Posts in How to
How To Make Simple But Useful Watercolor Swatch Cards

I’m excited to finally be sharing this blog post all about my watercolor swatch cards. This post will walk you through you how I make them, what they tell me about the paints, and how I organize them for storing and easy reference.

At this point my swatch card collection contains 80 cards even though I don’t own 80 tubes of paint! More than 50% of the colors are from paint samples given to me by watercolor artist friends.

So I know you probably have some paints to swatch, so let’s get started!

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Are You Wondering How To Start Watercoloring?

So you’ve bought watercolor supplies. You know they are good supplies and you’re excited to use them. You’ve got everything out on the table. But now what…are you wondering what to do next?

If you’re sitting there wondering how to actually *start* watercoloring, I’m going to give you a few ideas in today’s blog post.

The suggestions I give below are ways of getting started with watercolors that have worked for me. There are many ways to approach starting and learning with watercolors besides what I’m suggesting, but I hope that this gives you some ideas. The methods will vary based on your own personality and how you like to learn and explore new things.

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How To Paint Ballerina Figures With Watercolor

Today, I’m sharing with you how I painted these simple, abstract ballerina figures using watercolors.

I received this question from a student in my online watercolor course, Just Watercolor and thought it would be a great one to share on the blog.

Here was her exact question:

I absolutely love your ballet girls. How did you do them? How did you keep them simple and abstract? Was it a happenstance movement of a brush that created them initially, or were you trying to create exactly that? What inspired them? How did you do them? How big are they? Did they turn out differently than you envisioned? Did you make mistakes and have to start over?

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How to Digitize Watercolor Paintings

It’s said that no experience in life is ever wasted, that everything you learn is valuable. This is true for me when it came to digitizing my artwork.

I spent 13 years in architecture learning and using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign for graphics and presentations. So when it came to digitizing my watercolor paintings, I pretty much already knew how - which was so helpful!

For those you that are just figuring this out and are less familiar with the software programs, I’m going to show you how I get my watercolor paintings into my computer and cleaned up using Adobe Photoshop.

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Watercolor Tutorial: Herringbone Pattern

When I decided to “doodle” this pattern into my sketchbook last year and record it, I had no idea that it would be so popular. I posted a video of it to Instagram and it has (for some crazy reason) been shared by quite a few of those viral video accounts.

I want to be on the record to say, I am the first person in line to agree that this pattern is by no means a crazy feat or even close to being a masterpiece. I actually came across a hilarious comment from someone responding on one of those video accounts that basically asked: “Why is everyone so amazed by this, it’s not like she’s Picasso.” I laughed and still can’t agree more!

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3 Watercolor Brush Stroke Exercises to Practice Brush Control

I think of watercolors a little like modern calligraphy. It’s loose, there aren’t hard and fast traditional rules because it’s such an expressive and fluid medium. With watercolors, you can paint anything from a very loose abstract image to a super detailed photorealistic painting. No matter which style, however, there are still basic principles and techniques that we need to understand in order to be able to paint with watercolors.

One foundational skill in watercolors is understanding your brush, the strokes it can make, and how to handle it. In this post, I’m going to share 3 brush stroke exercises that you can do with a round tip brush to practice control get really comfortable with the strokes and shapes your brush is capable of

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Gradient Watercolor Background Experiments

Hake brushes have been on my mind lately. I’m *this* close to buying one, it’s in my shopping cart on dickblick.com and I just haven’t let myself purchase it yet. If you don’t know what a hake brush is, they are large wash brushes that hold lots of water. In my dreams, I want to use it to prep a big sheet of paper with water so I can paint soft blue watercolor skies with fluffy clouds.

Until that happens I decided I should experiment with some gradient washes because it’s not something that I normally paint. These gradient washes make really nice backgrounds to letter on top of or can be scanned and used as backgrounds for digital designs too.

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4 Steps to Designing Digital Wallpaper + Free Monthly Download

Last year in April, I started making free monthly desktop and mobile phone wallpapers every month until the end of the year. I started this year undecided if I'd continue monthly wallpapers. But I realized I missed making these for you, so I thought I'd make one for March.

You'll have to excuse the random monstera theme as it was something I happened to paint and thought they would make a nice digital wallpaper. In fact, in order to keep this design process sustainable for me, I'll probably be making wallpapers out of watercolor paintings that I have already painted for fun or for projects. Hopefully there are no objections to me repurposing my own work ;)!

I also wanted to share a basic breakdown for the steps I take when designing these wallpapers. Maybe you're curious or are looking for a basic workflow in order to design some for yourself. In any case, I hope you find it helpful!

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5 Types of Watercolor Charts: Overview

I know we can find examples of these color charts as visual images all over the internet but without some sort of explanation to accompany them, I found it pretty confusing! In fact, when I began studying them, what I thought was a basic color chart turned out not to be so basic after all.

Now that we’ve got them all sorted out in a blog series, I’ll summarize them each here with a photo, a name, and a sentence about why you’d want to study and paint them for yourself.

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5 Types of Watercolor Charts - Type 5: Two Color Mixing Chart

If you’ve been reading since the beginning of this watercolor chart series, you may have noticed that each chart type is a little more involved than the last. Each one in the series takes more time to paint and also provides us more insight into our paints.

These last charts are probably the trickiest to paint of the 5 types, but are my favorite because they give you the most information about your color mixes.

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5 Types of Watercolor Charts - Type 4: Color Mixing Chart

I think of color mixing charts as a combination of the basic color chart and a color wheel. You’re taking the paints in your palette (or a selection of them) and mixing them with each other to see what colors they make.

This is when you really witness the magic that is color mixing. With 6 colors, you can make 36 colors. With 12 colors you can make 144 colors. (In fact, you can actually mix MANY more than shown on the color chart, but we’ll take a look at how in the last part of the series.)

What I love most about these color mixing charts is having an organized sheet with a snap shot of colors your palette is capable of producing.

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