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Is Watercolor Hard to Learn? 5 Hard Truths About Watercolor

Have you ever tried those easy watercolors paintings video or hacks on watercolors or even beginner tutorials? Only to find yourself frustrated with you didn’t get the exact outcomes. If so, you're not alone. Starting a journey with watercolors can be daunting, filled with pitfalls that many beginners face. As an artist who has went through these challenges, I'm here to share insights and spare you the heartache I encountered in my watercolor beginner journey.

In this article, I will go through five harsh truths a lot of watercolors:

Unforgiving Nature of Watercolors

Color Variation in Watercolors

Importance of Paper Quality

Layering Complexity in Watercolor Painting

Fading Nature of Watercolor Pigments

You can also check this detailed video on this article.

My Watercolor Painting Journey

Embarking on my watercolor journey, I discovered five harsh truths that, once acknowledged, can significantly ease the path for budding artists. These truths encompass the unforgiving nature, color variations, paper quality, layering complexity, and pigment fading issues inherent in watercolor painting.

Unforgiving Nature of Watercolors

Watercolors have unique traits — they dry rapidly, making corrections can be quiet challenging. However, embracing mistakes as integral parts of the painting can lead to unexpected and beautiful outcomes. Strategies such as using planning your lighter washes initially, planning compositions ahead of time, and honing precision in brushwork can help navigate this challenge.

Color Variation in Watercolors

One of the frustrating aspects of watercolor painting is the unexpected color shifts upon drying. Mastering water-to-pigment ratios and testing colors on separate paper aids in controlling and anticipating these variations. This 'color dilemma' can be conquered with patience and experimentation.

Importance of Paper Quality

The choice of paper significantly impacts the outcome of your watercolor artwork. Investing in quality watercolor paper prevents buckling and warping, ensuring a stable surface for your creations. Additionally, considering paper stretching or opting for thicker paper minimizes these woes. Consider sturdier paper with 300 GSM Lb professional grade. But invest in smaller size and slowly build up.

Layering Complexity in Watercolor Painting

Understanding the art of layering in watercolors is akin to solving a puzzle. Planning layers strategically and mastering blending and lifting techniques are crucial. This approach, akin to constructing a house, helps in creating depth and richness in your artwork.

Fading Nature of Watercolor Pigments

Some watercolor pigments tend to fade over time, affecting the longevity of your artwork. Opting for professional-grade lightfast pigments and proper preservation methods can ensure vibrant and enduring art pieces.

Conclusion: Trust the Watercolor Journey

Mastering watercolor painting isn't solely about perfection; it's about embracing the learning curve and relishing the artistic adventure. Each stroke and wash contribute to evolving and refining your craft. So, trust the process, enjoy the act of painting, and keep creating vibrant art that paints your world with colors.


1.            Q: What should beginners prioritize when starting with watercolors?

•             A: Beginners should focus on understanding water-to-pigment ratios and investing in good quality watercolor paper for a smoother experience. Some of my personal favorites are Saunders Waterford, Arches and Boahong Watercolor Paper.

2.            Q: How can one handle unexpected color variations in watercolor paintings?

•             A: Testing colors on separate paper and controlling water-to-pigment ratios can help in managing and anticipating color shifts.

3.            Q: Is it necessary to use professional-grade watercolor pigments from the start?

•             A: For beginners, starting with student-grade pigments is advisable to grasp the medium before transitioning to professional-grade pigments.

4.            Q: How crucial is layering in creating depth in watercolor paintings?

•             A: Layering strategically is vital; it's akin to creating a foundation to add depth and richness to the artwork.

5.            Q: What's the best way to preserve watercolor artworks?

•             A: Proper framing, storing away from direct sunlight, and using professional-grade lightfast pigments can ensure the longevity of watercolor artworks.

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below.


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