Kids Art: Learning to Use Watercolours

I have deliberately held off introducing Immy to painting with watercolours until now as I wanted to wait until she was a little older (or maybe a little more patient) so that I could teach her a simple process for using them more effectively. Teaching technique is about helping children control an art medium so they can get the most out of them, so that they get a good result and do not feel limited by their inability to manipulate it. For example, watercolours can easily become muddy if the brush is not washed in between colours and colours can become very pale and transparent if too much water is used, both of which can be demotivating for a young artist.

Our process for using watercolours

Gather your materials

  • Watercolour palette
  • Paintbrush
  • Small container of water
  • Paper towel
  • Paper to paint onto

As this was our first time trying watercolours we started out feeling the dry palette and talking about how it was different to the other paints we have used previously.

Step 1: Wet (or rinse if you are between colours) your brush in the water.

Step 2: Lightly dab your brush on the paper towel to remove excess water (this helps provide the child with a richer colour to paint with).

Step 3: Rub your paintbrush on the colour you wish to use to collect the paint onto the brush. Generally, the more water on your brush, the more translucent your paint will appear on the paper.

Step 4: Paint away.

Repeat this process each time you want to change colours to avoid a dirty brown mixed up mess!

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  1. Excellent tips! We've use a sponge in place of a paper towel for a more re-usable option =)

  2. Oops, I meant We, not We've…

  3. Raising a Happy Child says:

    Our first watercolor attempts were pitiful. I found out that $1 watercolors are worthless – even I couldn't produce bright colors with them. We switched to Crayola watercolors and used similar tips – it was a lot more successful. Immy looks so absorbed in her art.

  4. Great tips. My girls never could manage water colours without making a big wet mess, the water in the cup always got tipped out on the table. So frustrating.

    Maybe now they are a bit older and have had more time to build those fine motor skills.

  5. Sunbeams and Sanity says:

    Looks fabulous! You would be great at running a toddler art group! Im going to do a post soon about running one with some things I have found useful.


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