Painting - My 5 top tips to improve your painting instantly.
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Painting - My 5 top tips to improve your painting instantly.

I consider these the most valuable lessons you will learn when painting with watercolours. See your work transformed.
4.5 (30 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
780 students enrolled
Last updated 4/2017
Current price: $12 Original price: $45 Discount: 73% off
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  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 3 Articles
  • 2 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion

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What Will I Learn?
  • understand the process of planning the most attractive composition for any given subject
  • understand the importance of colour values and how to use them
  • understand and take advantage of the ability to make changes following mistakes
  • understand how to create a harmonious apperance with the selection of their colours
  • understand and be able to benefit from the use of simple perspective to bring a touch of reality to their work
  • after taking this short course students will have the best and basic advice to kick start their painting adventure
  • after taking this short course students who already paint will be able to significantly raise the standard of their work
View Curriculum
  • Students should already be familiar with watercolour paints.
  • Students will need to have a sketchbook pencil and eraser for planning.
  • They will need watercolour paper, paints, a selection of brushes, jars for water and some absorbent kitchen towel

Course updated and expanded November 2016

This course is a MUST for anyone interested in improving their watercolour paintings.

* An absolute beginner? This will give to some basic guidelines to create solid foundations to help you get into good habits right from the start.

* Already painting but think your pictures lack 'something?' This might be just what you're looking for to lift the standard of your work and make your paintings stand out from the rest. It's easy to get in a rut and use the same methods time after time. This course will help you step outside your comfort zone.

This concise course will clearly define FIVE areas that will really change the quality of your work. My experience shows me that If you go through this mental 'check list' every time you work on a painting, you will see some dramatic improvements .

Look over my shoulder as I take you through each of these crucial elements in watercolour painting. Each lecture is a complete video demonstration with full supporting notes and resources where required.

I am here to help you build your confidence and knowledge so you can get as much as you can from this rewarding pass time.

Enjoy your painting, Nicola

If, however, you don't enjoy it and are not happy you can claim a full refund within 30 days. No questions asked.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course will benefit anyone who has just started to paint with watercolours
  • This course will really help the painter who feels they are stuck or their work seem flat or dull.
Compare to Other Watercolor Painting Courses
Curriculum For This Course
How to find your way around this Udemy course
1 Lecture 00:00
Where to find your downloads, ask questions etc
3 pages
An introduction
1 Lecture 01:49

Here is a further explanation that should help you understand how to view this course.

I have included a document with further information in the resources.

Preview 01:49
Let's begin.
8 Lectures 35:40

You don't always have to paint exactly what you see. That's why we have something called 'artist's licence'

Planning your the composition of your painting is one of the first things you need to consider. I often suggest to my students that they 'start with the end in mind'. In other words, imagine how you want it to look when it's mounted and framed and on the wall. Then work backwards.

You don't always have to position the subject matter bang in the middle of the painting, sometimes your picture will be more 'eye catching' and have more impact if you place the subject off centre, or look at it from an unusual angle.

Your chosen composition might also result from what you consider to be the most important or interesting part of the subject. You might want to zoom in on a certain area, or crop the the photo you are working from.

So it's worth spending a lot of time considering the part of the painting before you even pick up a paint brush.

I often do lots of small sketches (thumb nail sketches ), both landscape and portrait, before I decide what I think will be the most satisfying. By this I mean what will please the person looking at the picture and, that brings out the aspects which motivated me to paint it in the first place.

This video will take you through my thinking and planning processes and I'm sure if you use some of the ideas you will be pleased with the results. No longer will your compositions look predictable.

Preview 08:13

So what do I mean by harmony when it comes to colours ?

I mean 'cohesion' getting a mixture of colours that play together nicely in your painting pleasing the eye.

The noun : the act or state of cohering, uniting, or sticking together.

But I also like the definition pertaining to a botanical reference is the one I also like 'the congenital union of one part with another'.

So with the above in mind the next video will demonstrate how to use your colours so that the end result is pleasing, has impact but also flows and is comfortable to look at.

I will show you examples of a good outcome and a not so good outcome, but remember, 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder' and we all see things differently.

I hope it helps to shed light on this area which some can find quite bewildering.

HARMONY - getting your colours to play together nicely and have cohesion.

Yes my child, you can make changes, you just need to know what you are dealing with.

This is one of the biggest reasons that a lot of people don't start painting with watercolours. They think that if they make a mistake they can't fix. Well I have news for you can as long as you know what you are dealing with.

It's all a question of understanding how your paints work, such as how strongly they stain. Some are stronger than other.

My video demonstration will show you a way of finding out bout the staining ability of your paints and also how successfully you can lift some paints out or diesguise any mistakes which cannot be rectified.

ALTERATIONS - making changes or fixing mistakes, trust me, you can.

