First attempt at water colour



  • ![Hey everyone, I haven’t been frequenting the forums as much as I should be as of late (partially because I get overwhelmed navigating and knowing where to start?) but I would like to make more of an effort to hopefully build more of a support group so to speak. I’ve been feverishly working daily for the past couple years to build my craft up to where I want it to be (and will probably be doing this the rest of my life lol) but I don’t have any local connections to people in the art community so I think I need to make this SVS forum more of my family.

    Anyway, my wife just turned 34 the other day and I thought I would try my hand at a portrait of her done in watercolour. It didn’t turn out great but it was a fun start. I’d love any feedback you can provide (both good and constructive please as I would like to improve). Let me know what you think! Thanks:)

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  • I think this a great start! You captured an engaging expression and it looks quite lovely overall. I have 3 critiques-

    1. The left side of the forehead is breaking the shadow and saturation structure you have going on in the rest of the face, and is a little distracting. I think you went a bit too dark and saturated in this area.

    2. Right now there's a very hard delineation between the skin and the hairline, and I think it could be transitioned with more care.

    3. I think you could have included just a tiny bit of the shoulders and slight indication of her shirt, to balance out the weight of the head.

    Overall you should be very proud! It doesn't look like a first attempt at water color at all.


  • SVS OG

    This is a great start in watercolor. Good job



  • @TessaW thanks for the feedback!

    I agree 100% with all three points. The forehead shading got away from me as I ran out of the colour I was initially using and tried to mix more but totally botched the colour and didn’t notice until afterward - it bugs the heck out of me! Haha.

    As for the hard line from the forehead to the hair and adding in some shoulder and shirt to balance it out, I never thought of that but love the suggestion.

    Thanks for taking the time to offer some help:)



  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz thank you!



  • This is a great portrait! A tip I always got when I first started with watercolor was to water the colors down, and layer (a lot). What I can see from your piece are areas where the watercolors feels like its been treated as if it were acrylic paint, where it's all one value without any of those watercolor blooms (the hair). Applying the watercolor wet on wet will give you some more of those nice watercolor effects that are only possible in the medium, so it might be helpful to play around with color and notice how the bloom in water on different applications. And also just start light and gradually layer on more color. This helps you from getting too dark too quickly, even though it does take a little longer because you're waiting for paint to dry. I hope you'll continue creating more watercolor paintings!



  • @Alicja-W thank you so much, that’s great advice. The funny thing is, with the little water colour (or painting in general) knowledge I have, I did think to myself ‘Ok, lots of layers’ haha but I obviously didn’t do it quite right. The point about watering down my paints more is great and I didn’t really give myself enough time to be able to paint, let it dry some, add another layer, and then repeat. I will definitely try that next time. Thanks again for taking a minute to lend a helping hand, I really appreciate it.



  • @Gorillo
    No problem! Best of luck on your future paintings! 🙂


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