10 online watercolor classes to make you a better painter
Watercolor painting is a versatile medium which can be used to produce stunning artwork.
Want to take a watercolor class, but not sure how you can make time for it? Online watercolor classes are a great alternative to a traditional course or evening class. You can pick a time that suits you and fit the lessons around your busy schedule.
The best part is that taking watercolor classes online gives you a greater range of topics to choose from, as well as a wider choice of teachers. Learning from artists who are experts in their subject matter will help you develop your painting style.
There are a huge variety of watercolor classes available for artists of all levels, whether you’re an absolute beginner or a more experienced painter who wants to explore a new technique.
Watercolor is a wonderful medium to work with. It can be used to paint everything from atmospheric landscapes to richly coloured illustrations.
In this guide, find a range of exciting watercolor classes to inspire your work, with simple courses for beginners alongside creative classes to make you fall in love with this beautiful medium.
Looking for information about paints, paper and more? Find out everything you need to know with our in-depth watercolor painting guide.
10 of the best watercolor classes online
1. Watercolor painting diploma course
Best for ambitious beginners
If you’re a beginner who wants a wide-ranging watercolor course, this class provided by the Centre of Excellence is a good starting point. It’s broken down into ten modules covering everything from materials to composition.
It would be a brilliant choice for someone looking for a structured course and willing to dedicate the time into it, as they estimate that the classes will take 150 hours to complete.
The biggest downside? At the time of writing, the course was on offer for £29, but the usual price is £127 which may be too expensive for your budget.
Overall, this course will give you all of the essential skills to become a successful watercolor artist if you’re able to put the time in.
- In-depth and covers a lot of ground
- Lifetime access available
- Study group access
- Expensive when it’s not on offer
- 150 hours to complete
Buy the Watercolor painting diploma course from Centre of Excellence
2. Watercolor properties
Best for understanding your materials
This Skillshare course led by artist Geethu Chandramohan offers a brilliant introduction to watercolor painting. In this class, she covers many of the basic concepts of watercolor art, from understanding your paints to getting to grips with color theory.
When you finish this class, you’ll be able to mix different shades confidently and build your own palettes.
Even if you’ve already got some watercolor experience, you’re likely to pick up some useful tidbits of information from this course.
- Explains how to use your paints effectively, simple color theory and how to choose your materials
- Suitable for painters of all levels
- 25 lessons
- You will need to sign up for Skillshare. However, there is a free one-month trial available
- This course is under two hours
Try the Watercolor properties course from Skillshare
3. Painting for pattern design
Best for budding pattern designers
Patternmaking is a brilliant exercise for anyone who is searching for a new painting challenge. Making your own patterns is incredibly satisfying and will definitely develop your watercolor skills.
You could use this skill to create your own unique wrapping paper or fabric, which you can print through websites such as Spoonflower.
In this course, pattern designer Catherine Jennifer Charnock demonstrates how to turn your paintings into incredible repeating patterns. This is the ideal course for intermediate artists who want to try something new and get out of a creative rut.
More like this
- Perfect for anyone who wants to design repeating patterns
- Develops your painting skills
- Creative and fun!
- You’ll need a Skillshare subscription
- Not suitable for beginners
Sign up for the Painting for pattern design class from Skillshare
4. Real winner beginners watercolor course
Best for absolute beginners
This fantastic short course from Udemy is designed for complete beginners. The tone of the class is very relaxed and you’ll receive lots of great tips and guidance from professional artist Nicola A Blakemore.
There are easy projects to help you practise your painting technique, including an apple painting exercise and a simple greetings card tutorial. The course will take approximately four and a half hours to complete, so you get a lot for your money.
- Covers essential watercolor skills
- Good value for money
- 4.5 hours of video, plus 32 downloadable resources
- You need to buy courses individually unless you want to sign up for a personal plan on Udemy. There’s a free trial period available if you’d like to try it out
Sign up for the Real winner beginners watercolor course from Udemy
5. Creative watercolor sketching for beginners
Best for creative inspiration
When you’re in a creative rut, trying something new can help you to rediscover your passion for painting. Watercolor sketching may not be something you’ve ever tried before, but it can give you the chance to explore a more playful painting style.
This course created by artist and illustrator Laura McKendry promises to do just that. She encourages students to be experimental in their work, pairing unconventional tones together and filling their sketchbook with expressive paintings. Laura has created illustrations for brands such as Laura Ashley and Papyrus, so she knows what she’s talking about!
- Great for when you’re feeling uninspired
- Explore a new painting style
- Playful painting sessions
- Lifetime access
- This course is not suitable for people who want to paint realistically
- May be too easy for more advanced artists
Improve your painting with Creative watercolor sketching for beginners from Domestika
6. Realistic watercolor botanicals
Best for flower lovers
Botanical painting is a skill in itself and it’s incredible what you can paint once you’ve mastered this captivating technique. This class covers everything you’ll need to know to paint your own realistic blooms.
Natural history artist and botanical illustrator Heidi Willis will teach you what materials to use, how to set up your painting space, important watercolor techniques and much more.
There are three hours of videos to enjoy, including practical exercises to try at home. These classes are best suited to people who already have some watercolor experience, as they’re not geared towards complete beginners.
