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  • Writer's pictureQinghong Wei, PhD

Watercolor Tips for Oil/Acrylic Painters

When I teach watercolor painting, I notice many of the artists come from the background in acrylic or oils. It is so wonderful to explore various mediums. While many painting theories about values, colors, composition etc. still apply, the medium is very different. So I thought to offer the following for you to try out, if you are an oil or acrylic artist who are transitioning into watercolor. Here they go.


  • Instead of using more paints, try using more water. For me, I notice that ratio wise, I definitely use more water than pigments in my painting. Water is the real magic ingredient in watercolor painting. It helps the pigments flow, mingle and shine.

  • Instead of mixing your colors on the palette, try to mix the colors right on the paper. You can start with a basic color and then drop in other colors to create variations.

  • Instead of pushing your brush towards the paper, lay your brush very lightly on the paper. That will allow time for the pigments to do their magic with water.

  • Instead of covering up all the paper, know that the white paper itself is luminous and beautiful. Try to skip some places so the painting can breathe. Also you don't have to have a painted background. Sometimes the white paper is already a wonderful background.

  • Instead of you yourself make all the magic happen in the painting, allow watercolor to show her magic and you sit back and watch. To do so you will want to spend more time just playing with water and pigments without trying to paint anything particular.


Hope this might help a little bit! Check out this video on my YouTube channel that explains more about the brushwork with demos. Happy painting and splashing!



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