I’m continuing my “learn watercolors” series with watercolor techniques in blending today.Commonly known as wet on wet, this characteristic of watercolors make it extra special! 

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Last week’s basic supplies post was so warmly welcomed by all of you that I thought I’ll continue it for this week as well. There are so many different watercolor techniques and I can go on and on. That’s why I decided to make different parts starting with blending because it’s the most important one. Also, it’s the most commonly used one.

{This post contains affiliate links. This means that I will earn a small percentage if you decide to buy from one of the links you click below.You will not be charged extra.}

Whenever I purchase new watercolor sets or tubes, I make a small color chart. This gives me an idea about what the color will look like when it’s on paper. I cut strips of watercolor paper, lay down the hue first and increase the transparency by adding water three times. You can do this for the amount of colors you have and tie it with a string. Whenever you purchase a new tube or pan, you can make a new strip and add to this. Start with making these and they’ll make things a lot easier.

You can also make a “hue”only color chart and stick on to the side of your set. I like to use both sides as palettes, so I prefer this technique. Show below is my Sennelier 24 pan watercolor set.

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

There are five different blending exercises shown in today’s watercolor techniques post. These exercises are mainly to get your hands used to painting with watercolors. They’re also super fun which makes practice sessions much better.

Disclaimer: Most of the headings below are not the technical terms. They’re just titles that I thought would be apt. I don’t want to really get technical here and bore you. The point is that I want to show you a practical approach to watercolors. All of these watercolor techniques are based on my experience and the way I do watercolors. Someone else may have a different approach and like any creative field, differentiations may be found.

Exercise 1- Softening the colors

The technical term is called a graded wash. I love how beautiful soft edges can be creating using this method. First, get enough pigment on your brush and make a stroke.(See image below)

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Next, rinse out your brush with water. Press down and drag the pigment on the paper while it’s still wet. The color travels along with the water creating a subtle texture.

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Exercise 2.1- Color drop

This watercolor technique is so much fun that I actually added more drops than I thought I would. It’s really just beautiful to see watercolor do its  wonders. First,lay down enough  pigment on paper. The ratio of pigment to water should be greater by a considerable amount.

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Rinse out your brush completely. Take an accent color(Indian yellow in this case) and add drops while the paint is still wet. The paint  starts to spread out and it’s mesmerizing to watch.

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Exercise 2.2- Color drop ( washed down colors )

Let’s see what happens when the colors are reversed and the transparency is increased. Lay down a transparent wash of yellow first. The ratio of pigment to water is considerably less in this scenario.

P.S. Do you see the yellow traveling graciously in the previous technique?

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

By using an accent color(Opera rose here) and increasing the transparency, drop in a few dots. The purpose of this exercise is to show how different the effect is when few factors are changed.

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Exercise 3:Two pigment blending

This is similar to exercise 1 but instead of blending with water, use another full pigment to blend. Lay down good amount of pigment on paper.

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Rinse your brush out completely. Take a good amount of another color and blend with the previous color while still wet. Press and drag down. You’ll see the previous color seeping in and blending.

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Exercise 4.1- Color drop on water

This is similar to exercise 2.1 and 2.2 but here there is no base color. Use water to wet the paper first. While still wet, dab a few drops of color. The colors will travel with the water creating soft and hard edges.

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Exercise 4.2- Color drop on water ( damp surface)

This is exactly like the previous exercise but after wetting the paper surface, wait for a while. When the water is not pooled on paper but is still damp, drop a color. You’ll notice in the image below that the color travels far less as compared to the previous one.

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Exercise 5- Controlled blending

Paint a couple of lines with your brush. I’m going to use a cool color and a warm color here. The direction in which you drag your brush can control the flow of paint,

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Talk a warm color and paint horizontal lines while the paint is still wet. The colors travel within these lines and form different textures and patterns.

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

I’ve compiled all the exercises in the image shown below. These exercises are great for warm up and for you to have an idea on how basic watercolor techniques in work. I suggest you follow the exercise listed in my basic supplies post and in this one.

I would love to know your feedback on these and on how you’re progressing with watercolors. If you’re following alone, e-mail me at zakkiya@inkstruck.com and I would love to see.

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

And now for the exciting part! THE GIVEWAY. Yay! This is the second week of Inkstruck Studio’s anniversary month giveaways. Check out who win the previous giveaway here.This week, you’ll be able to win a Winsor and Newton Cotman Water Color Pocket PLUS Set of 12 Half Pans and the “Do what makes you oh so happy” coloring e-book by Dawn Nicole Designs LLC.  The prizes are worth $28 combined and you have this entire week to enter and win!

Dawn has very generously sponsored her e-book for this post. She creates amazing tutorials in lettering and all things creative. Go check her out! She’s amazing!

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

The above images are supplies by Dick Blick and Dawn Nicole Designs LLC.

How to enter the giveaway!

Please follow the instructions given in the Rafllecopter widget shown below. The giveaway will end on 9:00 P.M. GMT on 16th February(Tuesday). The winner will be announced on Facebook, Instagram and the widget below on 17th February(Wednesday).If you don’t win this time, the next post will hold another fabulous giveaway. If you’re viewing this in your e-mail, you’ll probably not see the widget. Please hop over to the post in your browser to access the giveaway.The free entry is the only mandatory option. All other choices are optional and even if you don’t have any of the social media sites you can still enter.This means you don’t need to do every one of the choices listed below .Entering with all the choices will nonetheless improve the chances of winning.Giveaway is open worldwide and I will ship anywhere as long as you have a proper mailing address.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

{This post is not sponsored or endorsed by Winsor and Newton}
{Floral clip art from Angie Makes}


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About zakkiya hamza @ inkstruck

Zakkiya is the creative blogger and founder of Inkstruck Studio. She’s a self taught artist who let go of her architecture profession to pursue her passion in art. Zakkiya likes to write detailed tutorials in watercolor, calligraphy, and hand lettering. She also teaches watercolor workshops occasionally in Doha where she’s based currently. Other passions include traveling, photography, and basketball.When she’s not working, you can find her cuddling and running around with her toddler boy.


