Start Watercolor Painting in 7 Steps

Start Watercolor Painting in 7 Steps
032 pencil case

When was the last time you picked up a paintbrush?

How to start watercolor painting

Brushing transparent watercolor paints onto a fresh white piece of paper and watching them slowly blend towards a design has been more rewarding and easier than I imagined. Start watercolor painting in 7 steps. The supplies and timeframe are minimal. It’s a hobby that you can easily do with just a little free time yet the rewards are big. Imagine spending a few minutes painting a birthday card for a friend rather than spending the same time driving to the store and buying one, or making personalized framable art for your family at Christmas. 

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I do not think of myself as especially talented when it comes to art, but I do have particular art styles that I gravitate towards. I stumbled across the work of Emily Lex and discovered she had watercolor paint workbooks and an online course. I was intrigued. I purchased them and got started a few weeks later. I love her spot illustrations! Keep reading to see a photo of some tiny cards I made during the first few months of my journey.

The course was particularly helpful to a novice like me who did not know how to mix colors beyond the basic secondary colors or how to dilute the paint to get just the right shade. I highly recommend taking Emily Lex’s simplified watercolor course to get started. She also has an online course for kids. 

Watercolor painting for beginners

How to start watercolor painting for beginners is easy and inexpensive. It’s also a forgiving medium as one can blot up or wash out mistakes fairly easily. You can paint as loose and expressive or as detailed and realistic as you want your painting to be and still create amazing art. I’m drawn to painting potted plants, coffee mugs, flowers, and little cards to bring joy to my friends and family. After I took my first watercolor workshop, I began finding short free tutorials (either step-by-step drawings or videos) on how to paint a particular item such as a skyline or a steaming coffee mug. I especially like tutorials that show the paint mixture combinations on the side. 

Once I did a few potted plants, I ventured out to try painting potted plants on a hanging shelf. Sticking to smaller paper such as 5×7 or an A5 card (half of an 8.5×11 paper) helps me paint in a short amount of time. I even tried several 2×2 size cards and a tiny paint tin, just for the fun of it. I love it! Creating a little watercolor art is about taking time to see the beauty and joy in the world around me.

my watercolor art
Some of my first tiny watercolor cards next to my business card for size perspective.

7 steps to get started watercolor painting

  1. Purchase a watercolor course (or find a few free videos)
  2. Purchase supplies (paints, paper, and a few brushes are all you need at first)
  3. Choose a picture to paint (can sketch out an outline in pencil first)
  4. Paint a 5×7 or an A5 card (and sign it)
  5. Dry the painting (air dry or use a hair dryer)
  6. Admire your work or give it away 
  7. Repeat steps 3-6 regularly

It’s easy to pick up a set of watercolor paints, a few brushes, and some watercolor paper at your local store. Order a workbook from Emily Lex or find a short tutorial like this one at DearAnnArt and have some fun. Paint by yourself or with a friend. I’d love to see what you create and how you intentionally see joy in your everyday life. Check out my Tailored Search Terms below for examples of how to find tutorials online and hit “images” once your results appear for a quick view of what is available.

Tailored Search Terms: (teaching you how to search better online): 

beginning watercolor tutorial to paint (enter item name here) 

easy step-by-step watercolor tutorial for houseplant

beginning watercolor tutorial for kids free

loose watercolor animal tutorial beginners

More Resources:

I’ve got other creative talents, too.


Table Talk: Would you rather paint a person, a pet, or a landscape? When was the last time you tried a creative art project?

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