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Watercolor Painting and Drawing With Kids

Painting has always been something I loved, yet it was only recently that I started dabbling in watercolor painting. I traditionally favored oil painting, but since the boys are a little young (and impatient) for such an unwashable, slow-drying art medium, I decided to start with watercolors, gouache, and acrylic paint with them, as well as regular ol’ drawing with pencils and pastels. They watched a bunch of kid-focused art videos on YouTube (like Art Hub for Kids) that gave them the basics of getting characters on paper, then they started to draw their own pictures, and then we started to paint.

Here is some of their work:

Not bad for a 7 and 9 year old!

They started with just pencil drawings and sharpies (as per the art videos on YouTube), then advanced to doodling their own sketches all the time- in margins of their books, on their homework (I had to stop this, their teachers didn’t love it)- and finally started to save up their favorite drawings to lightly recreate on watercolor paper (cotton canvases that can hold the watery paints without wrinkling up) and add color to them. We now paint all together, and bought watercolor paper post cards so we can mail our little paintings to family to enjoy as well.

We also bought watercolor books and divide each sheet into small boxes, because watercolors are so watery and fast drying that creating large images can be frustrating. Now that we are mainly practicing techniques and basics, penciling in small rectangles to create a series of images is working out great for us. They practice wet on wet painting, wet on dry techniques, using sponges, different brushes and strokes, etc.

Some books I loved to help us start to understand how to paint with watercolors, and various techniques to get those cool effects we were after (like a sparkling lake or gradiated skies, are Zoltan Szabo’s 70 Favorite Watercolor Techniques and Watercolor Painting For Dummies (I seriously love the For Dummies books, they take you from knowing nothing about a topic to being an expert by the time you turn the last page). These two books helped me understand layering, techniques to get white in watercolor paintings, the best ways to remove paint, and more… very good if you are beyond just wetting a brush and slabbing paint on watercolor paper, and ready to create beautiful images ♥︎

Watercolor painting is very relaxing, and we are going to try gouache next because the colors are denser and less opaque. I love, love, love oil painting and feel like it’s my true medium, and since acrylic painting is said to be the same, but with less drying time, I’m excited to see how that works out for me. We are off to a fun start, and will keep you updated on our experiences!