The Complete Beginner's Guide to Watercolor

jenna rainey

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I’m an artist, self-taught designer, and multi-faceted creative entrepreneur who is hell-bent on teaching everyone how to find their inner creative voice.

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"I'm undeniable proof the 'Starving Artist' narrative is made to be broken."



It’s like Netflix-binging Bob Ross videos, but with a dose of dry + quirky humor and fewer happy little tree references. 

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The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Watercolor

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Looking for a complete, step-by-step watercolor video course for beginners? You’ve come to the right place.

I used to teach popular in-person watercolor workshops for over 8 years. And now, I’m taking you through one of those classes in this free video! You’ll learn everything from supplies to color theory, basic shapes and strokes, brush techniques, and compound strokes. Then, the grand finale will be a full composition floral wreath to tie it all together.

For the full YouTube playlist of all the chapters broken down into individual videos, go here.

Let’s dive in!


Music license acquired from Artlist


Beginner Guide to Watercolor Contents

00:00 – What this video covers and an FYI


00:50 – Let’s talk supplies!
01:39 – Explaining my palette (extra colors than what’s listed?)
02:38 – Colors I use, how I organize them, pro vs. student levels
10:11 – Brushes I use: brand, sizes, quality.
11:21 – How these brushes are made (HIGH quality!)
13:36 – What I use different brushes for.
14:37 – Talking paper.
14:49 – Cold press or hot press?
16:24 – Cotton? GSM? Block vs. Pad?
18:38 – Paper brands: Legion vs. Arches vs. Fabriano
19:25 – Other necessary supplies…


20:08 – Now for color theory.
21:48 – Important lesson from my piano teacher.
23:04 – What to learn from color wheel.
25:14 – Color relationships and why this matters.
29:17 – Analogous colors.
31:58 – Warm colors and cool colors.
34:17 – Get your brushes out as we talk VALUE scales!
37:42 – Practicing and chatting HUE scales.


40:05 – Two techniques to must know: WOW and WOD
41:29 – Three ways to use Wet-on-Wet
48:26 – Using Wet-on-Dry
49:23 – Brush technique practice with circle painting.
51:02 – How you hold your brush changes outcome.
52:23 – Circle painting begins!
55:24 – Tip for shaky hands!
01:00:02 – Find the hold that feels right!
01:01:34 – Focusing on painting quickly.


01:02:22 – COMPOUND strokes.
01:03:24 – Painting leaves with compound strokes.
01:08:41 – If you’re struggling, try longer leaves…
01:10:06 – Putting leaves on a branch.
01:13:38 – What to do with puddles at ends of leaves.
01:15:44 – Muscle memory and wonky stems.


01:18:47 – Painting side-facing basic flower.
01:20:56 – Adding stem to the flower.
01:22:50 – THIS makes it look like a flower.
01:23:37 – Basic open flower.
01:26:06 – Biggest mistake when people paint flowers.


01:27:46 – Putting everything together: full floral wreath
01:29:47 – Composition lesson: balance.
01:31:45 – Sketch before?
01:38:19 – Step back and look…
01:39:28 – Take note as you paint.
01:42:43 – These are easy and help with balance…
01:45:32 – How I am able to paint quickly…
01:46:57 – Final (important!) encouragements.
01:49:01 – Final details to the wreath.
01:49:53 – Further resources to continue learning.


Links & Freebies

Free Color Wheel Guide
Get access to my list of favorite art supplies and business tools here.
My Spotify painting playlist
My Floral Watercolor E-book 


Related videos

How to Set Up a Watercolor Palette
Watercolor Techniques: Wet-on-Wet
Watercolor Techniques: Wet-on-Dry
10 Tips to Improve Your Watercolor

… and for even more tutorials, subscribe to my YouTube channel!


Patreon Community

Join my Patreon community! You have a variety of fun options to choose from like:

  • Watch my YouTube tutorials ad-free
  • Get early access to the tutorials before they’re released on YouTube
  • Patreon-exclusive tutorials

Head on over to Patreon to get all the juicy details.

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  1. Amy says:

    Wow, an excellent class packed with a ton of information! Loved it – thanks for sharing so generously.

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