My name is Jonene Ficklin, and I'm a full-time wife, mom, writer, and professional artist. I've been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I use colored pencils, oil paints, and watercolors. I love what I do!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lesson 31 Watercolor Painting - Getting Started

Are you ready to do a watercolor painting?  The basic supplies we'll be using today (just to get us started) are:

Watercolor paper. (I'm using 18x24, but there are many sizes to choose from.)

A board large enough to hold your paper.

(Even good quality papers buckle a bit when they are wet. If they are taped down on a board, they will flatten as they dry.)

You can use any kind of board. I found this at a Michael's Art and Craft Store.

A medium or light grey watercolor pencil.

(You can use a regular pencil, but those marks sometimes show where you don't want them to. A watercolor pencil line will fade when you get it wet, or disappear if you run a wet brush repeatedly over the marks.) I like grey because it is an earthy color and blends into just about any color you lay over the top of it.

Masking tape. I like the wide kind.
So let's get started
First, lightly draw your basic picture on the watercolor paper, using the watercolor pencil. It is important that you stay light and don't push hard, or you'll indent the paper. (Sorry, my drawing was so light, I had to tweak the settings to have it show up. It's a baby turtle making a run for the water on a tropical beach.)
Then place your watercolor drawing onto your board. (If you buy one with clips like I did, make sure the clips are on the left side if you're right handed, and vice-versa if you're left handed. That way you won't be fighting them the whole time.)
Begin taping the edges. My paper is so big, I can only tape three edges, but the clips will hold the fourth edge. You don't need it to overlap more than a half inch over your paper's edge, but it won't hurt it if you do.) I lay my tape down over the paper, then fold it over the board.

Okay, now we're ready to really get going.  More to come next week!


  1. Maybe I'll get brave and try a watercolor. Do you have any extra hours in the day you can give me? I keep running out. :)

  2. Leisha, I buy the extra hours at the elementary school with box tops (you know - it's all those 'bored' hours that go to waste in a child's life, kept safe in elementary school vaults.) It's one of the best-kept secrets, and only available to overworked moms.

  3. My dad is learning to watercolor. I had an uncle who was really gifted in watercolor, but I admit, it really, REALLY intimidates me.
    I look forward to your next posts! I'm going to have my dad follow these too.

  4. Thanks, Lydia! Does your uncle have any watercolors online that I could see? I'd love to see what your dad does, too! Watercolors only seem hard at first. Once you get a few rules down, it's as easy (and as fun) as fingerpainting.

  5. Its so cool how you do these step by step art projects. I love it!

  6. Thanks, Julie. I love it, too! I teach private art lessons, but it's also fun explaining it through the written word. I hope it's clear.


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