Watercolour Painting Ideas – 29 Curated Video Tutorials & Demonstrations
Watercolour painting is often thought of as a tricky medium to master. People worry about the unpredictable nature of it and their inability to control the paint they lay down on the paper! However, once you embrace this characteristic, and let go, you will be surprised at the many ‘happy accidents’ which will occur!
Even though you will never be able to control the watercolour paint, practice and experience will allow you to at least predict what will happen and trying out different techniques allows you to grow and develop your own watercolour style. A helpful way to learn is by watching other artists paint, following step by step tutorials, or just following their painting process. YouTube has a plethora of great videos, but you can spend hours looking through them to find one you like, leaving you with no time to paint! That is why we have done the work for you and curated a list of watercolour demonstrations and tutorials to give you ideas and inspiration on your watercolour journey.
We have split them into popular subjects and tried to include a number of different techniques and styles. Let us know in the comments if you have enjoyed trying them out, and if there are any subjects you would like to see in the future!
If you want to buy any of the materials featured in the videos we have linked to some of them. We don’t always sell everything the creators use, but where we can we have suggested similar alternatives.
Water / Seascapes
How to Paint Waves by Kelogsloops
A beginner friendly tutorial on how I paint waves using watercolour with just a few techniques!
- Arches Cold Press (NOT) Pads (300GSM)
- Trekell Watercolour Brushes (Da Vinci Casaneo are a similar synthetic squirrel alternative for the mop brush he uses)
- Winsor & Newton’s White Calligraphy Ink
- Winsor & Newton’s Professional’ Watercolours
- Winsor & Newton Colourless Masking Fluid
- Staedtler Mars Lumograph Pencils (Any of our sketching pencils would be suitable)
How to Paint Ocean Water by Wonder Forest
Learn how to paint ocean waves using watercolour paints.
- Winsor & Newton Professional 100% Cotton cold pressed paper.
- Winsor & Newton paints (indigo, ultramarine, cobalt turquoise, lamp black)
- Princeton Neptune Brush #14 (Da Vinci Casaneo are a similar synthetic squirrel alternative)
- Currys #8 round brush (Any size 8 round brush in your preferred range will be fine)
- Winsor & Newton White Gouache
Atmospheric Semi-Abstract Seascape Tutorial With Fun Techniques By Karen Rice
Create a semi-abstract seascape with watercolour paints, and learn how to use more unusual tools in your painting to create some interesting effects in your painting.
- PAPER: Winsor & Newton Watercolour paper block 300gms
- HP PAINTS W&N: Ultramarine, Quinacridone Gold, Manganese Blue, Prussian Blue, Black & White
- M Graham: Quinacridone Rust (Burnt Sienna)
- Daniel Smith: Turquoise and Hematite Genuine
- SPRITZER BOTTLE
- PALETTE KNIFE
- ALCOHOL INK: GOLD
- BRUSHES: Size 14 ROUND
- FRAMING TAPE, PALETTE, SEA SALT, PIPETTE, PLASTIC CARD, WOODEN PEG
Waves on Shore | Watercolour Painting Step by Step by MINIMstudio
Try this interesting technique to create these beautiful gentle ocean waves.
The materials used in the video are not actually listed by the artist, but choose your favourite watercolour paint in a couple of blues and greens and a yellow to mix. Use some Gouache in permanent white for the waves. Pick your favourite watercolour paper and round brush. Finally, you will need some masking tape to achieve the lovely clean edges.
How to Paint Reflections by Paul Clark
A quick 5 minute tutorial on how to paint reflections in water.
- Paint: Watercolour paint & colours of your choice
- Paper: Bockingford Extra Rough
- No. 12 Round Watercolour Brush
- Mop Brush
- Craft Knife (the Slice ceramic craft knife is very good for this)
Skies / Clouds
Watercolour Cloud Study Process
Although not actually a tutorial, artist Noelle Curtis talks us through the various techniques she uses for this cloud study.
