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Watercolor Painting for Beginners | step by step

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Hi there, Liron here!

When I got started in watercolor, I ran into some issues and problems for which I COULDN'T find explanations or solutions anywhere.

What bothered me was how to approach the painting process in general. This includes questions like "Should I cover the entire paper in the first wash?" or "How do I know how dark to go in the beginning?" and so on.

In this video I attempt to provide a solution to some of these issues, by explaining my general approach to the different stages of watercolor painting.


00:49 - General pointers
02:11 - 1st wash (= layer)
03:14 - 2nd wash
04:20 - 3rd wash
04:54 - 4th wash and beyond
05:29 - Every painting is a little different / Conclusion
06:25 - Outro


I want to first emphasise that this is MY WAY of doing this.
I encourage you to learn from many teachers, so that you can get multiple perspectives on the painting process.
That way you'll find what works best for YOU.

Each wash (same as layer) plays a different role in painting.

My approach is to make the most out of each wash.
This means I'll try to get a good indication of the values and colors already in the first wash.
I do this by using wet-in-wet, as well as lifting when necessary.

Now let's go over the specific washes...

1ST WASH (02:11)

My goal here is to cover everything up except for the highlights.
In this particular painting, I also left the background empty at this stage, because the figures are the most important part.
I also planned on filling the background up later on with one light wash.
Sometimes it would be better to cover it up as well.

In this stage I'm not too concerned with letting the different colors "bleed" or run into one another. You can also see some blooms and cauliflowers (this happens when wet paint runs into a significantly drier paint.

My only concern is to produce an even result that also shows the variation in values and colors.

You may want to create some variation in the edges (meaning to blend some of them) if necessary. The only edges I blend in this demo are the shadows' edges.

2ND WASH (03:14)

The second wash is dedicated to the mid-values. This means the areas that are darker than the initial wash.
In some cases this can mean going over MANY parts of the initial wash.

At this stage you also want to pay more attention to the edges. You may need to blend some of them, or leave some of them hard and sharp.

3RD WASH (04:20)

At this stage we want to put in the darkest, richest shadows.
In addition, you may have missed some mid-values you need to place in now. This is very common and is perfectly find.

At this stage, you want to make sure you are painting a little more accurately and stay loyal to the drawing. The reason is that the darker you go, the harder it is to correct mistakes.

4TH WASH (04:54)

This wash and beyond, for me, are devoted to adding small details that I didn't get the chance to, or darkening things that weren't darkened enough up to this point.

I find that if I did everything correctly so far, I'll only have several small details to add in now, and I can wrap up the painting.

In this specific demo, my 4th wash was simply placing the background, but that can change from one painting to another.
Which brings me to my next point...


Remember that every painting is a little different.

With that being said, I do find that each TYPE of painting can have similar "blueprints".

For example, if I'm painting people, I will most likely work similarly to this painting.

I'll treat the painting as if only the people are there, and then add the background.

For a landscape painting, on the other hand, I'll probably cover everything up in the very first wash.

So hopefully this makes sense.
I hope you found this video helpful and learned something new, and perhaps enjoyed it too (:

Let me know what you think in a comment down below.

Also, if you wish to support me and my mission, and get cool rewards, you can do so on Patreon (:

And I'll talk to you soon!

- Liron


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