The Best Tips for Painting Wet On Wet with Watercolor

Watercolor painting is a beautiful and expressive art form that allows artists to create stunning works with unique textures and blends.

One of the most popular techniques in watercolor painting is the wet-on-wet technique, where wet paint is applied to wet paper to create beautiful blending effects.

If you're new to watercolor painting or want to improve your wet-on-wet technique, this article will provide you with five valuable tips for mastering this technique.

We'll explore everything from choosing the right materials to preparing your palette and colors and mastering various wet-on-wet techniques.

Whether you're a seasoned watercolor artist or just starting, these tips will help you unlock your creative potential and achieve stunning results in your paintings.

So let's dive in and explore the world of painting wet on wet with watercolor!

Understanding Wet-on-Wet Watercolor Technique

Wet-on-wet watercolor painting is a technique that involves painting on wet paper with wet paint. This method creates a beautiful blending effect, ideal for creating soft washes and graduated colors.

To get started with this technique, you need to prepare your materials and understand the basic steps involved. Here's a tutorial on how to paint wet on wet with watercolor:

  1. Choose your paper: The first step in wet-on-wet watercolor painting is to select the right paper. It's crucial to use watercolor paper that can hold up to the wet paint and withstand the various techniques involved. Stretching the paper before use can also prevent it from buckling.
  2. Prepare your surface: Wet the paper with clean water before applying the paint. This helps the paint to flow easily and blend together on the surface. Make sure the paper is evenly wet but not overly saturated.
  3. Mix your colors: It's crucial to mix your paint colors before applying them to the wet paper. This ensures that the colors blend smoothly and create the desired effect. A well-organized palette is essential for keeping your colors separate and avoiding muddy colors.
  4. Apply the paint: Use a brush to apply the paint to the wet paper by dropping and blending the paint carefully. Avoid overworking the paint, which can result in muddy colors and damage to the paper. Use different brushes for various effects, such as flat brushes for washes and round brushes for detail work.
  5. Practice the technique: The wet-on-wet watercolor technique can take some practice to master. Experiment with different brush strokes, color combinations, and layering techniques to find the ideal method for your work.

Keep in mind that wet-on-wet painting is an expressive and fluid technique that requires a certain degree of spontaneity.

Embrace the organic nature of the medium and enjoy the journey of creating beautiful watercolor paintings.

Choosing the Right Materials for Wet-on-Wet Watercolor

Watercolor painting is a beautiful and versatile medium, and mastering the wet-on-wet technique can unlock endless creative possibilities.

To achieve the best results, it's essential to have the right materials. Here are some tips for choosing the best materials for your wet-on-wet watercolor paintings:

Watercolor Paints

One of the most important materials for watercolor painting is the paint itself. When selecting watercolor paints, look for high-quality pigments that offer excellent transparency and vibrancy.

Professional-grade paints will have a higher concentration of pigment and less filler, which means they will produce more intense colors. Another crucial factor to consider when choosing watercolor paints is lightfastness. Cheaper paints may fade over time, ruining your artwork's longevity.


Another essential material for wet-on-wet watercolor painting is good-quality paper. Look for paper specifically designed for watercolor painting, as it will handle the saturation of the paint and the wet-on-wet technique better.

Watercolor paper comes in different weights and textures, so experiment to find the one that best suits your style.

Cold-pressed watercolor paper is a popular choice, as it has a textured surface, which helps to create interesting watercolor effects.


When painting wet-on-wet with watercolor, a good brush is essential. Look for brushes made specifically for watercolor painting.

They should have a good capacity to hold and release the watercolor paint. Sable brushes are an excellent option, as they are soft, absorbent, and produce a smooth, even stroke.

Synthetic brushes are also useful, as they are more affordable. However, they may not hold up as well as natural brushes, especially when repeatedly used with water.


Having a good palette for mixing colors is crucial when painting with watercolors. Look for a palette with ample space for mixing colors and one that is easy to clean.