  1. I currently love watercolor and brush lettering. The first time I tried watercolor, I stumbled on your tutorial about how to make basic wreath. I love how you explain with step-by-step image. That’s really helpful for beginner like me.

  2. I love both brush lettering and watercolors. Your paintings are all awesome. I like to try out all your unique ideas. Thanks for inspiring me. Love your work and creativity.

  3. First off, thank you for the past couple posts! The tips and techniques you’ve provided are very useful–they’ve really helped in getting my creative mind going ??

    I have a few forms of art that I’ve loved for forever I cant pick just one so I’ll include them all. ? Watercolor, I especially love watching Asian watercolor techniques (of course!); typography, particularly pointed pen calligraphy and graphic poster design; and, artistic and landscape photography.

    Thank you for the giveaway! ?

  4. Currently my favorite art form is watercoloring (including lettering!). I’m just beginning so your tutorials are so helpful!

  5. I love coloring pencils and charcoal pencils for they cover everything you want to depict. Water colors is what I am trying to explore and your posts are really helping me a lot. Thanks a ton for brilliant post!

  6. I think it is very generous of you to show your tips as a lot of artists wouldn’t do this. I have found this all very informative and have started doing a wheel with the primary colours but I love your little sample cards which are so useful. I think I will do that but mix the colours e.g., Yellow with blue etc to get the different tones of green. It will be useful as I am doing a botanical watercolour course in London.
    Keep on posting!

  7. Hi, Zakkia! How sweet of you to do this fabulous lesson! I got frustrated the other day because I was trying to do things with the watercolors and I came to a standstill realizing that I lacked these basics! So now, I will do these exercises and try them in some actual paintings! I love the color key tags which you suggested to have a guide for the actual colors in our sets! Thanks so much from the heart!???

  8. I recently got into Hand Lettering which has led me to watercolors. I have been so fascinated by all the beautiful work I have seen and have been dying to start playing around with watercolors. This little tutorial series is EXACTLY what I was looking for and it all came together perfectly! Thank you so so much for putting this together for all of us readers 🙂

    Your work is amazingly beautiful by the way 🙂

  9. Learning how to Watercolour, has got to be my most favourite art form ever! I just want to have all the knowledge and experience and forget all the learning and waiting to be a Pro, like you! I want to be a pro already. Thank you so much for all your share!!

  10. I’ve been looking for easy to understand tutorials for watercolorig as I have just recently been interested in the art. Thank you for the help! ?

  11. love color and coloring, trying lots of techniques but feel watercolor offers so much but a little stymied with which product to get – so many choices but your basics blog really helped sort it out for me -t hanks

  12. I am always a fan of watercolors as that’s where I experimented first. But lettering & calligraphy is so beautiful! I love combing lettering & watercolors.

  13. Loving your giveaways! I really liked all the techniques you showed. Please continue these amazing watercolor tutorials, I’m learning a lot from them!

  14. I really love watercolor, it’s just I can’t get a grip on that. And looking at my sketchbook I honestly think I have no talent whatsoever :’)

  15. Watercolor and pointed pen calligraphy! I haven’t incorporated one and the other together yet, but I’m still learning so much about both, that’s what I want to focus on! ❤️

  16. My favourite paint, funnily enough, is watercolour. I love the effect it gives and think it creates beautiful paintings which I can give to friends and family. Watercolour paintings always look amazing hanging on the wall!

  17. This is so amazing! I love the colours and i really like how u explain. I have started painting with watercolours for a short time and this was very helpful❤

  18. I’m always amazed by generous people like you who share these tutorials for everybody! I, for one, is learning a lot from these posts. Last year, I jumped into following your starry, starry night tutorial without any knowledge of watercolours — turned out good, my husband approves 🙂 One day I’ll show it to you. Thank you!

  19. Lettering is the art form I have been most involved in, as of late. There’s something powerful about being able to shape letters and create feeling not just from the words.

  20. I love looking through your IG! Have tried a couple of times making watercolour cards but they never turn out as nice since I don’t have a nice watercolour palette. Would love to own one! 🙂

  21. I’m infatuated with water colors right now. I’ve just gotten into them a few months ago, so I’m not great but I’m having a ton of fun with it. Water colors can be so beautiful.

  22. I’ve been interested with calligraphy for quite sometime and im so excited to read everything in your blog! More on starting and practicing the arts we love please ?

  23. Yay for giveaways! I love all your tutorials. I’m a lefty so I struggle sometimes. Any tips for lefties would be super helpful!!

  24. I stumbled across your work on Pinterest. Your tutorials are just what I needed. I am trying to develop a hobby that will de-stress me after a hard day. Art is so comforting and calming. The fact that you shared your techniques for free speaks volumes about your character. Thank you thank you, thank you!

    1. Oh my! Thank you so much for the lovely words Nina. I makes my heart happy when my lovely readers take time out to write to me. It’s really very rewarding. I’m so glad you find my tutorials easy to follow. Absolutely validates what I do <3

  25. I have no words to express my Thanks Zakkiya, I am a parent of 2 teens who are into University, I have free time and was trying to develop my child hood hobby of painting, but because of the long gap, sadly all my skills has declined. I am beginning again and yes truly as one of your fans said art relaxes and soothes.Your tutorials are user friendly and very helpful. Please do keep posting more. Stay blessed and thanks for sharing.

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