How To Instantly Improve Your Watercolor Paintings

Ready to get down to business and improve your watercolor artwork?

In this watercolor tutorial I will give you an overview of how I plan to improve an inferior painting. And more importantly I will share a process that gets results! But to fix anything it’s important to know what’s broken. And that’s what I will cover in the video!

Step one is always about evaluating the art.

Taking a few minutes to make a list of where I came up short. And by the way, never throw away your bad art. It can teach you a lot about your skills but you will lose the opportunity if it’s tucked away in a drawer or in the trash can.
the bad watercolor art

Here’s a list of what I will focus on in step two to improve the painting;

  • better light and shadow
  • refine lost shapes
  • overpainted in the lower right-hand corner
  • more clarity with lost objects

Most fixes are be done with a #2 pencil and paper.

Here’s a list of what I did in step two using a pencil to make the changes.

  • Even though I’ve painted, and drawn, hundreds of cars I needed to revisit the basic shape.
  • I also applied some value to the car sketch to better understand light and shadow.
  • To fix the muddy and lost shapes in the lower right-hand side I looked at composition.
  • It was easy to fix the problem once I added a lighter value to the figures and ground area.
how to use pencil and paper to improve watercolor art
Using pencil and paper to fix issues

In step three I will do some watercolor sketching to address some of the muddiness and lost shapes.

The is a great way to build on the success of the pencil sketching and develop a better connection with colors.

It’s good to compare the original painting (the reject) to your improvements. As you see them side-by-side it’s clear if the changes are making an impact.

how to improve from your mistakes
Quick watercolor sketching to fix issues
tips for improving watercolor paintings
Quick figure sketches to work out some muddiness and hectic brushwork

Putting it all back together again

Now that I’ve done some work to address the issues I can take a second attempt at the painting.

Obviously I will employ the fixes that I learned in the previous three steps but keep it loose as I complete the painting. No need to tighten up 🙂

It’s good to compare the original painting (the reject) to your improvements. As you see them side-by-side it’s clear if the changes are making an impact.

Learning From Mistakes - Skills For Developing Quality Artwork
The end result is a much better painting
side-by-side-comparison
Side-by-side-comparison

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