Getting Set Up To Paint In Watercolor

A few watercolor painting tips & tricks

Many folks use some version of a pencil sharpener to keep their pencils pointed.
For drawing, it’s a better idea to have pencils sharpened to allow use of the side as well as the point of the lead. The solution is to sharpen with a blade or utility knife. Start the video to see how.
You’ll need:
• Pencils
• Utility knife

You don’t need a light box or light table to transfer drawings and compositions onto your watercolor paper. A window that’s big enough will do.
What you’ll need:
• One Big Window!
• Pencil, Eraser
• Drawing to be transferred
• Paper to receive the drawing

Stretching watercolor paper is the best way to minimize buckling while painting. There are a number of different ways to accomplish it.
This tutorial includes three different methods – two are fast and easy but won’t likely eliminate all buckling, the third is much more effective and also takes more time.

A good starting point for working with a limited palette of color in the painting is to start with a limited set of colors on your palette.

This video shows how to choose a set of “palette” primary colors and arrange them in a logical way on your palette. Most of our lessons use only a small handful of these colors to get all of the mixtures needed for the painting.

Whenever you are ready to begin a new watercolor painting, it is best to be a little organized. That way, everything you need will be set up and ready to go – and you won’t have to interrupt your painting to go search for something you’ve forgotten.

Here’s one way to do it.

An easy way to flatten a painting that has buckled.

Just need some water, a big brush, a couple extra pieces of unused watercolor paper and some heavy books. And about 24hours.

Every tube of watercolor paint contains a mixture of finely ground color pigments and a binder.

The color pigments are what creates the actual color. Each pigment is classified and indexed by the pigment and dye industry.

It is important to know what pigments are used to create the colors you paint with. The name on the outside of the tube is usually a common, familiar name but the color inside the tube may be very different from brand to brand. The underlying pigment will tell you more about the color than the name on the tube.
This short tutorial discusses pigment codes, how to find pigment info for your paint and to know when the color will vary by brand.

It’s important to maintain the same proportions when enlarging a small drawing or thumbnail composition to a larger piece of paper for painting.

Learn two methods in this tutorial.


  • Two rulers and a long straight-edge
  • A calculator

This tutorial shows how to accurately transfer a small drawing or composition thumbnail to a larger sheet of watercolor paper. It is important to maintain the same proportions (see the previous video) and use landmarks on the edges of the paper.


  • A larger sheet of watercolor paper at the SAME PROPORTIONS as the small drawing

Where To Go From Here

Watercolor Painting Supplies & Materials

Materials & Supplies For Watercolor Painting

Six short videos to help you select the materials you’ll need to get started painting in watercolor.  Covers paint, brushes, paper, palette and other supplies

watercolor graded wash - a basic watercolor painting technique

Watercolor Painting Basic Techniques


Six lessons that demo the four basic watercolor painting techniques. Also learn the common problems, how to avoid them and how to fix them. 

Fir Tree in Snow, Watercolor Painting from an online line lesson

Easy Watercolor Painting Lessons

These are short, easy lessons of simple subjects and scenes.

They’ll get you started and help develop skill with basic watercolor painting techniques.