This post was most recently updated on October 15th, 2018
Finding The Best Watercolor Classes On Skillshare
If you search Skillshare for “watercolor”, there are 899 results at the time of writing this blog post!
That’s a lot to sort through! You could narrow them down by which ones are free to take (31) compared to premium (868), how many are over an hour long (145) compared to less than 15 minutes (89). I’m not sure what watercoloring concept can be taught in under 15 minutes, but with classes being as short as 10 minutes on Skillshare, it’s possible to take a few classes in your lunch-break if that’s something you’d like to do! 🙂
If you want new classes, you can check out the 39 watercolor classes released this month, or just the 18 released this week!
Alternatively, you could go for the classes Skillshare ranks as best in their search results.
The top search-result class has 5,454 students and is only 10 minutes long. It’s actually a totally free class called “Watercolor: Basic Techniques” by Sandra Bowers.
To get the most from Skillshare, you will probably want to access their premium catalogue, which makes up about 90% of all classes on the platform. Premium classes are ones that generate revenue for the teacher when they’re watched by premium members, which means they’re generally of better quality. Premium membership costs $96 per year, or $15 per month, but you can get two months for FREE by following this link.
Some of the best longer, Premium watercolour classes on Skillshare are by Ana Victoria Calderon…
Her beginners class is called, “Modern Watercolor Techniques: Beginner’s Level“. Clocking in at 2 hours and 20 minutes, and with nearly 20,000 students, this class should give you a really good foundation in painting with watercolours.
Ana describes the class as teaching…
“both basic watercolor techniques and fun new ways to use your paints mixed with other mediums and house hold supplies, such as salt and bleach. I will give you an in depth look into my favorite art supplies and how to use them properly. Watercolor can be intimidating, but I promise I will make it easy and fun with these tips and tricks. You will be amazed with the results you can obtain with my simple direction!”
She must be doing a good job, because the reviews are excellent. Of 1,853 reviews, 1,839 are positive, a whopping 99.2%! Some feedback includes..
“As the title says, it has exercises for the beginner that I think are going to come on handy!” Enhoe Paola
“This class is awesome. The teacher makes a detailed explanation of her amazing techniques and shares unique secrets! Can’t wait to see what else I can learn from her here :)” Elizabeth Martinez
“I wanted to get a fresh perspective of watercolor and I had always dismissed it. I liked the title of this class “Modern Watercolor”. I respect those who can paint landscapes but landscapes aren’t how I want to express myself. I loved the video production, the atmosphere in the instructors room, and the demeanor of the the instructor. Not only were the instructions clear but the projects were beautiful and doable. I couldn’t wait to get back to the next instruction. I can’t wait to take more classes from Ana. High quality class.” Danine Robertus
People seem to like the class project which is to, “paint a fun, starry night, galaxy or universe watercolor painting using transparencies, gradients, detail, pulse, precision and mixed media“. One of the 413 submitted projects is this beautiful nebula…
Ana has other popular watercolouring classes on Skillshare, such as, “Watercolor and mixed media“, which is 2 hours 45 minutes long, with nearly 6,000 students and 470 positive reviews.
This class shows you…
“how to achieve great results painting in negative space, using either your pulse and precision skills, or masking fluid, as well as techniques for using white paint (ink or acrylics) over you watercolors.
I also demonstrate a variety of paintings I have created and explain why and how I used certain techniques.
I addition, we will dive into experimental watercolor even more, using different mediums and household supplies, including masking fluid, acetone (nail polish remover), thick grain salt… to name a few!
By the end of this class you will be able to complete an AMAZING watercolor illustration, using the various techniques we have learned. You will also begin to train your watercolor brain to think in layers and sections.”
A third class by Ana is called “Watercolor textures” which lasts for 2 hours 3 minutes, with 5,630 students and 436 positive reviews…
In this class, Ana teaches how to create…
“AMAZING watercolor paintings using these simple tools and applying them to your ideas and a final work of art in mind.
We begin by practicing our textures is this really fun activity I like to call texture swatches. Through this activity I will bring you into my creative process and experience how I come up with new ideas.
I will also show you examples of fantastic artists I admire and analyze how they apply textures into their works of art.
By the time we get to our final project you will be a pro at textures and will have the confidence to jump into a final illustration with full commitment. Our final project will be painting an animal and/or the environment surrounding it. I promise you’ll make something beautiful! :D”
Just to round out the top-5, Ana has a class called “A guide to watercolour paints and brands” at 3 hours 48 minutes, with 1,317 students and 68 positive reviews.
In this class, Ana describes…
“a BUNCH of different watercolor sets I am eager to share with you today. We will compare and review different brands, including quality, vibrance, lightfastness, transparency level, grain, presentation and pricing. My goal is for you to discover new types of paints and figure out which is the best brand for you!
We will go over pan sets, watercolor tubes, liquid watercolors, metallics and even neons!
Your final project will be creating a watercolor guide of your own. The project gallery for this class will end up being an awesome library of every type of watercolors if we all work together 😀 So feel free to share information with the rest of the class, this will be a great place to go back to.”
Important notes and tips…
Note, in the past, Skillshare counted anyone who signed up for your class as a “student”, whether they were free students or premium students and it was easy to pad your student numbers. Now it’s much harder to inflate the student numbers because people have to watch half of a class to be counted as a student. So classes which are older may have higher student numbers than those which are newer. Also, classes which are longer will have fewer students than those which are shorter. That’s just something to bear in mind when choosing which classes to watch.
One thing Skillshare doesn’t do on the search results pages is show the reviews a class got. You can’t tell whether a class got a lot of positive reviews, a lot of negative ones, or a mix. Only when you visit a class landing page can you see the details.
Another way to narrow down which classes to watch is to consider using a tighter search term. Do you want to paint watercolor flowers, learn about different watercolor brushes, or get started with some easy watercolor projects? By including more keywords in your searches, you can get a smaller list of possible classes, but those classes will be more likely to teach exactly what you’d like to know.
One other tip is to consider taking a quick class by a teacher you’re interested in learning from, rather than start with a class over two hours long. If you enjoy learning from the teacher’s short class, then you can check out their profile for the other classes they teach. Similarly, if you don’t like a particular teacher, it’s better to find that out after a 10 minute class than a two hour marathon! 🙂 Sandra actually uses this technique from a teacher’s point of view. The “Watercolor: Basic Techniques” class is only 10-minutes long, but is actually taken from her “Watercolor Florals: Orchids” premium class which is 1 hour and 16 minutes long. Sandra is effectively offering the first 10 minutes of that class for free, hoping that you’ll then take the premium class, which will earn her some revenue. By contrast, all of Ana’s classes are over 2 hours long, so there’s no way to take a quick class by her, although you could just watch the first ten minutes of any of her classes and see if you like them.