- Paper: Arches cold pressed watercolour paper, 140lbs/300gsm.
- Brushes: Silver Black Velvet round size 8 (Da Vinci Casaneo and Escoda Versatil are a similar synthetic alternative)
- Winsor & Newton Cotman Mop (Any mop or wash brush can be used)
- Paint: Mijello Mission Gold and M. Graham watercolour paint. (Daniel Smith Watercolour paints offer a similar vibrant colour range)
- Misc: Ceramic palettes, water cups.
Paint Watercolour Sunset Clouds With Flowers & Get in the Mood for Spring With Me!
Paint light dappled clouds in this painting of a sunset over a spring flower field. This tutorial includes a few more advanced watercolour techniques.
- Saunders Waterford Block
- Masking tape
- Sketching pencil
- Watercolour Paint: Naples Yellow, Cobalt Blue Light, Ultramarine, Carmine Red, Indian Yellow
- Wash Brush
- Round brush or quill brush
- Ceramic palette
Watercolour Tip from Peter Woolley: Lifting out Clouds
In this tutorial Peter shows us how to create clouds using a ‘stopping out’ technique, lifting wet paint with a .
- Saunders Waterford 200lb Rough Surface
- Watercolours: Prussian Blue, French Ultramarine, Burnt Umber
- Watercolour Brush: Flat and round.
Stormy Sky Watercolour Tutorial Step by Step Ekaterina Smirnova
A wet-on-wet watercolour tutorial showing you how to paint a stormy sky over the sea. Painted using just 4 colours, Paynes Grey, Ivory Black, Olive Green and French Ultramarine and one brush.
- Watercolour paper, rough (140 lb or thicker, I use Arches watercolour rough, 156 lb)
- Bristle brushes: – wide flat pointy brush
- 4 watercolours: – Paynes Grey, Ivory Black, Olive Green, French Ultramarine
Step by Step Galaxy Tutorial by artbybee7
Paint this beautiful night sky over a forest in this easy to follow tutorial.
- Canson Cold Pressed Watercolour Paper 300gsm (Bockingford NOT is a great alternative)
- Mont Marte round acrylic brushes
- Winsor and Newton Cotman watercolour pan set
- Art Spectrum White Gouache (Caran d’Ache white gouache will work)
- Painters tape
A 30 Minute Watercolour Painting – a Mountainside Lake by Matthew Palmer
With no sketching involved, follow this tutorial to create a distant mountain with forest reflections over a lake.
- Watercolour Paper (min 140lb)
- Watercolour Paint of your choice
- Size 6, 12 & 20 Round Watercolour Brush
- Tree & Texture brush – we sell a Terry Harrison Tree & Texture brush
- Small Palette Knife
- Craft Knife (the Slice ceramic craft knife is very good for this)
- Masking Tape
- Kitchen Roll
Semi-abstract Loose Watercolour Landscape Tutorial Using Salt & 2 Colours by Lois Davidson
Using only two colours, Paynes Grey and Yellow Ochre, a hake brush and some rock salt, you can follow this tutorial to produce this beautifully moody abstract watercolour landscape.
- Milford paper 140lb cold pressed 11″ x 15″/28cm x 38cm
- Natural rock salt (medium ground crystals)
- Cotman watercolour tubes in Paynes grey and Yellow ochre
- Large and medium Pro Arte Ron Ranson hake brushes
- No.2 rigger
- Small squirrel mop brush
Watercolour Sun Rays in Wood by MarenaART
This tutorial shows you how to create this atmospheric landscape of sun rays shining between the trees in a wood.
- Clairefontaine Fontaine or Arches cold-pressed watercolour paper 300gsm or 140lb, 18x24cm or 7×9.5in
- St. Petersburg – White nights Watercolour Paints
- Watercolour Brushes: Flat Size 12, Round size 4 & 6, Mop size 2 & 12
How to Paint a Simple Watercolour Landscape by Joanne Boon Thomas
This lesson for beginners uses only the primary colours to paint a loose watercolour landscape. Follow along with Joanne as she demonstrates the different techniques and colour mixing to achieve this painting.
