A simple, easy way to paint watercolor step by step. You can use the same steps for any watercolor painting.
We will be painting a colorful, freshwater Koi Angelfish. Angelfish are a popular aquarium fish that come from the Amazon River of South America.
Have a container of clean water ready for painting and to rinse your brush between colors.
It's good to have paper towels or a sponge to wipe the excess water off your brush. But I am trying a new thing instead, a wash cloth near the water container.
Select a color scheme for each painting. Paper clip the color scheme on your color wheel.
Then refer to it and lay out your paint colors: yellow, orange, red-orange, blue-violet and blue.
Do your drawing on a separate tablet. Erasures on the watercolor paper can damage it.
This is for learning how to paint watercolor step by step, so don't worry about doing a perfect drawing.
Transfer your drawing to your painting surface with graphite paper. If you are good at drawing, do your drawing directly on the watercolor paper.
Use light marks, when you put your drawing on the painting surface. Heavy pencil or graphite marks can show thru into the finished painting.
Then you may paint right over the dry masking fluid and the paper stays white underneath.
So the background is painted in two layers. First a light layer and then after it is dry, darker colors are painted.
The light in this painting is coming from the upper left.
Set the corner of your watercolor tablet up on something to help the paint flow down when you are painting. I used a 2x4 piece of wood.
Mix orange with plenty of water and start painting in the corner.
Paint quickly to prevent hard edges.
Farther down, add a light blue. Paint darker as you get farther away from the light.
Mix your orange or orange-red with either blue or blue-violet to get darker colors.
Paint around the angelfish.
The first wash of the background is finished. Let it dry completely.
You may use a hairdryer to speed up the process. But let some water soak away first. Otherwise, the hairdryer will blow the colors around.
Note, the yellow on the fish is the masking fluid.
Now that the first layer is dry, you can add some darker colors behind and below the fish.
Dampen the area you are going to paint a little past where you want to paint. Paint your darker colors and stop before you get to the edge of the wet area. The edge will blend out softly, preventing any hard edges.
While the paint is still wet, you may sprinkle on some sea salt for added texture. You may also, splatter some wet paint from your paint brush.
Mix your desired color with water and load it onto the brush. Hold the brush over the painting. Then tap the handle of the brush to make the wet paint splatter onto the painting.
Let the background dry before you start painting the Koi Angelfish. This painting watercolor step by step.
Now we get to paint the Koi Angelfish.
They all have somethings in common. The colored part is on the front and top of the Koi Angelfish. It varies from yellow to orange.
The dark spots are black. They may appear anywhere on the body or fins.
That's what makes this a great fish for learning how to paint watercolor step by step.
Dampen the top area of the angelfish where you are going to paint color.
Paint the yellow a little darker on the top edge of the fish. Where the yellow stops down on the body, feather the color out softly with a clean, damp brush.
Continue painting your angelfish. While the yellow is still damp, dab orange on the yellow.
Softly dab the orange on with the tip of your brush to simulate the scales of a fish. That's what painting watercolor step by step can do.
The orange will feather out into the damp yellow paint.
Paint around the eye.
Mix a black out of your complimentary colors, orange and blue.
Paint the black center of the eye. If you leave a little speck of white in the eye, it gives life to the fish. Paint an orange ring around the eye with a highlight.
Softly paint some lavender or blue shadows on the bottom half of the body.
The colored parts, shadow areas and the fins of the angelfish are dry.
Continue painting the black areas of the Koi Angelfish.
Puts black spots on the body where ever you wish.
You may paint some black on the fins and pull out a few veins.
Take the masking fluid off with a dry finger or a rubber cement pickup tool.
This exposes the highlight areas on the top of the body and the white feelers.
Make the feeler on the far side of the body slightly blue to make it farther away.
Use a damp brush to soften the bottom edge of the body highlight.
Define the fin on the bottom part of the body.
Put some color of the water on the dorsal fin and the tail because they are somewhat transparent and the water would show thru.
The more you paint, the better you get and the more fun you will have.
What a joy it is to share watercolor painting with you!