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Watercolor Painting Techniques

before you start

Understanding these watercolor basics and learning about all the wonderful watercolor painting tips is very important if you want to create beautiful pieces.

proper preparation

If you want to be able to paint with watercolor, decent paper is very important. Without good paper, your painting will never reach its full potential.

guide to watercolor techniques

paint lifting

Lifting is a useful watercolor technique when one wants to make negative space to paint within or to create effects such as clouds or light marks.

dark to light effect

When we paint, we start in light and end in dark. This is what makes this watercolor technique so unique – we do it the opposite way! In other words, we use the darker color before the lighter one.


A simple, yet efficient, gradient. While you may think it is very easy, in order to create a seamless gradient does require proper technique.


We need to first apply our thin water layer to the section of paper to be used. We will now build up the layers, similar to the dark and light technique.


As the name suggests, we will paint onto a dry surface. It will help when adding details that you want to stand out prominently. 


While still wet, we will use a very similar action as we used for the gradient effect but, instead of covering the entire page or section, we will create negative space by pulling our hand back to interrupt the motion.


The black runs or cauliflower technique is very common and used quite frequently amongst watercolor painters. It can help create some very beautiful color combinations and effects.


While your paint is still wet, take a pinch of salt and sprinkle it onto the painted section. Remember to act fast as you need the paint to be wet, not damp.