One of the many definitions of the word is as follows; ' the theory or art of suggesting three dimensions on a two-dimensional surface, in order to recreate the appearance and spatial relationships that objects or a scene in recession present to the eye'

We also use the word when you refer to a point of view, and that is exactly what it is when it comes to art. The perspective you draw or paint depends on your viewing point

Many people find perspective scary, but it needn't be if you follow a few simple rules, and it can really make a difference to any painting, no matter what the subject matter might be.

We live with it everyday, but seldom stop to think about it. There's no need to go into too much detail unless you want to become a technical artist or architect, so fear not, I will keep it simple, enough to help you make the difference which will make the difference to your paintings.

In this video I will demonstrate a few simple rules that will help to bring you paintings to life no matter what the subject matter may be and give you confidence to tray more complex compositions.

The book I mention, which I think is excellent is 'The Artist's Guide to Perspective' by Janet Shearer.

I have put a few photos taken from the book to further explain, the vanishing point, the picture plane ( frame ) and the horizon. I hope that helps

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER when you have established how you are looking at your subject to be consistent throughout.


I have done this second video in order to further explain about being consistent with your perspective. In other words are looking down or up on the subject and check that you apply the same 'view' point through out the painting ?

More explanations about PERSPECTIVE

There are two main things to remember here:

1) Have a consistent light source, when it comes to creating shadows.


2) Don't be afraid of the dark shades when you are painting shadows.

A student will sometimes complain that their painting looks a little flat and unrealistic.

This can often be remedied by creating more contrast between the light and dark areas. It's what is referred to as 'colour values'. In other words how much or little water you mix with your paints. This is particularly important when painting shadows. It is also very important to make sure that they are all painted on the same side.

Here I will demonstrate how to place your shadows and the difference a good strong shadow can make in the overall appearance of a painting.

I will also show you how to create graduated shading.

SHADOWS - and shading, don't be afraid of the dark

The following tips may sound simple, but then again, I don't know what you know, do I ?

Happy Painting

Common Sense really...but just in case....

The Five Elements.
3 questions
A few of Nicola's Top Tips
6 Lectures 13:04

In response to student comments I have filmed this video, which I hope will help you with drawing and painting shadows.

Identify the light source and be consistent - that's the key

The secret of creating shadows - be consistant

If you have a mount or matt beyond salvation, cut it in two and use it to look at you work in progress. It helps you take a more objective view.

It will help you not only decide how you might want to frame it, but also to check for any changes you might want to make to the composition or colour values.

Using an adjustable mount to study your painting

Apart from cutting such a mount in two to use as an adjustable mount to look at your paintings, if it's slightly marked or has more serious are a few ideas to help revive it rather than discard it

How to salvage a damaged mount

This will also work for other tubes....toothpaste, tomato paste etc.

How to get the paint back in the tube, honestly !

A fun wordsearch puzzle if you want an 'arty' distraction.


Curved objects.
About the Instructor
Nicola A Blakemore
4.6 Average rating
394 Reviews
9,152 Students
19 Courses
Professional Artist, Teacher and Creative Entrepreneur

Why choose one of my courses?

Because, as a self taught artist I understand how a lot of people feel about their creative work, sometimes anxious, sometimes overwhelmed and often that it's not 'good enough'.

Well I will hold your hand as you overcome these fears as I offer a friendly, relaxed and sensitive teaching style.

Do one of my courses and you will feel as if I am in the room with you every step of the way.

Here's a bit about me.

I originally trained as a graphic artist, and then followed a different career path working in the national media, travel and public relations in both London and Paris.

After sometime I returned to my creative roots full time, so to speak, and became a full time artist, teacher and creative entrepreneur.

The artist bit means I have worked in a variety of media, but am currently splashing about with watercolours. I love the magic they make when the pigments play with the water. And if you let them do their own thing, it's even better.

I have also painted murals in a child's bedroom or around a swimming pool, covering everything from fairies to Tuscan views. Painted furniture with decorative effects and designs and given walls specialist paint effects and stencils. All fun stuff for the discerning home owner

The teaching bit involved me teaching a 'Decorative Paint Effects' section of an interior design certificate course at Kidderminster College, Worcestershire, UK. Here they studied paint effects for walls and furniture, designing and cutting stencils, Period design elements and produced sample boards.

Then continuing the theme of teaching I have also tutored on many private workshops in the above subjects plus decoupage, gilding and trompe l'oeil (trick the eye painting).

Now, installed in the south of France I continue with all of the above but adding on-line courses to my creative portfolio. Flexibility is the name of the game in today's world

I have exhibited widely in the area.

Recently I was invited to plan and teach a creative summer school, offering a variety of artistic subjects, at one of the leading camping venues in the area. So, you never know some of these subjects might pop up as one of my courses on Udemy

I have had work featured in a national 'lifestyle' magazine and on BBC Radio 4 and Central TV in the UK