Part 3 of 3 Watercolor Painting Techniques For Beginners

Part 3 of 3 Watercolor Painting Techniques For Beginners

Lifting out 

You can control the level of definition in a painting by taking pigment away, rather than adding more and more. 

This technique lets you decide on the amount of looseness you want in a more considered way, giving you control to define edges and shapes. The lifting out technique is highly preferred when it comes to portraying patterns of light .

Here are some of the identified ways to absorb  pigment. 

  • Sponge - This helps but it will leave your painting with a textured effect. 
  • Cotton swab or a towel - You can use this for small details but you can also grab a dry towel for larger areas. 
  • Paint brush - This tool is easier to control and can achieve your desired results more easily. 


Sponging is an easy - to - control technique that adds texture and vibrancy to your painting. The natural dimples in a sponge are ideally suited to creating loose effects in watercolor, either by making marks or lifting out color.  A lot of artists use sponging for many subjects from foliage, dappled light, sea, spray, clouds and smoke to fur or fabric. 

For best results use a natural sponge. Prepare it by submerging in clean water and squeezing out the excess with a paper towel. 

Dip into your prepared wash and test before applying. Lightly dab or drag the sponge  to add textured marks, or lift our for softened edges.  

Correcting mistakes 

As a beginner artist, this is probably one of the things I’m thankful for!   You might be able to say the same thing! 

Unwanted spills, bleeds, and runs can be hard to control and will dry to leave a stain. But making mistakes in watercolor need not be the end of the world! By being prepared and ready to act quickly, you can rescue your work and repair the area when dry. 

There are also methods for revising or removing more permanent marks, allowing you to correct your painting at a later stage. 

  • Removing spills  - To avoid a spill or run bleeding or drying over other washes, act quickly to blot and remove the wet paint. Do not scrub, to avoid scuffing the paper surface 

  • Removing bleeds - Watercolor can be difficult to control, and often colors will run into one another just where you don't want them. One solution is to remove the paint with a brush. 

  • Removing dry paint - Watercolor is water-soluble, which means most unwanted marks can be rewetted and lifted off the painting. If you used thick paper for your work, you can also scrape off marks on thick paper.  

  • Solutions for permanent mistakes - Some pigments stain and won't allow you to lift using these quick fixes.  Repainting is another way to correct the mistake!  You can try repainting dark over light colors. 

That’s it!  This wraps up our list on commonly used watercolor painting techniques for beginners. 

Take some time to practice and master these techniques but more importantly,  enjoy your creative journey! 

We’d love to hear from you!  

If you’ve recently practiced these techniques or are now planning to, feel free to send us an email and show us your work.  

You can also send us a  message through any of our social media profiles. 

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published