Watercolor Jumpstart

Watercolor Jumpstart Free Online Beginner Watercolor Class

Watercolor Jumpstart is my free online beginner watercolor class. Learn basic watercolor materials, terminology and skills in 6 fun little projects.

Watercolor Jumpstart is right for you if—

  • you've never tried watercolor before
  • you've dabbled a little with friends or in a class once upon a time, but don't feel ready to start painting on your own
  • you tried to learn from a book or video, but would have liked to see demonstrations of the techniques
  • you've tried some watercolor but would like an organized review of the fundamentals

Each project in Watercolor Jumpstart is carefully designed to introduce specific fundamental watercolor skills—and to avoid frustrating complications—so you can move forward in manageable steps. Completing all 6 projects gives you an introduction to the basics of watercolor and enough hands-on experience to successfully continue learning from books, videos and friends. Click on the project image to go to the project page with all the templates, instructions and skill lessons for the project.

The projects are intended to be done in order. If you have some experience, feel free to start in the middle–just keep in mind that skill lessons in an earlier project are there to help you if you run into trouble.

Getting Started

If you are brand-new to watercolor, or just want some help getting ready to work on the projects, start with these preliminary lessons.

A Word about Expectations and Practice

Watercolor is like learning a musical instrument—it takes practice! Or, as I like to say, "you gotta put mileage on the brush!"

If you've ever played a musical instrument, you know the first time you read through a piece of music, it doesn't sound all that great. You're fumbling around with the tougher passages. You mess up the timing. But that's okay; the first time through is just to get the general idea. It takes practice to play a piece well! The same is true for painting.

Serious musicians reach a point where they can sight-read and improvise. Serious painters reach a point where they can (sometimes) produce a credible painting on the first go.  But that takes a LOT of practice, so please be fair to yourself in your expectations. Keep practicing, cultivate a spirit of fun and curiosity, and you'll probably surprise yourself.

If you're not happy with your first attempt at a project, that's normal. Just give it another try! All the class exercises and project demonstrations are provided for you here to practice. So grab your supplies and put some mileage on your brush!

Oh, and, by the way, there are lots of possible ways to approach watercolor. If this doesn't look exactly like what another instructor has shown you, it doesn't mean one way or the other is wrong. Try lots of things and keep the ones that work for you. If something isn't working at first, sometimes it will click later on when you've had more practice. Ultimately, YOU are the one who has to decide which methods fit your personality and the look you want to achieve.