Best Watercolor Painting Books For Beginners, Intermediate, And Professional Artists

Michael Daly
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Are you a budding artist who is looking to leap into watercolor painting?

Most of us know that watercolor paint can be a little tricky to work with. It can be a pretty intimidating medium to get into, and even the best watercolor paints will require a good amount of practice to use effectively.

But there is good news!

If you are looking to get into watercolor painting but are a little nervous about the learning curve involved, you can buy a watercolor or painting book.
Here are some of my favorites.

NameCategoryProduct
Everyday Watercolor: Learn to Paint Watercolor in 30 DaysBest OverallEveryday Watercolor: Learn to Paint Watercolor in 30 Days
Modern Watercolor: A playful and contemporary exploration of watercolor paintingBudget PickModern Watercolor: A playful and contemporary exploration of watercolor painting
Breaking the Rules of WatercolourUpgrade PickBreaking the Rules of Watercolour

1. Everyday Watercolor: Learn to Paint Watercolor in 30 Days

Our rating: 9 / 10

Everyday Watercolor: Learn to Paint Watercolor in 30 Days

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Pros:

  • Easy for beginners to follow
  • Beautiful photo-based painting illustrations
  • Well-organized

Cons:

  • Poor paper quality
  • Small text strains eyes
  • Vague instructions

This is one of the best watercolor painting books for beginners and those who enjoy watercolor’s simplicity. It’s a beautiful book that allows you to create your work of art daily.

One thing that we love about this book is the guide to watercolor supplies. It gives you a clear idea of what you need and what you have on hand to create your paintings. The booklet also offers some suggestions to find, secure, and store your watercolors.

Each chapter of the book offers you an exciting activity, with easy-to-follow instructions, a project, and a designer tip. It’s easy for even beginners to follow these simple instructions and produce beautiful paintings.

2. The Complete Watercolorist's Essential Notebook: A treasury of watercolor secrets discovered through decades of painting and experimentation

Our rating: 7 / 10

The Complete Watercolorist's Essential Notebook: A treasury of watercolor secrets discovered through decades of painting and experimentation

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Pros:

  • Great For beginner, intermediate and professional artists
  • Good collection of principles and concepts
  • Include tips, techniques, and ideas
  • Contains lessons for creative fulfillment and better watercolor paintings

Cons:

  • Only covers one perspective of tube watercolor
  • Some readers believe it's for experienced artists

This book has been referred to by many as a must-have Watercolor painting guide. It was written by renowned artist and cartoonist Gordon MacKenzie. You should check this book out if you are interested in starting your career in Watercolors.

3. Texture Techniques for Winning Watercolors

Our rating: 7 / 10

Texture Techniques for Winning Watercolors

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Pros:

  • Explains Ray Hendershot's texture techniques
  • Teaches spattering and spritzing, scraping and blotting
  • It covers a multitude of watercolor painting techniques
  • Step-by-step instruction on painting landscapes
  • Beautiful photographs of the texture techniques

Cons:

  • Poor paper quality
  • Washed out illustrations

Watercolor painting is the ideal art form for beginners to learn if you’re just starting your art journey. The pace of a watercolor painting is much slower than acrylic art or an oil painting, which helps you focus on building up your skills.
Texture Techniques for Winning Watercolors is a fantastic painting guide that we enjoy and use to develop our skills at home. The content is amazing, but users have issues with the poor printing and paper quality.

The instructional course will lead you through everything you need to know about this wonderful art form, including color mixing techniques, tips for working with color, underpainting, the basics of watercolor paper, and how to finish your painting.

4. Modern Watercolor: A playful and contemporary exploration of watercolor painting

Our rating: 7 / 10

Modern Watercolor: A playful and contemporary exploration of watercolor painting

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Pros:

  • Excellent selection of art techniques
  • Great selection of watercolor painting supplies
  • Easy to understand how to create stunning results
  • The book contains a wide variety of topics
  • Provides several techniques and approaches for creating original art

Cons:

  • Discusses fundamental techniques only suitable for kids or beginners

This is a 129-page large-format paperback book that describes the ins and outs of watercolor painting techniques suitable for beginners. The book is crammed full of color illustrations and step-by-step instructions.

Modern Watercolor is a fantastic book for those interested in creating stunning canvases and imaginative paintings in their own home. Though the book is aimed at watercolors, you can apply the techniques to other mediums, including acrylics and oil paints.

The authors provide a vast selection of techniques and supplies, and the experience they bring together in this book is top-notch.

5. Watercolor 365: Daily Tips, Tricks and Techniques

Our rating: 6 / 10

Watercolor 365: Daily Tips, Tricks and Techniques

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Pros:

  • 52 mini step-by-step demonstrations
  • 52 Q&A's
  • 52 troubleshooting tips
  • 52 bits of creative advice
  • 52 general tips
  • 52 definitions
  • 52 exercises to improve your artistic skills

Cons:

  • Poor page quality
  • Geared towards novice
  • Useless tips and tricks section

In this book, expert craftsman Gary Greene shares tips and techniques you can integrate into your artwork to teach yourself how to develop new ideas and create masterpieces. The book is divided into chapters to help the reader stay organized. Each chapter covers a different category.

You’d be surprised how much illumination and inspiration this book can provide for your watercolor paintings. After reading this book, you’d be able to understand how shadow affects a painting, how water behaves, and how you can find your painting style.

