If you have always wanted to learn watercolor painting, this may be just what you’re looking for. These adult watercolor coloring books will guide you through the basics while creating beautiful art. Once you’re comfortable, you can go on to compose your own paintings.
If you’d like to wear your art, also see How to Paint Shoes.
Quick Links – Watercolor Coloring Books
Artist Kristy Rice has kicked it up a notch with this gorgeous 3-book Painterly Days series with woodland, flower, and pattern themes.
I’ve mentioned before that the plan I naively devised as a child to bring peace to the world still seems like a good option: encourage everyone to take time every day to create.
Whether it’s gardening, knitting, cooking, painting, woodworking, sewing, beekeeping, or whatever you love to do, even a few minutes spent in that place far away from worries, responsibilities, and obligations, can do wonders to restore a feeling of inner balance and contentment each day.
My mission with this blog has always been to share the things that bring me that inner joy. So many people get their creative mojo stomped upon as they’re growing up, shut down by others who tell them they can’t do it, or it’s not good enough, or blah blah blah.
Nothing makes me happier than to see this same person, as an adult, brush themselves off, press the reset button, and try again.
As crazy as the whole adult coloring book trend has been—and it’s really nothing new—it can be very good indeed.
So many people feel that visceral (and natural) desire to explore their creativity and what’s simpler than a coloring book and some pencils or paints?
Anything that gets the hands working, away from screens, and into the world of creativity can help.
This series by Kristy Rice has 3 books:
Artist Kristy Rice (kristyrice.com) must have been reading my mind when she made these adult watercoloring books. A few months ago, I started printing out free coloring sheets I’ve found online onto good quality paper so I use watercolor paints with them.
These three books are all printed on 80-lb artist’s quality paper and work beautifully with a variety of media including pencil crayons, markers, acrylic paints, and watercolor pencils and paints. You can use any combination and the paper holds up just fine.
The paper is such high quality that markers will not bleed through the page and, even if you use quite a bit of water (for a special effect), it does not soak through to the back of the page.
Kristy’s mantra is art for joy’s sake and the illustrations are a perfect vehicle for this. They are done in an open, free-hand style that lends itself perfectly to watercolors. Each book has 25 illustrations and—bonus—you get two of each, so there’s one for practice and another for your final version.
I really think this is a whole new direction for grownup coloring books. I know as a kid I also craved better quality designs and paper. That cheap, gray newsprint stuff can ruin the best drawings!
If you are already an accomplished artist with watercolors and like to create your own designs, you probably won’t have any need for these books. I think they’re best suited for anyone who wants to try watercolor painting without the stress of coming up with a design or feels overwhelmed by big, blank pages.
With these books, the illustrations are there, but there’s plenty of space for infusing your own style or ideas.
And, with two opportunities to paint each illustration, you could have a lot of fun trying out completely different color schemes or painting styles.
In each of the books, several of the illustrations include quotes to inspire and encourage you.
“Just living is not enough…one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” ~ Hans Christian Andersen
“To see a world in a grand of sand. And heaven in a wild flower. Hold infinity in the palm of your hand. And eternity in an hour.” ~William Blake
The front section of each of the books has a collection of tips to help you with various painting techniques as well as encouragement for art making (and life) in general.
Watercolor paints are unique as they allow everything from dry-brush application to letting those pigments loose in tiny puddles of water, giving them a life of their own. I know that flowing colors aspect is the part that makes some people nervous, but once you let go and see what happens, it’s really fun (and rather addictive).
If it works out beautifully, take credit. If it goes a bit haywire, well, the water did it, not you! And seriously, the more you spend time on it, the better control you’ll have. It doesn’t take long before you can tell how much paint you want on the brush or how much water to dab.
The one problem with introducing someone to a new type of art making is, you don’t want them to spend a bunch of money on stuff they might only use once, but neither do you want them to get cheap supplies that will frustrate them and make them never want to try again.
With some variation, you really do get what you pay for in art supplies.
I’ve been using watercolor paints since I was a kid and there’s certain brands that just do very well for me and others that do not. It’s not going to be the same for everyone, so be willing to try some different brands.
Start with supplies that fit your budget and be aware that you can’t expect Winsor & Newton quality from an inexpensive pack of Crayola paints, but you can still have fun. If you get hooked on watercolor painting, start exploring good art supply stores, test samples, ask questions, and keep a wish list for later.
Here’s the basics to get started. Links go to Amazon.
- Watercolor adult coloring book – make sure you get good quality paper like these ones have.
Painterly Days: The Woodland Watercoloring Book for Adults
Painterly Days: The Flower Watercoloring Book for Adults
Painterly Days: The Pattern Watercoloring Book for Adults
- Watercolor pencils – these are great for getting color in small spaces.
The Prismacolors are a good kit to start with.
- Watercolor paints – pick a kit with a range of colours you like.
You can see some suggestions (below).
- Pencil sharpener
- Water pen – I love these!
I use a fine tip one for just about all my painting.
- Paint brushes (the smaller the number (e.g. #2), the finer the tip).
Affordable Beginner Materials
Here’s what Kristy recommends in the books:
- Artist's Loft Fundamental Watercolor (24 or 36 Pan Set).
- Crayola Washable Watercolors (24 ct set)
- Cotman Watercolour Field Plus Set by Windsor & Newton
- Watercolor Pencil 24 or 36-Piece Set by Prismacolor
Kristy’s Personal Favorites
- Kremer Watercolor Set 1 – available at art shops in various color themes
- F Pearlescent Shimmering Liquid Acrylic by Daler-Rowney
- 24 Inktense Watersoluable Ink Pencils by Derwent
- Series 4200 Mini-Majestic Brushes by Royal and Langnickel, 1/8″ dagger.
- University Series Short Handled Brushes by Winsor & Newton (#2, #6, #10).
- Professional Water Colors by Winsor & Newton
I hope this has given you the encouragement you need to get started. It doesn’t have to be this project. You already know which ones resonate with you. Get your materials and make the time. Art for joy’s sake awaits you. 🙂
I hope this has given you the encouragement needed to try watercolor painting. These painting books offer a unique way to ease into this art form without becoming overwhelmed. Enjoy!
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