- Saunders Waterford NOT 200lb watercolour paper.
- Size 8 and 12 round watercolour brushes.
- Daniel Smith Watercolour Paint: Cadmium Yellow – Rose Madder – Manganese Blue (primary colours)
Floral / Botanical
Watercolour Drills and Practice Strokes to Help Better Your Leaves by Emma Jane Lefebvre
Follow these techniques and practice, practice, practice to perfect the foliage in your botanical painting. Once you get going you will find this a very relaxing exercise!
- Watercolour Practice Paper for drills
- Arches Watercolour paper for final piece
- Watercolour paint (Sap Green, Burnt Umber, Hookers Green Dark, Dioxazine Purple)
- Watercolour brushes Round in variety of sizes
How to Make Perfect Doodle Dots with Gold Watercolour Paint by Creationsceecee
Create a wonderful loose painting from blobs of watercolour and doodles embellished with gold paint.
- 140 lbs, cold press Arches bright white watercolour paper
- Watercolour paint – pick a selection of complimentary colours in your choice of watercolour paint. The colours used in the video are: Daniel Smith Watercolour paint (Moonglow, Transparent Pyrrol orange, Blue Apatite Genuine. Other colours used : Indian yellow (M. Graham), Flesh tint (Renessans), Titan buff (QOR), van dyke green (Mijello), pale gold (Kremer Pigments).
- Watercolour brushes: No. 8 round (Princeton Neptune), 1/2″ flat (Da Vinci Casaneo are a similar synthetic squirrel alternative)
- Masking Tape
- Colour pencils: PC1017 clay rose and PC1065 cool gray 70% Prismacolor Premier (Caran d’Ache Luminance Pencils are an alternative)
3 Simple Steps for More Realistic Watercolour Leaves by Shayda Cambell
Once you have mastered getting the basic leaf shape right, this tutorial shows you how to add detail to make them look more realistic.
- Mungyo 48 Pan Paint Set (The Cotman 45 Studio set is a good alternative)
- Set of Sable Hair Brushes Round/Pointed Round Size 2 & 3
- Watercolour Paper 100% Cotton
How to Paint Sakura/Cherry Blossom Flowers
This tutorial shows you first how to sketch the flowers and buds at different angles, before going of the colours used and demonstrating the techniques used to paint the flowers.
- Sketching pencil
- Watercolour paint of your choice (Quinacridone Opera/Opera Rose, Vermillion, White, Crimson Lake)
- Watercolour Round Brush size 2
- Watercolour Paper: 100% Cotton
Layered Petals Watercolour Painting Technique by Jay Lee
Learn how to use a watercolour glazing technique to build up layers of translucent colours to create these beautifully delicate flowers.
- Watercolour Paper
- Watercolour Paint (Jay is using the Schmincke Watercolours in the video) Colours: Carmine, Olive Green, Lemon Yellow, cadmium Yellow)
- Round Watercolour Brushes in a large and a smaller size.
Portraits & Figures
Portrait study walkthrough from start to finish by Chris Hong Art
Watch artist Chris Hong take you through this watercolour portrait from start to finish, explaining colour choice and techniques on the way.
- Strathmore 500 series MIX-MEDIA sketchbook (Strathmore Mix-Media Pad, or smooth watercolour paper)
- Watercolour Brushes Round & Flat Synthetics
- Winsor & Newton Watercolour Paint
Putting Figures In – Tips & Tricks by Geoff Kersey
Geoff gives us some tips on how to add basic figures into our watercolour paintings.
10 Tips for Watercolour Portraits by Kirsty Partridge
Ten very useful tips demonstrated by Kirsty, to help you with your watercolour portraits.
