The best watercolor classes online for beginners and up

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Watercolor is a remarkable art medium because it’s just so approachable. With just a cup of water and a few paints, you can create incredible pieces of art!

Then again, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll just end up with a soggy mess. I would know. 

Attending watercolor workshops in person is ideal, but I’ve also come across a bunch of fantastic online classes that are definitely worth checking out. 

With that in mind, I’ve put together this list of the best watercolor classes online! It pulls from several online course platforms and covers various themes and techniques.

I’ve also included a few resources with free online watercolor classes at the end of the article that I highly recommend if you’re just getting started — I find them especially useful for beginners.

These are less comprehensive but are a great way to test the waters (so to speak).

Let’s get to it!

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Best watercolor classes online

Now, it’s time to get down to business. Here are my picks for the best watercolor classes online for beginners and up!

Modern Watercolor Techniques

Modern Watercolor Techniques best watercolor classes

Teacher: Ana Victoria Calderon (@anavictoriana)
Platform: Domestika
Level: Beginner/intermediate

Duration: 32 Lessons (3h 20m)
Audio: English + Spanish
Subtitles: Yes (CC)

First up is this quirky watercolor class on Domestika taught by illustrator and artist Ana Victoria Calderon based in Mexico City.

While covering the basics, the main point of this course is to learn unique techniques by mixing watercolor paint with other materials like salt, alcohol, nail polish remover, chlorine, and more.

This one is all about experimenting with watercolors to create intricate textures. The final project is creating a galaxy or nebula design (definitely one of my favorites!), which can be adapted for patterns, landscapes, and countless other illustration styles.

Ana has two other watercolor courses on Domestika and also hosts shorter courses on Skillshare. If you’ve never heard of her, trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

These Skillshare watercolor classes don’t have the same production value as the Domestika course linked below but can be enjoyed for free with a 1-month trial subscription to Skillshare.

Architectural Sketching with Watercolor and Ink

Architectural Sketching with Watercolor and Ink best watercolor classes

Teacher: Alex Hillkurtz (@hillkurtz)
Platform: Domestika
Level: Beginner

Duration: 20 lessons (3h 31m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: Yes (CC)

For urban sketchers or architecture fans who want to add a splash of color to their works, this is one of the best online watercolor classes to take. And it’s once again on Domestika, so expect fantastic production values!

While it doesn’t go as in-depth into watercolor techniques as the previous course, it does cover a bunch of other useful topics.

You’ll learn how to create light and shadows with watercolor, the basics of perspective drawing, and how to compose and frame your images for impactful displays.

If you want to lean into urban sketching even harder, check out this urban sketching course by Lupin, which still uses watercolors but focuses more on building a scene with people and other details.

Watercolor Illustration with Japanese Influence

Watercolor illustration with Japanese influence Domestika course best watercolor classes

Teacher: Flor Kaneshiro
Platform: Domestika
Level: Beginner

Duration: 22 lessons (3h 15m)
Audio: Spanish
Subtitles: Yes (CC)

If you love Japanese brushwork or artwork from Studio Ghibli films, stop what you’re doing and check out this watercolor course. It’s oh-so worth it!

Taught by Argentine illustrator Flor Kaneshiro, during this class, you’ll learn the basics of watercolor art with a Japanese flair that you won’t find anywhere else.

Read the interview: Illustrator Flor Kaneshiro on finding her personal style

You’ll learn ancient Sumi-e techniques, which create monochromatic nature paintings with precise brush movements.

Flor will also show you how to adapt them to colorful watercolor paintings that look like they were lifted from a Japanese children’s book. She also runs through basic supplies for beginners, from watercolor paint sets to watercolor blocks and more.

We have a complete guide on the best children’s book illustration classes if this is a creative hobby you’d like to explore further with watercolors!

Artistic Watercolor Techniques for Illustrating Birds

Watercolor techniques for illustrating birds best watercolor courses

Teacher: Sarah Stokes
Platform: Domestika
Level: Beginner

Duration: 18 lessons (3h 14m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: Yes (CC)

Animals can be a challenging subject for beginners to draw — even more so when you add the unpredictable nature of watercolors. Thankfully, this online watercolor class covers exactly that.

