Watercolor Basics: Introduction

So many people have expressed an interest in learning how I watercolor.  Its a common request at conventions, and quite a few of you have commented here and on my YouTube that you want to learn how I do it.

When I was learning how to watercolor a couple years ago, I shared my list of resources here, as I thought you guys might find it helpful.  Since then, I've discovered even MORE fantastic resources, which I'll be linking at the bottom of this post, and I highly recommend you check all of them out if you can.  For the most part, my Watercolor Basics series will cover how *I* handle watercolors, but there are lots of amazing ways to paint with watercolors.


Western Inspiration

 My work tends to to be tight (maybe too tight), mannered and rendered (perhaps over rendered), highly inspired by pastel and earth toned children's books like the image from The Waterbabies, below.

Originally from The Waterbabies, by Charles Kingsley, but image is from Magia Della Luce
As well as books like very realistic yet fanciful children's books like Animalia:

Image source from this Youtube video.
Eastern Inspiration

I'm also heavily inspired by the watercolor concept work produced by Studio Ghibli, the Art of Books are a staple in my studio, I think I have almost all of the ones available in English.  My favorite is the Nausicaa of theValley of the Wind Watercolor Impressions book, which is available on Amazon.

Images from here

I've chosen watercolors for the children's comic I'm producing, 7" Kara because I love how the medium looks, and I find it very cost effective compared to markers, and more interesting than digital coloring.

Examples of My Work

Standalone Illustrations

7" Kara Pages

From Vol 1

You can get a closer look at 7" Kara by ordering a physical copy, or purchasing a PDF through my Gumroad.

What!?  You like what you see?  Well I have great news- you can order your very own copy of 7" Kara, Volume 1 from my online shop for $15+shipping, and it comes with a super adorable wooden Kara charm to boot.

From Vol 2

Gizmo Grandma- Freelance Illustration

Anthology Pieces

Knight School

Realistic Watercolor Studies

Other Watercolors

I enjoy using watercolors to not only create in depth, heartfelt illustrations, but to also render lighthearted doodles meant for the masses to enjoy.

Topics I'll Cover in This Series:

  • Materials you'll need to get started
  • Difference between good and bad brushes
  • Revisiting Stretching Watercolor Paper
  • Buying a Palette Vs Assembling Your Own
  • Choosing Colors for Your Palette
  • Putting Together Your Palette
  • Selecting The Watercolor Paper for You
  • Watercolor Materials- Crayons, Pencil Colors, Markers, Pans, and Tubes
  • How I Make 7" Kara
  • Scanning and Correcting Your Watercolors

You are more than welcome to suggest a topic using my handy sidebar quick-email widget.  If there's a topic you absolutely need to see covered, please consider backing my Patreon, as Patrons get priority suggestion privileges.

If you aren't subscribed yet, I highly recommend subscribing to my YouTube channel, as I will regularly upload a variety of watercolor related videos- from reviews to tutorials to timelapse.  There are many techniques that I cannot explain through text and images alone.

Sources of Inspiration

Qinni's youtube channel


Lisk Feng
Alina Chau
Winsor and Newton
Jeeyon Kim

Other Watercolor Comics


Recommended Reading

From this blog

Watercolor Resource List (Note:  A lot of these are videos, which I highly recommend you watch.  These are how I learned to watercolor)
Simple vs. Original Watercolor Commissions

Recommended Viewing

Introduction to Watercolor- Mechacon 2014 Panel- Becca Hillburn

Watercolor Marker Workshop with Nattosoup- Becca Hillburn

Microfashion Watercolor Timelapse-Becca Hillburn

Prepping Watercolor Brushes for First Use- Becca Hillburn

If you enjoy these videos, please make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel, because I have many more watercolor videos scheduled.

Outside Resources

Watercolor VS Gouache Painting (with Grisaille)- Hajira Meeks

Paint a Crystal Cluster in Watercolor~Beginner's Tutorial-The Witty Gritty Paper Co

Mind of Watercolor

Owings Art

If you find this series helpful, it would mean the world to me if you purchased a copy of 7" Kara from the Nattoshop.  7" Kara is my all ages watercolor comic about a tiny little girl and her big adventures, and it's perfect to share with the family, give as a gift, or keep it as a special treat for yourself.   Every copy comes with an adorable wooden Kara charm, and a back-of-the-book custom sketch.  Volume 1 is the culmination of three years of hard work and long days spent watercoloring on my floor, and Volume 2 is well underway and images from Volume 2 will be used for demonstration in this Watercolor Basics series.

Over the years, I've made it a point to share the helpful things made by others with my regular readers, and if this post, series, or blog has helped you create your Youtube videos, Tumblr tutorials, or blogposts, I would appreciate you sharing my link, and I'd love to see what you've done.  Drop me a line with the link to your work, and I'll happily include it, either in this post or in an upcoming post.  We educators should stick together!

If you enjoy content like this, and would like to help ensure it continues, please consider backing my Patreon.   Large series like this which include not only text/image posts but video are very expensive to produce, and take a lot of time to plan and execute.  Just like PBS relies on public support from viewers like you, I rely on support from readers like you, and every reader counts!


Popular Posts