Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Learning Watercolor

For a long time I’ve wanted to get good at using watercolor so I can illustrate with it. I love the way watercolor looks. But I’m afraid of it. Irrationally terrified. Pencil can be erased, and with acrylics or oils you can paint over mistakes. But if you mess up a watercolor painting, it’s hard to fix. Sometimes I do something I don’t like and when I try to lift it out of the paper, I end up ruining that part of the paper. Then no matter what I do, it won’t look right. So I’ve done lots of nice big drawings and then instead of painting them with watercolor like I planned to do, I just let them sit. 

What’s the worst thing that could happen? I mess up a drawing and then I do another one. And consider it practice. Or I figure out how to turn a mistake into a happy accident, and stop being a perfectionist.

Right now I’m learning to do skin tones, and I’m doing it in my art journal, because it’s small and just for me and not as scary. I won’t show you my first attempt but I’ll give you a hint: It was bad. Here’s the second one.

I’m using this book and it’s really helping me.

Realistic Watercolor Portraits: How to Paint a Variety of Ages & Skin Tones by Suzanna Winton


  1. Wow, it looks great! Love the baby's chubby cheeks and that little hand. There's nothing like a baby's sweet little hand! =)

  2. Love it. Watercolors were my nemesis in art class. I'm impressed!

  3. That is seriously amazing! I'm in awe!

  4. Even if late: Happy Easter to you. Thanks for the comment on my blog.I lost a lot of your posts,love your watercolor, I love watercolors too and I'm afraid of them too :) Great videos and congratulations for selling your art :)

  5. Wow, beautiful work, Johnell. Good for you for painting through your fears!

    1. Thanks Ruth. I wish I could take credit for it. :). There are actually four of us who write on this blog. Cindy did this lovely painting, but thanks!