BEGINNERS Watercolor. Get clear on the basics and just paint
4.4 (2,315 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
15,156 students enrolled

BEGINNERS Watercolor. Get clear on the basics and just paint

Painting in watercolor? Start with the real BASICS. Play, learn, gain understanding & confidence as you play & paint.
4.4 (2,315 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
15,156 students enrolled
Last updated 5/2020
English [Auto], French [Auto], 1 more
  • Italian [Auto]
Current price: $69.99 Original price: $99.99 Discount: 30% off
23 hours left at this price!
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This course includes
  • 4 hours on-demand video
  • 11 articles
  • 32 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Students will learn how watercolor paints work with the water and so how to use them effectively.
  • Students will learn and understand the principle of a color wash.
  • Students will learn how layers of washes of the same color can create shape and shading.
  • Students will be able to watercolor paint a three dimensional object.
  • Learn how to create highlights and shadows in watercolor paints.
  • Through repetition the student will gain confidence with this medium.
  • Start at the very beginning and understand the basics of color mixing.
  • Black ink pen or felt tip, 2B pencil, eraser.
  • A box of water watercolor paints, according to your budget.
  • Two jam jars to hold water. One for cleaning the brush and one for mixing colors. Some absorbent kitchen paper
  • A round paint brush, size between 7 to 10.
  • Some watercolor paper as thick as you can afford. 300g or 140 lbs is the best.
  • A clear or white wax candle or crayon.
  • You will need to have an open mind. and be able to trust yourself and just play.



'I loved the fact that your lessons were truly created with basics in mind! I have been painting on my own, or with some occasional lessons for a few years. I now feel more confident with the fundamentals which I had not been sure of before. thank you' Lorraine Sargent

If you've always wanted to paint with watercolor paints just do not know where to start. This course is for YOU.

This may be mostly suitable for adults.

Why? Because as adults you collect limiting beliefs about what you can and can't do. Painting might be one of them.

This is a 'learn through play' course and is very basic  You will simply learn how to get the paint from the box via the brush and onto the paper.

You will paint an apple three times but in different ways so that you can escape the draw and colour in method you learnt as a child.

If you want to make a start to paint without feeling intimidated by the paints, the process or the expectations. By simply playing with your paints, coloring in simple shapes your understanding will grow as will your confidence.

DO NOT take this course if you need a formal structure and are not prepared to lean through play. I will not talk about the names of colours, colour mixing, composition or drawing. It is just to get you started.

If you have already been painting with watercolors, this course is not for you.

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

    I also have years of experience of teaching people of all levels both in person and via the internet.

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

Enjoy your painting, love Nicola

This is what one student posted in her blog : - 'I was so surprised to find that she (Nicola) started very simply, just playing with water and unmixed colors of paint. Slowly a beautiful patchwork of designs appeared on her page. Where boundaries and boundaries in the art have been blurred, she went to a pen and neatened up. Something else to add to the designs and to add some swirls and triangles to the dried paint. With growing excitement I realized that this project was well within my comfort zone. ' 

Who this course is for:
  • Anyone who wants to learn to paint with watercolor paints.
  • This is for people who have the gear, but have no idea.
  • For those who have had a go but got lost in the process.
  • It is perfect for those who feel intimidated by the paints and think they are not going to be good enough.
  • This is for everyone who wishes to explore their creativity with watercolor paints.
  • It is for anyone who wishes to reduce their stress levels.
Course content
Expand all 56 lectures 04:03:23
+ How to find your way around this Udemy course
1 lecture 04:06

NOW WITH SUBTITLES ( look for the little square box at the bottom right hand corner of the video )

Make sure you read the helpful information you can find in the Student Support section on Udemy. Below is the link to take you there. I have also added a simple guide to get you started.

Preview 04:06
+ Follow one step at a time and enjoy learning to paint, I'll show you how.
5 lectures 18:47

So you think you can't paint? Let me explain how you can and how you can lay the foundations for a rewarding pass time with one step at a time.

Preview 02:07

If you aren't sure if this course is for you, read what someone else said about this course.

Preview 02:36

You only need a basic box of watercolor paints, a brush and some paper. 

Where to get your supplies depends where you live. If you don't have an art supplies store near by, there are plenty of alternatives via the internet. See contents of Lecture 52.


You will also find it helpful to have a wax candle, which we will use later on, some watercolor pencils and some masking fluid all of which can be obtained by your art supplier.


See the PDFs to give you more information about paper and paints.

Preview 05:44

A student said they were having a problem with getting enough water and colour from the dry paints. I have therefore added this short film just in case anyone else is problems.

Preview 05:19

I have made this short video in answer to a student's question.

