6 Common watercolor painting mistakes and how to correct them

By Nicole Tinkham
6 of the most common watercolor mistakes & how to deal(1)
Do you have an interest in learning how to paint with watercolor? A lot of our customers either currently paint with watercolor, or have in the past, but what about those just starting out? Is it a difficult medium to start using? While watercolor is a unique medium, we believe with a few pointers and a fun sense of adventure, you can take it on and have a blast doing it. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll flow through the painting like a pro. So, no need to stress out, we have solutions for your slip ups! Here are the 6 most common watercolor mistakes and how to deal with them.

#1: You’re painting too close to an already wet area
Oh no! Your colors are bleeding together! You’ll most likely run into this at least once on your watercolor journey but don’t freak out. This happens when two colors are wet right next to each other. Luckily, there’s a simple solution. Wet your paintbrush with water and paint over the area. Let it dry and paint over the area again with the appropriate color to fix the mistake.

#2: You’re using the wrong brush
Using too small of a brush on a large area will not only take a long time to paint but will also leave your painting looking rough. And using a brush too large is way too frustrating to get those details in. We suggest having a range of brushes ready before beginning a painting to eliminate your oncoming headache.

#3: You’re not planning out your painting
Just winging it doesn’t always cut it when working with watercolors. It’s important to know which steps you need to complete and in which order for a successful painting. For instance, you may need to mask a particular area before you begin.

#4: You aren’t working quickly enough
Watercolors dry fast so if you’re working on a wash for your background, you’ll have to work quickly. If you stop in the middle of a wash and allow it to dry you could end up with uneven color. To fix uneven color, wet your brush and paint over the area. Next, go over the area again with your wash color a few times. This should blend everything together and make those uneven marks disappear.

#5: You’re not using the correct amount of water
Too much water on your brush results in washed out and less than vibrant colors. For darker colors, use more (or almost all) paint and less water. If you keep getting light colors, try to figure out where the excess water is coming from. Are you washing your brush every time you pick up a new color? This could be the issue.

#6: You purchased poor quality supplies
In the art supply world, the phrase “you get what you pay for” is more than accurate. If you want a beautiful painting, you’ll have to invest in some quality supplies to get you there. A cheap paper can be absorbent and produce a very different effect. The big thing about watercolor brushes is the amount of water they can pick up. The better the brush, the more it will hold. Do yourself a favor and start with good, lasting supplies. Let us know if you need help determining the best supplies for your next project.

Starting anything new can be terrifying especially if it’s just not “clicking” with you. Remember to practice often and try some different ways of doing it. You may discover your own personal style when doing so. The 6 most common watercolor mistakes listed above are just a few of many. Not everything will work out the way you had planned but that’s ok! You’ll learn as you go.

What do you think of our list? Do you have anything to add to it? Leave a COMMENT below or on our Facebook page with any advice you would give a new watercolor artist.

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