6. Watercolour for the Absolute Beginner: The Society

Our rating: 6 / 10

Watercolour for the Absolute Beginner: The Society

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Pros:

  • Excellent for beginner watercolorists
  • Lots of helpful hints to provide guidance
  • Great way to learn techniques
  • Teaches you how to create paintings from start to finish
  • Includes tips on brushes
  • Demonstrates techniques for mixing shades, and restoring skin tones
  • Six simple step-by-step painting exercises
  • Plenty of tips and tricks for beginners

Cons:

  • Suitable for people with good painting know-how

This book is a comprehensive course in watercolor landscape painting by expert Society of All Artists tutor Matthew Palmer. Matthew is renowned for his beautiful, detailed paintings and teaching effective painting using simple techniques.

7. Watercolor Techniques: Painting Light and Color in Landscapes and Cityscapes

Our rating: 6 / 10

Watercolor Techniques: Painting Light and Color in Landscapes and Cityscapes

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Pros:

  • Expert advice for infusing scenes with color and light
  • Includes special tips for painting architectural subjects
  • Illustrated with inspiring paintings
  • 8 start-to-finish demonstrations

Cons:

  • Blurry pictures

This book is an easy way to learn how to paint light and color for the great outdoors. It’s packed with valuable exercises for creating beautiful landscape paintings. The book contains many paintings, including cityscapes, rural scenes, and everything in between.

The book also provides detailed instructions on creating pleasing color combinations and mixing up your paint to get the proper effects.

8. Breaking the Rules of Watercolour

Our rating: 6 / 10

Breaking the Rules of Watercolour

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Pros:

  • Book discusses ten paintings in great detail
  • A fun, easy-to-follow guide to watercolor painting
  • Makes painting fun and helps you reduce stress
  • Explains how to paint with a wet-on-wet technique
  • Clean lines, color, and easy-to-follow painting techniques
  • Large close-up details of paintings under discussion

Cons:

  • Suitable for accomplished painters only
  • Repeated projects from the previous books by the same author

If you’re interested in painting but aren’t interested in creating the same sort of traditional painting techniques you’re used to seeing, then this book might be the one for you. It explains in a very easy-to-understand way how much easier painting can be than you might think.

This book, filled with color, shows how you can break the rules and still make beautiful, unique paintings that you’ll love. It’s a wonderful book that makes a great addition to any art lover’s collection.

9. If You Are Bored

Our rating: 6 / 10

If You Are Bored

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Pros:

  • Easy step-by-step guide
  • Great for complete beginners
  • Simple and fun projects
  • Simple projects anyone can complete

Cons:

  • Short of sketches
  • Very basic, Useful for beginners only
  • Boring and uninspiring for advanced painters

Who could have thought watercolor could be so much fun? We certainly didn’t until we started going through this book. The book itself is so fun to read that even if you never actually pick up a paintbrush, you’ll still enjoy learning the basics of watercolor painting.

The book starts by teaching you all the basic brush techniques and how to paint objects like flowers, leaves, and fruits. You’ll then be shown how to blend colors, make an apple tree, draw sandwiches, and even paint a basket of dog biscuits.

10. Painting Watercolors

Our rating: 6 / 10

Painting Watercolors

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Pros:

  • Great for beginners and hobby artists
  • Very clear and easy to understand
  • Suggests tools and materials for a good, affordable start
  • Explains watercolor terms
  • Easy and useful painting

Cons:

  • Demonstration photographs are too small to see
  • Difficult for beginners to follow

For many people, the idea of painting watercolors as an art form is intimidating. Painting Watercolors For Beginners is an excellent book for anyone who wants to learn watercolor painting, especially if you have a good know-how of painting and watercolors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What type of brush is best used for watercolor painting?

Round brushes are the most versatile and widely used brush for watercolor painting. Their type of brush is most suitable for small details and delicate lines, but also broader strokes and washes in watercolor painting.

The important part is to know what you are comfortable with. The brush you are most comfortable with will likely be easier and more natural to use in your paintings.

What is best quality brands of watercolor?

Watercolor paints are made from various pigments that are suspended in a water-based liquid. The pigments can be organic or synthetic, permanent or non-permanent.

While today, there are more than a thousand different watercolor brands available, but if you are a beginner, you must choose a superior brand that can inspire you to work further in watercolor.

Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolors, Prima Marketing Watercolor Confections: The Classics, Reeves 24-Pack Water Color Paint Set, Royal Talens Van Gogh Watercolors, Daniel Smith Introductory Watercolors are few to name.

What is the best surface for watercolor painting?

One can paint watercolor on paper, board, or a variety of prepared surfaces. You can also paint it on canvas, but the surface of the canvas is of the utmost importance. For watercolor painting, a stretched, primed canvas is the best surface on which to paint. However, stretching the canvas yourself isn’t a bad thing.

Conclusion

Let's face it – every time you paint a watercolor or practice drawing a picture, you're making a tiny investment of time and effort. The right book can help you multiply both the quality and the quantity of your portfolio without you having to make any additional effort.
Therefore, I’ve gleaned the top 10 best books in the market, each of which is perfect for someone who wants to improve their watercolor painting skills.
I believe that the right book will help you get the results you seek if that's your passion. Fishing for a bestseller will help you meet your artistic goals, no matter how experienced, inexperienced, or skilled you are.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Everyday Watercolor: Learn to Paint Watercolor in 30 DaysBest OverallEveryday Watercolor: Learn to Paint Watercolor in 30 Days
Modern Watercolor: A playful and contemporary exploration of watercolor paintingBudget PickModern Watercolor: A playful and contemporary exploration of watercolor painting
Breaking the Rules of WatercolourUpgrade PickBreaking the Rules of Watercolour