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3 Common Watercolor Mistakes


Just like in your life journey, during your art journey, you will make a lot of mistakes. Some of them are common watercolor mistakes 

I am the biggest mistake maker in the whole world HA! But that’s what helps you learn and grow.

In this blog post, I’m sharing 3 mistakes that I’ve learnt to avoid but guess what?! I’m the one who hates being told what to do. I want to make mistakes, I want to learn the hard way. And I highly encourage you to try them all and see for yourself what happens.

I think the hardest part in all of this is not fixing a mistake but rather not letting it put you down. Everything happens for a reason, right? Anyway here are the 3 mistakes I avoid while painting:



White watercolour is totally useless, in my opinion, unless you are painting on coloured paper.

I love watercolour for its transparency. You can add layers and layers, and you can create light and shadow thanks to that.

White watercolour is opaque. It’s more like gouache and when you add it to another watercolour it makes is chalkier and thicker. Also, try to add white watercolour to another colour and leave it aside. You will see that the two colours separate over time. This means that you constantly have to mix the paint to use the same colour.

Instead of using white watercolour to lighten other colours, just try to add more water. Or if you want the shapes to be white, just leave it as it is and take advantage of the colour of the watercolor paper which is usually white.



This one is gold. If you want your painting to be more vibrant, avoid cleaning your brush in the same water.

I use at least two jars of water. In one jar, I clean my brushes after I’ve used warm colours (yellow, orange, red, maroon, etc.). In the other jar, I clean my brushes after I’ve used cold colours (blue, green, purple, black etc.).

I’m talking about the cleaning of the brush while painting, between one colour and the other. I’m not talking about the cleaning of the brush at the end of painting before you store them in your drawer.

Your brush will never be 100% clean, especially if the water is not clean. It will always have some pigment between the bristle, and that’s ok. But if you mix warm colours and cold colours in the same jar you will obtain a grey-ish pigment which can affect the vibrancy of the colours you are using.



The last one of my 3 common watercolor mistakes is not storing your painting properly. I’m not sure you will want to try this one but listen up. Always store your painting inside a drawer, inside the watercolour paper block or wherever. Don’t ever leave it outside if you are not painting.

Your kids can enter your studio and ruin it, a fly can poop on it, you can accidentally spill something on it, whatever.

I know this sounds tragic, but you never know what can happen to that painting when you expect it the least. Especially if it’s something you have worked on for hours or even weeks, ALWAYS store it away.

But if it happens you can fix watercolor mistakes following this guide.


After reading this blog, I have to ask you: what is your common watercolor mistake?

Write it in the comments below


***Affiliate disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links which means that I may earn a small commission – at no extra cost to you. This helps to support my work so that I can continue to make valuable free content for you.***


3 Common Watercolor Mistakes

August 27, 2020

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  1. Thea says:

    These mistakes are great and I have to admit I made all of them. I don‘t know which one is the hardest – maybe the third one.

    Thank you for your lovely blog posts every week, I‘ve missed them! Xoxo

  2. Hanan Sandercock says:

    Loved your advice thank you

  3. Didier Hannot says:

    Thanks for your adives Sandy.
    Regards from Belgium, Didier

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I’m an artist, self-taught designer, and educator who is hell-bent on teaching everyone how to get started with Islamic geometry.
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