How much water and how much paint
+ Let's Start
3 lectures 07:21

This is the first of nine videos which take you from making your very first marks through to the colorful finish. Anyone can do it. Put aside any preconceived ideas about what 'art and painting' is supposed to be and enjoy yourself.

Start by Drawing a Very Simple Frame

Now this becomes more fun as you start colouring in.

Preview 03:08

Just go with the flow and do what ever YOU want.

This is just playing, no expectations, just make marks with your brushes and let the colours and the water do what ever THEY want to do. Don't try to control them too much.

Paint What comes into Your Head
+ Some ideas to make your painting more interesting.
3 lectures 11:24

You decide what marks and shapes you want to make. 

There are NO RULES, yes you read right NO RULES

Get Creative

Keep on playing, you'll know when it reaches the 'finished' stage. It only matters that you like it and enjoyed doing it.


Different pictures

You Decide when it's Finished - not me, not your partner, you do

Here are a few ideas for the marks you can make.


The article.

Doodling or Meditation ?
+ Now Create your First Painting - it's playtime.
9 lectures 39:41

By playing with your paints on your postcards, you have already been layering and mixing colours  without  thinking about. Now we are going to take it a step further and look at mixing different shades of greens, using what ever yellows, blues and greens you have in your paint box.

Make a little colour chart on a spare bit of paper and keep it as a handy reference.


Yellow Cadmium light and deep.

Ultrmarine and cobalt blue.


Colour chart plan

Preview 05:25

This short video will show you how to get started on creating your first painting, of an apple. Starting as we did with the postcard, making the outlines.


Photo of the apple

Breakdown of tines in a line drawing

Apple with tone.

Let's start at the beginning - A is for Apple

This is all you have to do, take your time and follow me.

Preview 04:03

Here we will add more color to the apple by adjusting the colour of the green and we will also cross hatch for the shadow.

Adding Depth of Colour and the Shadow

I hope you are impressed with what you have achieved. From simply making marks, filling shapes with colors you have now completed your first painting of an object. Congratulations, and may it spur you on to do more.


   I have added this lecture in response to a comment that it would be nice to see me do a painting without the heavy pen outline as in the painting of the apricot in Lecture 15.

   So,I have done the apple again, like the other one, but also with a painted shadow rather than a cross hatched pen shadow. The painting is in three videos, here and also lectures 17 and 18.

The process of painting this again will help you enormously in understanding how your paints work.

  I will post another lecture shortly, with more fruit idea using different techniques, eventually enabling you to follow me painting a still life.


Picture of the second apple

Now sketch the apple first - video 1

'A' is for apple and you may think this is too simple, but you will learn a lot and it will give you a good grounding as you learn more.

First draw the simple shape of an apple then:

* Learn how to mix the correct green.

* See how easy it is to create highlights.

* Paint realistic shadows.

* Make your painting look three dimensional.

Finally add the touches to make you want to pick it up and bite into it.

Continue with the painting - video 2

From drawing a simple shape of the apple, then go on to paint it and make it look real enough to puck up an bite into,

I couldn't find the little painting of the apricot, sorry.

Continue with the painting - video 3

If anything on this list isn't clear to you, just get in touch.

So what have you discovered?
+ In answer to students questions - For those who had trouble with the apple
3 lectures 22:25

I have added these videos for those who posted that they were having trouble getting the effect they wanted.

I have specifically commented on certain things such as blending and paper problems.

REMEMBER : Different makes of paints and different paper will all give you different results, just keep practising and you'll be fine


Adding more colour.

+ Let's Paint MORE Fruit - because it's fairly easy.
5 lectures 35:17

NEW IMPROVED VIDEO uploaded August 18 2015

One of my favourite fruits to paint. Why? Because they come in lots of different colours and are fun and super EASY to paint. Such fun you will not be able to stop !

Here I demonstrate and create a composition as a stand alone painting.

I've uploaded lots of my cherry paintings, most of which I have sold. Take look at them to get ideas for adding cherries to your fruit still life or just making a painting of them on their own. What ever, have fun and keep learning


Different painting of cherries.

Cherries part 1

I would like to apologise for the tripod leg you can see in the video.

Trying mixing different shades of red with whatever you have in you paintbox, using different reds and blues.

Cherries part 2

Just keep playing with different colors and maybe with more or less water in the mix. Play around with the shadows too.

I have added the final picture in the resource section and I hope you will let me see your finished painting.


The painting.

Cherries part 3

Have another go, and you'll get better and better.

Cherries part 4

  So you have already painted an apple and some cherries, now you are going to add a lemon to your fruit salad. You will learn a useful technique called 'using a resist'.

