Frequently Asked Questions
I love connecting with my community, and while I would love to be able to answer everyone's questions individually, it is impossible for me to do so at this point. Please take a moment look at the FAQs below before emailing me directly. It contains answers to some of the most frequently received questions and additional resources to expand your watercolor tool box. Thank you for your consideration, and happy painting!
What brand of watercolors should I use?
This is more of a loaded question than most people realize, and it's not one that I can answer for you. Each brand has their own unique characteristics and quirks as well as regional availability and affordability. Your personal preferences and accessibility will dictate which brand is best for you.
In order to help you find that perfect brand, I've made a detailed list of my Top 10 Favorite Watercolor Brands, and more importantly, I explain why a certain artist may pick one over another. I also have an extensive collection of reviews and swatching videos on YouTube if you are looking for more information on a particular brand. If you can't find a review on my YouTube channel, it's either because I haven't used that brand or haven't spent enough time with them to complete a proper review.
My favorite brands are Daniel Smith, Da Vinci, M. Graham, and Schmincke.
Which colors should I include in a custom palette?
This is another loaded question. Just as I cannot tell you which brand will be best for you, an artist's palette is extremely personal and will be dictated by personal preference as well as what subjects you paint. For instance, a floral or portrait artist has different needs than a wildlife artist like myself.
If you're brand new to watercolors, I'd recommend trying out an affordable premade set to get your bearings, as well as to identify the colors you do and do not enjoy working with. However, if you're ready to take the next step, I spent a great deal of time developing a pair of classes that will teach you about basic color theory, color mixing, pigment properties, a basic palette recipe, and how to customize that recipe to fit your specific needs.
Going along with the old saying of "teach a man to fish..."
it will be much more prudent to explain why you should pick certain colors rather than simply giving you a list of colors without reason.
If you'd like to see some of my favorite palette picks, I designed a custom palette with Da Vinci Paint Co. which is available for purchase.
I wish I could paint like that! How do I get better?
Watercolors are a unique medium that rely heavily on their mysterious ongoing dance with water to really shine. There are many factors that go into a successful watercolor painting, but in my opinion, water control is the absolute most essential skill to harness when it comes to this medium. It's also the most difficult to learn yourself and for artists or teachers to explain to others.
My class on Skillshare, Mastering Water Control: Harness the Power of Watercolors, is the single most difficult piece of content I have ever produced. It took me years to brave the subject in the first place, and then months of constant work to create a class that was approachable, comprehensive yet concise, and included practical application in addition to drill exercises. Once you learn these skills, you can apply them to any subject moving forward in your watercolor adventure.
If you're specifically interested in painting animals and enjoy my style, I also have a large library of real time tutorials, with more added every month, over on Patreon.