Learn Watercolor painting with artist, Audrey Benjaminsen

Enjoy this free watercolor painting tutorial for beginners and advanced artists who want to improve their understanding of this medium. The tutorial offers in-depth on painting, palette, drawing techniques, paper and surface selection, use of color, brush styles, and more.

The first part of this incredible tutorial, presented by illustrator and painter Audrey Benjaminsen, we discuss and view some of Audrey’s watercolor paintings, drawings, and discuss her favorite mediums and styles. In addition, Audrey goes over all of the materials and tools she uses in her work, so that you can follow along and put her techniques to work in your watercolor paintings. In addition, Audrey shares a list of all the supplies used to complete this painting.

The finished watercolor painting by artist, Audrey Benjaminsen
Audrey Benjaminsen nearly half done with the watercolor painting

Materials used in Audrey’s watercolor painting tutorial include:

  • Cold press watercolor paper (Arches cold press 140 lb. paper)
  • Acrylic paint
  • Synthetic sable brushes, (Princeton)
  • Paper towels
  • Audrey chose cold press watercolor paper over hot press paper due to her preference in the texture of the paper.

“I have a love for rendering textures”

Finding control in watercolor painting

As Audrey gets into the details of painting, she discusses the nature of working with watercolor and all of the challenges an artist faces in controlling this medium. It can be one of the more difficult art forms to master and requires incredible patience and practice to develop an advance understanding of how your paint will interact with the paper you choose. Most importantly, be sure that you are fully stocked up on paper towels or other materials to manipulate your paint.

Controlling watercolor paint is a skill that is learned with practice and the more you experiment with working from dry to wet materials, blending color, and finding a consistency that works for your styles and techniques, the more natural it will be working with this medium.

Start with Great Reference Photography

If you’re a beginner artist or just getting started with watercolor painting, we highly recommend thoughtfully selecting high-quality reference photography that features good lighting and shadows.

Whether it’s a landscape painting, a figure painting, or more abstract this will be tremendously helpful in sharpening your visual picture-making skills. We recommend switching the image to grayscale, to simplify identifying your values before jumping right into color.

Watercolor Paintings by Audrey from Illustration Isolation

Audrey is a regularly featured artist for our Thursday life drawing class, Illustration Isolation, which is free for all artists to attend. The event is a livestream and Audrey frequently shares tips on using watercolor during the event. Here are a few of our favorite paintings by Audrey this past year.

Watercolor painting of Elaine from "Seinfeld" Night.
Moonrise Kingdom character in watercolor
Watercolor of man sitting
These paintings were created using a combination of watercolor, gesso, and ink.

“As an artist, it can be important to try something you are a little uncomfortable with.”

Watch other great artists who are masters at watercolor painting

Audrey Benjaminsen is an incredibly talented watercolor artist and this painting lesson is a masterclass of the medium. If you enjoyed watching Audrey complete this watercolor, we highly recommend checking out these similar painting demonstrations from the Illustration Academy.

Illustrator, painter, and sequential artist, George Pratt, shares his skills and process in this quick watercolor painting demonstration at The Illustration Academy

Watch as George shares his idea process, use of color, application of the medium, and discuss his brush selection in this insightful watercolor painting lesson.

watercolor illustration by George Pratt of World War I soldier

Iconic comic book artist Bill Sienkiewicz was featured as a guest artist at the 2017 Illustration Academy. During his week of instruction he completed a 2 hour long watercolor painting lesson

Bill Sienkiewicz is a legendary sequential artist and is most popularly known for revamping the comic book industry. Watch as Bill shares his watercolor painting process, use of color, brushes, materials, and more. In addition, Bill lists all of the necessary supplies needed, so that you can put his process to work at home.