When painting these sort of fruits use the texture of the paper and also dab off with some paper towel in places which will also add texture.


Painting of orange and lemon.

+ Let's paint a bowl to put the fruit in
6 lectures 34:12

With this lecture you are really starting to move on with your learning. Not only will you endorse the learning you have had about painting something to look three dimensional, you will also learn ANOTHER technique, spattering with a toothbrush through a stencil.

Create the bowl - part 1

EXTRA TECHNIQUE - pattering through a stencil

This is where you can add a pattern to your bowl by using a special effect with a stencil and an old toothbrush.

You will find this very useful in many circumstances. Make sure you mix a lot of paint and don't make it to thin or watery.

Create the bowl - part 2 give it a pattern

This video shows you exactly how I go about doing this. It illustrates a thinking process and way of working which will make it easier to draw any object and make it look believable in relationship to other objects. For example as in a still life.


A tracing to help you.

How to imagine and draw the fruit in the bowl

If you are not sure about doing this, just get a bowl and put some fruit in it and look carefully at how the pieces sit in the bowl and the shadows they create.

Painting the fruit in the bowl - part 1

As always, start off painting with very thin, pale colors.


Picture of the painting.

Painting the fruit in the bowl - part 2

Gradually adding more colour and shadows.

If you regard this as just a 'practice' piece, or a watercolor sketch, you immediately take away any pressure or expectations, so the task is without stress and more fun. And when you are having fun, you are more likely to learn.


The watercolour sketch

Painting the fruit in the bowl - part 3
+ Paint your own GREETING CARDS
9 lectures 33:50

I know not all of my students will have the need for Christmas cards, but with the December 25 not being far away it seems a good starting point.

Don't forget there are plenty of other times when you might want to send a greeting card. This lecture will also give you ideas about producing them.

Preview 03:04


Picture of the painting

Christmas Card Idea - Fir Trees
Other Christmas card ideas.

For those of you who celebrate this festival, here is an idea for a greeting card to send. With a few changes you could turn it into a Halloween card as well. I'll leave that to your imagination.


Painting of the finished card

Thanksgiving card idea - part one

Let the paint dry and then come back to do a bit more. If you wanted to paint more than one at a time, place tham in a line and work each stage on one after the other. A simple production line.

Thanksgiving card idea - part two


A photo of the painting.

The finished Thanksgiving card idea - part three

Paint this simple little snowman, sitting in the snow set against a winter sky and falling snow.

You will need some masking fluid to do this one.


The finished painting

Snowman - part one
Snowman - part two
Snowman - part three
+ Start to build your knowledge about watercolour painting
8 lectures 31:02

Well of course you know about this !

But it's always good to remind ourselves of the basics from time to time.

So do this next little postcard and play around with as many blues and reds as you have in your paint box and write the names beside each one to remind you and add the page you you reference collection. Or shall we start calling it a portfolio.

What are Primary Colors Nicola? Reds and blues

You know this really, but here it is to make sure.

What are Primary Colors Nicola? Reds and yellows

Work your way through your paint box or tubes by making this chart to see how intense a pigment can be and how light you can make it.

Remember the more water you add the paler the color, and this is where you can bring more impact to your work. We call these differences 'colour values', see Lecture 33.

I explain it to my students by relating to the weather. 'You would not appreciate the sunny days if you didn't have the damp and dark days.' You need to have intense or dark colors on your painting so they we show up the light areas. Such as the way we would want to paint shadows to show there is sunshine.

How light and how dark can you get your colours ?

This is something that will come in useful later on as you become more accomplished with your painting. But if you are an absolute beginner, it's good to be aware of it now.

You may already have discovered this to an extent when you were painting your postcards.

Enjoy seeing what happens and post your findings if you wish

Resource: A photo of my chart

How translucent and staining are your colors/pigments

As I continue to help you build your knowledge about painting here I am adding a short film to show you some of the scenery where I live and to ask you to consider, if you were going to do a painting of the view, how would you go about it.

We have been using still life so far as your learning subject matter, now consider something different. Take a look at this and see what ideas occur to you.

What would be your composition?

What colours would you select?

How would you plan the painting process?

What special painting effects and techniques might you choose?

These are all question you can ask yourself when ever you look at any subject.

Enjoy the view and if you decide to paint a picture don't forget to share it.

Learn to look as well as to paint

In response to a student's question I have uploaded this document to tell you something about the marvellous paper.

Build your knowledge about all things to do with watercolour painting

Extra resources from me to you as advised by the clever people at Udemy.

Enjoy your painting, thanks Nicola

BONUS LECTURE- special offers just for you.

Some background.