- Real expertise and valuable advice
- Perfect for intermediate to advanced painters
- Practical exercises to try
- 3 hours of lessons
- There’s a lot of theory and information, so it’s not ideal for anyone who wants a more practical course
- Could have more additional resources to accompany the classes
Get closer to nature with the Paint realistic watercolor and botanicals class from Udemy
How to get into watercolor painting
If you’re new to watercolor painting and you’re not sure where to begin, take a look at our watercolor painting for beginners guide for lots of expert tips and advice.
7. Line and wash essentials: urban sketching
Best for painting on the go
Line and wash is an excellent technique for capturing a scene quickly, which is why it’s often used by landscape artists. It involves combining line drawings with washes of watercolor paint – and the finished artwork can be very striking!
Forget idyllic rural scenes with forests and rolling hills, in this class you’ll learn how to paint and draw urban landscapes with great effect.
This course has some engaging painting exercises to follow and you’ll try your hand at different scenes, including a shop and a townhouse. You’ll also be shown how to paint the night sky and how to create a fiery watercolor sunset.
- Learn the line and wash technique
- Creative projects to work through
- Lots of technical painting tips
- Not suitable for painters who prefer realism
Develop your watercolor techniques with a Line and wash essentials class from Skillshare
8. Level up your watercolor: master layers
Best for developing your painting skills
Layering is an important skill to learn if you want to be a better watercolor artist. It takes patience, but it is well worth taking the time to develop this technique.
This course will guide you through several different layering techniques, such as glazing, transparency and negative layering. Even experienced artists are likely to pick up some useful tips from this class!
At the end of the course, you can put your new skills into practice by painting your own sea turtle.
- Covers layering techniques well
- Cute project to complete the course
- Even intermediate artists may learn something new
- May be too simplistic for advanced artists
- You’ll need a Skillshare subscription
- Fairly short course (just over one hour of video)
Get started on the Level up your watercolor: master layers class from Skillshare
9. Paint landscapes in watercolor part 1
Best for traditional painting style
Landscape painting is a very relaxing pastime, especially if you’re able to take the time to truly enjoy it. This watercolor landscape class from Udemy could take your art in an entirely new direction!
Expert landscape painter Andy Walker will teach you how to paint your own scenes using a loose brush technique. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you’re able to achieve after just a few lessons.
If you find this course useful, you’ll be pleased to learn that there’s a second part, so you can continue to hone your landscape paintings.
- Great landscape painting techniques
- There’s a second part if you enjoy the course!
- Lifetime access
- One and a half hours of video, plus 13 downloadable resources
- The course is very classic and traditional in style, so not suitable for anyone interested in a more contemporary look
Begin the Paint landscapes in watercolor part 1 course from Udemy
10. Water painting class
Best for painting watery scenes
Painting water is a challenging skill to master in any medium, whether you’re using watercolors, acrylics, gouache or oils. However, if you can get the hang of it then your finished paintings will look very polished and professional.
If you’re determined to conquer this difficult theme, this is the perfect course for you. You’ll learn a wide range of skills, from structuring a painting to understanding your art materials.
This course will give you a solid understanding of the way that light interacts with water, ways to depict ripples on the surface and much more.
- Shows you how to master a tricky technique
- Lots of technical info and exercises to have a go at
- You could paint every day for a month!
- Skillshare subscription required
- Extremely long course (one day and 17 hours of video)
Sign up for the Aqua: Let us master water, ocean, waves and seascapes with watercolours in 30 days class from Skillshare
Why online watercolor classes are essential for busy artists
We get it – not everyone has time to fit in an evening class or commit to a regular painting time. That’s why online watercolor classes are so brilliant – they’re flexible enough to fit in around work and other commitments. You can just dip in and out of the class whenever you have time!
Taking a watercolor class online also means that you can pick your teacher, or choose a course that reflects your passions. Whether you’re a novice or a painting pro, you can find the right class for your level of experience.
Watercolor is such a beautiful and versatile medium, it’s worth taking the time to learn how to get the most out of it. You’ll be creating your own fabulous paintings in no time, whether you enjoy portraiture or want to produce more abstract work.
Creative watercolor ideas to try right away
It can be frustrating if you’re in the mood for a painting session and can’t decide what to paint. Don’t worry, we’re here to help!
We’ve put together a selection of stunning watercolor projects for you to explore, from dreamy galaxies to fabulous flower designs.
Explore amazing watercolor painting ideas brought to you by Gathered.
Sarah Orme is a UK-based linocut printmaker, digital editor, feature writer and award-winning podcaster. She's been editing the sewing and art sections of Gathered.how – and before that our sister website calmmoment.com – for over 3 years. She’s the host of Gathered’s We’ve Made It podcast and A Calmer Life podcast. She’s a keen crafter and artist and loves creating DIY tutorials for Gathered. Sarah has previously written features for The Guardian, In The Moment Magazine, Project Calm Magazine, countryfile.com, radiotimes.com and yourhomestyle.uk. She enjoys designing her own unique lino prints and dreams of opening her own online shop. She shares her work @sarahormeprints
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