Remember that one time in art school?!
Me neither… *crickets*
What I do remember?
*gestures a facepalm*
Slowly losing my MIND in 2020 when I felt claustrophobic + stuck in our house for weeks without an end in sight.
Literally, the day before our official lockdown “lifted” (quotes because we were still super careful and still are), my hubs got me a birthday present — a brand new watercolor palette.
He had no idea, but as excited as I was for my bday prez, I was TERRIFIED of watercolor.
But you know what? Through a lot of trial and error (*gestures broadly* a lot… seriously…) I’ve painted beautiful collections and countless commissions.
BUT YOU KNOW WHAT?! WE ALL START SOMEWHERE.
In this blog I’m sharing 5 BRILLIANT tips for watercolor newbies. Let’s dive in.
ONE — THE RIGHT TOOLS MATTER
SIMPLY PUT?! Get the right supplies.
You need an artist quality palette (even a palette with a few colors is fine. The quality of the paint is VASTLY different in an artist grade palette than it is in a student or child paint palette.
Brushes? It totally depends. I’ve gotten great use out of the artist quality brushes at Hobby Lobby, but I do go through them faster than I do my higher end brushes.
I’ve linked my favorites in my amazon shop.
TWO — PAPER MATTERS
Whatever else you skimp on, don’t skimp on your paper. The watercolor paper you choose can easily make or BREAK your entire painting because if it doesn’t hold water, it won’t hold your attention (i.e… its gonna fall apart when you try to paint it)
THREE — PLAY
Did you know you learn by playing creatively? It’s true. Art is like a stinking mathematical proof to our brain. WILD! Nervous to even play around? Pour water on a paper and add color. Seriously. Just pour 1/4 cup or so on a watercolor paper and add color.
“Serious art is born from serious play.”
― Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity’
Is it going to be pretty? Maybe. It may also be ugly as sin …
but it may also just release the nerves that keep your creativity at bay.
FOUR — FIND INSPIRATION
Get outside and find things that interest you. This can be as simple as a field strawberry in your backyard or a storm brewing overhead. Want to paint your kids playing? GO FOR IT! The sky is the limit. Don’t wait to be inspired. Get out there and make it happen.
FIVE — JUST START
One of my favorite people Angie Lee says “READY IS A LIE” and you know what?! THAT’S TRUE! Ready is a total bullshirt lie.
YOU don’t have to be ready to start. You just have to be WILLING to start. To mess up. To show up imperfectly. To remember that there is so much beauty in imperfection.
It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.
You just have to START.
Ready to start painting? The bottom line when you’re a total newbie *or a seasoned profesh* is to JUST START. The fear is literally always going to be there — so to quote another 90s fave A Cinderella Story, “Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”
DON’T WAIT TO START! KEEP GOING. KEEP TRYING. YOUR WORK MATTERS.
AND really, that’s what painting is all about—telling the story of the beautiful life and world around you.
Because it is BEAUTIFUL.
Get out of your comfort zone, find the beauty, and GET PAINTING. And you know what? Share it and tag me @courtneykibbydesigns on Instagram. I wanna cheer you on!
READY to dive in headfirst?
Check out my ULTIMATE WATERCOLOR SUPPLY LIST.
Get ready to learn all that you need to know about watercolor supplies.
And if you’re not quite there yet, grab this step by step freebie—five minutes to painting a beautiful floral bouquet. I’ll walk you step by step through the process of painting a beautiful rose bouquet.