Watercolor & InkLine & Wash with Watercolor

If you are just starting out on your journey to find your “art happy” and awaken your creative side, you are probably overwhelmed with all the choices. There are so many mediums and so many techniques that it can be hard to sift through all the options so that you can find the one that is right for you. For me, the path was long and winding. I’ve tried everything, from traditional drawing and painting techniques with watercolor, acrylic and oil painting, to photography, pottery, paper-making and stained glass.  In the end I landed back where I started (as a child!): watercolor.


Lately the cliche “Less is More” has been ringing true for practically all aspects of my life, and I have rediscovered my love of drawing and painting with ink and watercolor. There are so many reasons for my renewed romance with these two mediums, individually and in combination, and rather than grow bored with them I am finding that I am growing more and more in love with them every day. Because I recognize that many people are a little fearful of the idea of starting with watercolors, I have decided that rather than focus on all the reasons there are to love this medium, I am first going to address all the reasons you should not hate and fear it.

Watercolors are translucent and this, in my opinion, is one of the properties that makes them so beautiful. Unfortunately, it’s this same property that makes them intimidating; “Mistakes” can’t be hidden under new layers like they can with opaque paints like acrylics and oils. If this is your fear, or if it’s just that you’ve tried and failed to make frame-worthy art with watercolors in the past, then I’d like to encourage you to give it another shot. What most people don’t know is that watercolors are extremely forgiving and even beginners can achieve beautiful results- as long as they know the secrets.


  1. Choose your materials wisely

If you are working with the wrong materials, you will end up frustrated and discouraged. You don’t need the most expensive paints, brushes and papers but you do need to avoid the wrong ones.

2. Let go of the fear

Begin with baby steps. Don’t set out to paint a portrait of your aunt Sally on your first attempt. Start with small, fun activities and work in a journal where your art can be for your eyes only until you are ready to share it with others.

3. Follow a few simple techniques

Little changes, things like adjusting how your hold your brush and how to mix and lift paint, can have a huge impact.

4. Relax!

Learn to let go! One of the advantages of combining watercolor with ink is that an ink sketch (even a loose and expressive one) can provide all the details your art needs. This gives you the freedom to be more expressive with your brushstrokes. Once you try this you’ll be amazed to see the medium will do most of the work for you. Even more importantly, you will be amazed at how stress-free and enjoyable art-making can be.


I am working on a free Kickstart Your Art program in which I will be sharing my watercolor secrets and including easy activities to build you confidence and skill in watercolor and ink.  If this sounds like something you think you would enjoy, I would love to share it with you! Subscribe using the form provided, and I will let me know as soon as it is available.