- Cotman Watercolour Paints
- Cold Pressed (NOT) Watercolour Paper
- Washi Tape (Masking Tape)
- Caran D’ache Luminance coloured pencils
- Silver Brush Paintbrushes (Da Vinci Casaneo and Escoda Versatil are a similar synthetic alternative)
- Sakura White gelly roll gel pen
Watercolour Figures in 2 Steps by Liron Yanconsky
Here artist Liron Yanconsky shows how to paint these figures using two steps – a base tone and then shadows.
- Saunders Waterford 140lb NOT Watercolour Paper
- Daniel Smith watercolour pains.
- Watercolour Quill brush
Watercolour Tutorial: How To Paint Skin Tones
Mixing skin tones can be tricky. This tutorial guides you through the different tones and how to mix them.
- Canson XL Watercolor paper (Bockingford NOT is a good alternative.
- Sepia-toned Pigma Micron pens
- Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolours (yellow = “Yellow Ochre” pink = “Alizarin Crimson” purple = “Purple Lake” blue = “Ultramarine” brown = “Burnt Umber” red = “Cadmium Red Deep Hue” orange = “Cad Red Pale Hue green = “Sap Green”)
Animals & Birds
Watercolour Bird Tutorial – How to Paint a Blue Tit by Tom Shepherd
A comprehensive tutorial showing you how to paint one of Britain’s favourite birds the Blue Tit! Tom takes you through all the stages from drawing your composition to choosing colours and mixing before laying down the layers of paint. There is even a section on tips to draw simple but accurate shapes to help you get a good structure down when starting a painting.
- Watercolour Paint: Pyrole Red Prussian Blue Maganese Blue (happily replace the Phthalo or just use Prussian) Imidazilone Yellow (Or Winsor Yellow)
- Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour paper (gummed block)
- Size 8 & 14 Prolene synthetic round brush.
Foxy Fox Watercolour Tutorial by Let’s Make Art
Paint along with this tutorial using your watercolour paints and some salt.
- Watercolour paper
- Liquid Watercolour paints (Similar colours are to those used are Chrome Yellow, Hansa Yellow Medium, Ultramarine Blue, Carbon black)
- Watercolour brushes Round Size 2 & 6
Wet on Wet fur like Yutaka Murakami – Black & White Bunny Watercolor Tutorial by Rachelsstudiodotcom
Inspired by the paintings by artist Yutaka Murakami, Rachel takes shows us how to paint this beautiful fuzzy looking bunny!
- Arches 140lb Watercolour Paper
- Masking Fluid
- Silver Black Velvet brushes (Da Vinci Casaneo are a similar synthetic alternative)
- Watercolour paint – Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton
Bluebird Watercolour Tutorial // How to paint a bird in watercolour by Louise De Masi
Artist Louise De Masi shares a shortened version of her full tutorial here. Taking you through the different techniques she uses in this wonderful Bluebird watercolour painting.
- Arches NOT Watercolour board (You can use regular Arches paper and stretch it, or use heavyweight)
- Da Vinci Maestro Round Brush Series 35 Size #3
- Maestro Liner Brush Series 35 Size #00 (Isabey Liner brush is a suitable alternative)
- Casaneo Round Brush Series 5598 size #8
- Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolours
Street Scenes and Buildings
How to Paint A Simple Watercolour Semi Abstract Urban Cityscape by Lois Davidson
She showed us how to use her loose technique to paint a watercolour landscape further up the blog, now Lois is using this same style to create this urban city scape. This time she has some added details and figures to add interest.
- Watercolour Paints in Raw Sienna or Yellow Ochre – and Paynes Grey
- Millford watercolour paper
- Various brushes including hakes, flats, riggers and calligraphy brushes are used, but use what you have and are comfortable with.
We hope you found the watercolour painting ideas useful and if you decide to paint one of them make sure you share it with us on social media – we would love to see it.