Watercolor Painting Techniques for Beginners with Marcula Stauffer

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Marcula Stauffer Watercolor Painting Techniques Marcula Stauffer Watercolor Painting Techniques

Get comfortable with watercolors using simple painting methods by experienced artist, Marcula Stauffer.

When starting out, it’s best to buy a student set of watercolors. Although they’re typically sold with fewer color options, going this route will help you save money while you get the basics down. Many watercolor sets have a palette pan included, but if not, Marcula Stauffer recommends adding one to your supply cabinet right away.

A spiral note pad is great for painting on the go and can help you keep all your ideas in one place. Cold press paper will add a beautiful texture to your painting and should have a paper thickness weight of around 140 lb. With years of experience under his belt, Marcula Stauffer explains some basic watercolor painting techniques for beginners.


This technique is one of the most commonly used in watercolor painting. Many artists begin by drawing an outline very lightly with a pencil. Next, use a rounded paint brush to first cover the area with a layer of water. Next, create a base layer that will be the foundation of your drawing. Marcula Stauffer suggests using a hair dryer to speed up the drying process in between each layer. Finally, you can begin adding fine details to wrap up your masterpiece.


It’s very important for a new watercolor artist to practice blending colors. This will help you expand on the basic colors that come in a student set. Blending is also great for shading and creating softer lines in your painting. To practice, Marcula Stauffer recommends painting a shape with water and then adding paint to the area. Choose a second color and add it to the opposite end of where you put the first color. Now, you can move the paper back and forth to watch the colors mix and blend in the middle.


Try out different watercolor brushes to see how they interact with the paper. Marcula Stauffer believes that experimenting with different types of marks and pressure points will help you know how to achieve various results. Practice painting dashes, circles, lines, and dots. See what happens when you use different amounts of water and have cotton balls on handy to mop the extra moisture up.


White crayons aren’t only useful for decorating Easter eggs. The same wax resistant technique can be used in watercolor painting. Simply draw your design by pressing firmly on the paper with a white crayon before applying a color wash. The white wax will be left uncovered by the watercolor, still visible even after applying paint. This can be used to achieve a wide variety of looks with less time spent on fine detailing.