What I learned about watercolor painting over the last few pet portraits that I’ve done:
- Take time planning out your painting. Think about composition, background, palette, etc. It’s easy to get lazy with the preparations when you have a good photo already available as reference. But even the best photo often should only be good for a guide. Decisions regarding highlights and shadows, and what to leave in and what to edit out still need to be made by the artist
- Take your time getting the sketch right. Especially if you are aiming for something close to photorealism, you want to make sure that the underlying pencil sketch is accurate. After that, coloring in the piece becomes so much more easy.
- Don’t paint too light. Something I still tend to forget is that watercolor dries much lighter than when you first put it on paper. I have to learn to be bolder with the colors so that I don’t lose vibrancy and saturation when the paint dries.
Watch a timelapse video of the painting process below: