Watercolor Landscape Tutorial

Experience a captivating tutorial on watercolor landscapes, in which I showcase the utilization of lesser-quality paintings as a means to enhance your proficiency and artistic methods.

Watercolor Landscape Tutorial

Watercolor painting is a beautiful and versatile medium that allows artists to capture the essence and tranquility of the natural world. Among the various subjects, landscapes hold a special place in the hearts of many artists. The interplay of colors, textures, and light in landscapes provides a perfect opportunity for watercolorists to showcase their skills and creativity.

It's Time to Dive Into this Watercolor Landscape Tutorial, Let's get started!

In this tutorial, we will guide you through the process of creating stunning watercolor landscapes, from choosing the right materials to adding those final captivating details.

Materials We Use and Recommend

Before we dive into the tutorial, let's ensure you have the necessary materials:

  1. Watercolor paints: Invest in a good quality set of watercolor paints with a range of colors, preferably in tube form for vibrant results.
  2. Watercolor brushes: A selection of round brushes in different sizes will allow you to achieve various strokes and details.
  3. Watercolor paper: Choose acid-free, heavyweight paper specifically designed for watercolor painting. Cold-pressed or rough surfaces are recommended for landscapes.
  4. Palette: A mixing palette or a white porcelain plate to mix your colors.
  5. Water container: A clean container to hold water for rinsing your brushes.
  6. Masking tape: Used to secure your paper to a board and create clean edges.
  7. Pencil and eraser: For sketching the initial outline of your landscape.
  8. Paper towels or a rag: To blot excess water and clean brushes.

Here is a useful article for learning the exact watercolor supplies I use and recommend;

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Watercolor Supplies
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, choosing the right watercolor supplies is crucial to achieving stunning results.

Step 1: Planning and Composition

Start by selecting a reference photo or visual inspiration for your landscape. Spend time studying the composition, identifying the focal point, and analyzing the light and shadow patterns. It's helpful to make a quick sketch to determine the placement of key elements in your painting.

Step 2: Preparing Your Workspace

Cover your working area with a protective sheet or newspaper. Secure your watercolor paper to a board using masking tape, ensuring it stays flat and taut throughout the painting process.

Step 3: Sketching the Outline

Using a light pencil, lightly sketch the main elements of your landscape on the watercolor paper. Focus on capturing the basic shapes and proportions, rather than intricate details.

Step 4: Wetting the Paper

Dampen your brush with clean water and apply a thin layer of water to the entire paper, excluding the sky area. This step is called "wetting the paper" and helps create a smooth and fluid base for the colors.

Step 5: Painting the Sky

For the sky, choose a soft, translucent color like cerulean blue or cobalt blue. Start at the top and work your way down, using horizontal brush strokes to create a smooth gradient. Remember to leave areas for clouds or other elements you plan to add later.

Step 6: Layering the Background

Once the sky is dry, start painting the distant background elements such as mountains, hills, or trees. Use lighter and cooler colors to create a sense of depth. Work from light to dark, adding successive layers of color to build up the desired effect.

Step 7: Adding Mid-ground Elements

Move forward into the mid-ground, painting elements like trees, houses, or fields. Use more saturated and warmer colors to bring these elements forward in the painting. Pay attention to details and textures, using both brushstrokes and negative painting techniques to define shapes.

Step 8: Creating Foreground Interest

The foreground is where you can add extra interest and depth to your landscape. Incorporate elements such as rocks, flowers, or a winding path. Use darker and more intense colors to make these elements stand out against the rest of the painting.

Step 9: Enhancing Depth and Contrast

To enhance the sense of depth in your landscape, focus on creating contrast between the foreground, mid-ground, and background elements. Darken the shadows and add more intense colors to the foreground, while keeping the background lighter and less detailed. This contrast will create a visual hierarchy and draw the viewer's eye into the painting.

Step 10: Working with Water and Pigments

Watercolor is a medium that thrives on the interplay between water and pigments. Experiment with different water-to-paint ratios to achieve various effects. Wet-on-wet techniques involve applying paint to a wet surface, creating soft and blended washes. Wet-on-dry techniques involve applying paint to a dry surface, allowing for more controlled and precise details.

Step 11: Creating Textures and Details

Textures play a crucial role in bringing your landscape to life. Explore different techniques to create textures such as dry brushing, splattering, or lifting off paint with a damp brush or paper towel. Use a fine-tipped brush or even a toothbrush to add details like grass blades, foliage, or tree branches.

Step 12: Utilizing Negative Painting

Negative painting is a technique where you paint around the subject to define its shape, rather than painting the subject itself. This technique is especially useful for capturing intricate foliage, branches, or intricate details. By painting the space around the subject, you can create a sense of depth and dimension.

Step 13: Emphasizing Light and Shadows

Light and shadow play a vital role in creating a realistic and dynamic landscape. Observe the direction of light in your reference photo and use lighter washes or leave the paper white to represent areas of light. Conversely, use darker washes or layering techniques to depict shadows and create a sense of volume and form.

Step 14: Balancing Warm and Cool Colors

Balance warm and cool colors throughout your landscape to create visual harmony. Warm colors like reds, oranges, and yellows tend to advance and grab attention, while cool colors like blues and greens recede and provide a sense of calm. Play with the temperature of your colors to guide the viewer's eye and evoke specific emotions.

Step 15: Final Touches and Refinements

Step back from your painting and evaluate the overall composition and balance of colors. Make any necessary adjustments, refining details, and adding additional layers of paint if needed. Consider adding small touches like highlights, reflections, or details to bring the painting to life.


Watercolor landscapes offer a captivating way to express your artistic vision and connect with the beauty of nature. With patience, practice, and experimentation, you can master the art of watercolor landscapes.

Remember to enjoy the process and allow yourself to explore different watercolor techniques and styles. So gather your materials, find your inspiration, and embark on a creative journey to create breathtaking watercolor landscapes. Happy painting!