Ceramic palettes are a popular choice, as they are non-porous, which prevents the paint from seeping into the surface.

Another option is a plastic palette, which is lightweight and easy to clean. A white palette is preferred, as it will not interfere with the color of the paint you are mixing.

Preparing Your Palette and Colors

One of the keys to success in wet-on-wet watercolor painting is properly preparing your palette and colors.

Here are some tips to help you achieve the desired consistency and harmony in your paint:

Use a Large, Flat Palette

A large, flat palette is ideal for wet-on-wet watercolor painting. It allows you to mix large amounts of paint and provides ample space for blending colors.

Make sure your palette is clean and dry before starting.

Organize Your Colors

Organize your colors in a logical way on your palette to help you quickly find the colors you need.

You may want to group similar colors together, like warm and cool colors, or arrange them in a color wheel pattern for easy reference.

Start with Light Colors

Begin by mixing light colors on your palette, and gradually adding darker colors as needed.

This will help you achieve subtle variations in color and avoid muddy results.

Test Your Colors on Scrap Paper

Before applying any paint to your final piece, test your colors on scrap paper to see how they blend and interact with each other.

This will help you make adjustments to your palette and avoid any surprises on your final piece.

Clean Your Brushes Regularly

Regularly clean your brushes to avoid your colors getting muddy or contaminated. Use a separate container of clean water to rinse your brushes between colors.

Mastering Wet-on-Wet Techniques

Once you've mastered the basics of wet-on-wet watercolor painting, it's time to explore various techniques to add depth and texture to your artwork.

Here are some tips:

Create Soft Washes

To create soft washes, you'll need to load your brush with plenty of paint and water to create a juicy mix.

Apply the paint to your paper in a back-and-forth motion, allowing the colors to blend together naturally, and adding additional layers, if necessary, to build up depth and richness.

Layering Techniques

Layering is an excellent way to create depth and dimension in your watercolor paintings. Start by painting the lightest colors in your composition, building up to the darker shades.

To create a sense of transparency, allow each layer to dry completely before applying the next wash of paint.

Lifting Techniques

Lifting techniques involve removing pigment from your paper to create highlights or to correct mistakes.

To lift paint, use a clean, damp brush or a paper towel to gently blot the areas you wish to lighten.

Be careful not to rub the paper too hard, as this can damage the surface and cause pilling.

Dry Brush Techniques

Dry brushing is a versatile technique that involves using a mostly dry brush to apply paint to your paper.

This technique can be used to create a range of effects, from adding texture to your painting to creating wispy clouds or grasses.

Load your brush with paint and then wipe it off on a clean paper towel to remove excess moisture. Use a light touch to apply the paint, building up the texture slowly to achieve the desired effect.

By mastering these wet-on-wet techniques, you can take your watercolor paintings to the next level and create truly stunning works of art.

Troubleshooting and Common Mistakes

As you explore wet-on-wet watercolor painting, there may be some common mistakes that you'll encounter.

Understanding how to troubleshoot these issues can help you achieve the desired results in your artwork.

One common issue is excessive bleeding, which occurs when the paint spreads more than intended on the wet paper.

To prevent this, ensure that you don't overload your brush with paint and use a paper towel to blot excess water before painting.

Another mistake is creating muddy colors, which happens when you overwork your paint. To avoid this, apply the paint with a lighter touch and mix your colors on the paper rather than the palette.

Lastly, overworking is another common mistake. When you overwork your paint, it can result in a loss of vibrancy and texture.

To avoid this, know when to stop and take breaks during the painting process.

As a beginner, it's essential to know that it's okay to make mistakes. Don't be discouraged if your painting doesn't come out as expected on your first try.

With practice and patience, you can master this technique and unlock your creative potential. So pick up your brushes, dive in, and begin your journey of painting wet on wet with watercolor!

Did you find this post useful or inspiring? Save THIS PIN to your Art Board on Pinterest! 😊

You may also like

Go up

This site uses cookies: Read More!