I’ve been wanting to share today’s post with you since I started my “Learn Watercolors” series. This post will use techniques that I’ve explained in the previous posts plus how you can paint without any inhibitions. Learn loose watercolor panting to help hone your watercolor skills even more!

Loose watercolor painting - A detailed tutorial | Inkstruck Studio

If you’ve been here a while, you’ll know that my earlier watercolor paintings were a lot of experimenting with style and techniques. Although I can paint extremely realistic paintings to really loose ones, I enjoy the latter. So today, I’m going to show you my take on loose watercolor painting.

The concept that you should keep in mind while painting loose with watercolors is this. “Just dive in!” . I would suggest not using a pencil to lay down your base image. Pencils restrict movement and you tend to try being inside the lines all the time. It will take you a couple of tries to get the fear out but I assure you that you will love painting even more. Today, I’m going to explain different concepts with “grapes” as an example illustration.

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Materials required for loose watercolor painting technique:-

  • Watercolor paper – I recommend this and this.
  • Watercolor paints-I recommend this for beginners and this if you want to splurge
  • Watercolor brushes-My current favorites are this and this.

Loose watercolor painting - A detailed tutorial | Inkstruck Studio

Step 1: The next couple of photos show how I paint a single grape keeping in mind shadows and highlights. Paint a grape(circular shape) with a small dot on the top-right left without color. This is so because I’m assuming the light falls from the top right. That’s going to be the highlight area and the diagonally opposite area is going to be the shadow area.

In the second image below, you’ll see that I’ve darkened the bottom left portion of the grape while it’s still wet. If you wait for the paint to dry, you may be left with a hard edge. This is the shadow area.The middle is the mid-tone area and thats going to be the base layer I painted earlier.

Now to improve the highlight area, I dabbed a paper napkin to remove some pigment.

Loose watercolor painting - A detailed tutorial | Inkstruck Studio

Step 2: Removing the paint with a paper napkin will leave you with a hard edge. You can clean this up by going over it with clear water and blending it with the rest of the grape. Add another grape with a slightly different color to create interest.

For the third grape, I imagined it to be way behind the other two. All you need to do here is water down the paint in a way that you see just a hint of purple. This creates the illusion of depth.

In the third image below, I refined the second grape even further by adding the illusion of depth.  I darkened the shadow area, the part that touches the first grape to show that it’s slightly raised. It also enhances the spherical shape of the grape.

Loose watercolor painting - A detailed tutorial | Inkstruck Studio

Step 3: Keep adding grapes with the same technique explained. In addition to the grapes, add the little twigs that hold the grapes as a bunch. Again since this is a loose watecolor painting, I simply painted it randomly using the tip of my brush.

Loose watercolor painting - A detailed tutorial | Inkstruck Studio

Continue adding grapes of different sizes.

Loose watercolor painting - A detailed tutorial | Inkstruck Studio


Next add a grape leaf to complete your painting. After this, look at your painting from a distance so that you can gauge whether you need to correct the composition. I added a few more grapes until I was happy with the outcome.

Loose watercolor painting - A detailed tutorial | Inkstruck Studio

I also added another leaf and a little vine for added effect. And that’s it. This is my take on loose watercolor painting. You’ll notice that there is no realism whatsoever in this illustration and I like the beauty of it. For me the process is so much fun because of the element of surprise it holds.

Loose watercolor painting - A detailed tutorial | Inkstruck Studio

Love it? Pin the image here

Loose watercolor painting by Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

What do you think?

How much fun would it be to paint everything in this style? One of the most common topics is “flowers”. So if you’ve done a loose watercolor painting with florals or anything for that matter, don’t forgot to tag me with #makeinkstruck onInstagram. I’d love to repost it to 8000 of my lovely friends there.