes until he felt confident enough to venture out on his own.

The second person watched someone else. This person she watched could be anyone, from a parent to an older sibling to even a friend or lover. But the point is, she watched and repeated until she felt confident enough to venture out on their own.

The last person is self-taught. He stole concepts from here and there but mostly experimented on his own until he got so good, he now invites all his friends over and they absolutely love his cooking.

What does this have to do with beginning watercolor?

Um, everything. You’re more than likely one of those three people. You learn by either taking classes, watching someone else, or experimenting on your own.

None of these methods are better than each other. They totally depend on the person. You need to know who you are, and which method would work best for you.

The student

If you’re the student, don’t buy anything. Instead, enroll in a beginner watercolor course or two.

Your teacher will either give you a list of supplies to buy or she will supply them herself. Either way is great.

For the student, I have no advice for you at all other than to follow the course to a T. Ask appropriate questions. And most importantly, do your homework. Do these things and you’ll improve.

The copier

This method is great. Blues, the music, not the color, came from this. Cats would jam and improvise until they got really good.

Musicians inspired and stole from each other. The ones who played the most improved the most.

The same concept applies for the beginning watercolor painter. Hang out with fellow artists. Copy their methods. The more people you steal from, the more unique your style will become.

I started off as a guitarist by doing exactly this and I got good enough to play some pretty cool cover tunes live within only two years.

This method works, especially for an extrovert or people person. You’ll just have to find the right people to learn from.

The experimenter

And lastly, we have the self-taught master. As I’ve said, none of these methods are necessarily better than the other. You just need to do the one that works for you.

If you’re the experimenter, then do the following. Look online at people’s art. Find out what paints the people you like use. Buy them.

Then while buying paints, pick up a cheap pack of watercolor paper. You’ll throw out the first ten watercolor paintings anyways.

Get some brushes. Which ones? Depends on what you do. Artists love to argue over stupid shit. I just say get the brushes that make the most sense for what you do. I use different brushes than the average watercolor artist since I paint pinups rather than the usual scenery/flowers/birds/buildings that everyone else seems to paint.

some hot tips for beginning watercolor
These are the brushes I used for this particular painting. Your style may require different brushes

Get two jars. I use kimchi jars. You can use spaghetti sauce jars. It doesn’t matter.

Get yourself some paper towels, and get to work.

Remember, your first ten paintings will suck. Don’t get discouraged. The key is, you keep painting.

Hot tip - total hours is more important than years practiced. 

This means exactly that. The guy who practices five hours a day in only one year will smoke the guy who painted one hour a week for five years. You improve by honing your craft. It’s the same as everything from playing piano to working on cars to watercolor painting. The one who puts the most hours in will improve the fastest.

A mix of all three

And there’s always that one guy who’s a mix of any two or maybe even all three. That’s totally fine too. If you’re that person, then apply all these concepts.

Good luck, my friend. If you keep with this and get really good, then maybe my grandkids will be buying your paintings and putting them up on their walls.

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Once you get past your first 10 paintings, I strongly suggest you start using real watercolor paper. That’s paper you can push. You won’t be fighting the paper so much.

You’ll know what I mean once you pass your first 10.

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