We All Begin Somewhere: Learning to Watercolor

May 22, 2015

Before 2015, I thought watercolor was the hardest medium. I never really worked with it and didn't play with it much.


After creating dozens of cartoons in October and November of 2014, I wasn't satisfied with how my cartoons looked with colored pencil and/or marker. I started experimenting with watercolor for each of my weekly themes of art. Here is one of my first watercolor cartoons:


Over the weeks, I kept experimenting and developing my skills. Look at the difference between my turtle and a watercolor I made just three months later:


I feel my skills improved immensely and continue to improve.


Watercolor is now my favorite medium for cartooning! I am also using it as my primary medium for the upcoming books "Ten Tiny Piggies" and "Grief Sucks." 


As I've been working on the book, "Ten Tiny Piggies," I've realized that I don't really know how to paint backgrounds or landscapes with watercolor. I've only ever done characters. All of my landscape work is usually in acrylic.


Thus, I chose "Watercolor Landscapes" as one of my weekly themes to force myself to practice. 


This week, I sat down for three hours to work on three separate watercolor landscapes. I referenced a book that my Auntie Rita's friend gave me about watercolor techniques. 


Without further ado, here was my first attempt:

My first thought, "It's a lot harder than I thought it'd be!" This was especially apparent when I tried to do a waterfall:


It's embarassingly simple, but we all have to start somewhere!


When I sat down to create a sunset scene, I thought it would be a piece of cake. I consider sunsets to be one of my best skills in acrylic painting.


This painting is decent, but nowhere what I imagined it would be in my head! My watercolor landscapes are proof that no matter how much "talent" you have, it takes time and effort to learn and perfect a skill.


For those of you learning to paint or thinking about beginning, please know that the best thing you can do is just start! It can be scary, intimidating, and embarassing (I've felt all of those), but you have to begin if you ever want to improve.

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