This course focuses specifically on drawing birds, which is a great way to get used to working with bright watercolor paints. UK-based artist Sarah Stokes walks you through the entire process, making this the ideal watercolor class for newbies.

Also, while your final project is to paint four birds on a branch, all the techniques covered can be applied to any other wildlife. If you’re an artsy animal lover like me, you’ll really appreciate the content in this class! 

If you want a more freeform take on painting nature, check out this similar course, incorporating watercolors and colored pencils.

Botanical Illustration with Watercolors

Botanical Illustration best watercolor classes

Teacher: Paulina Maciel (@canela_estudio)
Platform: Domestika
Level: Beginner

Duration: 17 Lessons (2h 32m)
Audio: English + Spanish
Subtitles: Yes (CC)

Speaking of nature, we can’t leave out the wonderful world of plants and flowers. This is one of my favorite themes; I can’t get enough of floral-inspired watercolor washes!

There are a number of watercolor courses focused on floral techniques. Still, I chose this one because it runs through the entire process of painting and digitizing your work to create gorgeous custom stationery.

Unlike other watercolor classes online, this one has you paint from a real flower, so you can see all aspects of the plant in three dimensions.

Also, you only need a watercolor set and a watercolor sketchbook, so it’s perfect for beginners. It’s also a great course to complement your botanical illustration skills!

If you want to branch out from watercolors, the same teacher has another course called Botanical Watercolor Sketchbook. It combines watercolor techniques with colored pencils for added detail.

Watercolor in the Woods: A Beginner’s Guide to Painting the Natural World

Watercolor in the Woods best Watercolor classes online

Teacher: Rosalie Haizlett (@rosaliehaizlett)
Platform: Skillshare
Level: Beginner

Duration: 13 Lessons (41m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: Yes (CC)

Flowers are a beautiful subject, but there’s so much more to the natural world begging to be painted. 

This course features artist and illustrator Rosalie Haizlett, who covers how to draw and paint mushrooms, leaves, and all sorts of plant life you can find near your home (if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere surrounded by nature!).

Needless to say, this is a dream course for fans of cottagecore! This class is on Skillshare, which is a subscription-based platform. This means that thousands of courses are unlocked with a single subscription.

However, a one-month free trial is available at the link below, which is more than enough time to finish this course and most of the best watercolor classes on the platform!

This class is shorter, which is good news if you’re more of the cut-to-the-chase type. In addition to this course, Rosalie has two more quick watercolor classes for natural textures and landscapes with even more techniques.

Watercolor Landscapes — A Master Class for Beginners

Watercolor Landscapes - best watercolor classes

Teacher: Zaneena Nabeel (@aurorabyz)
Platform: Skillshare
Level: Beginner

Duration: 18 Lessons (3h 29m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: Yes (CC)

As far as the best watercolor classes on Skillshare go, this is definitely one of the most exhaustive. Focusing on landscapes, it covers tons of watercolor skills — but always with a practical application in mind.

Once you’ve learned techniques to paint skies, trees, and mountains, you’ll combine them to create a finished landscape painting. Or, to be more accurate, four finished landscape paintings.

Your teacher, Zaneena Nabeel, has many more online watercolor classes on Skillshare, each with a specific focus, like pine treesseascapesgalaxies, and more. 

I highly recommend checking these courses out; you can start your free one-month trial at the link below!

Watercolor Painting For Beginners

Watercolor class for beginners

Teacher: Broderick Wong
Platform: Udemy
Level: Beginner

Duration: 130 lectures (6h 51m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: Yes (CC)

If you’re looking for a true masterclass in watercolor, look no further than this in-depth beginner’s course on Udemy.

Taught by award-winning artist Broderick Wong, you’ll learn everything you need to know and then some more, over 130 video lessons.

What’s great about this course (apart from the nearly 7 hours of content!) is its engaging content. You won’t have to worry about dull theory explanations and can jump into hands-on exercises.

It’s also impeccably produced with perfect lighting and camera work. Since it’s on Udemy, it’s available for a one-time purchase. It can be pricey (when not on sale), but it’s certainly worth it.

If you enjoy this watercolor class, the same teacher has two more courses on painting watercolor landscapes and more advanced techniques.

The Mechanics of Watercolor Painting

The Mechanics of Watercolor Painting

Teacher: Jill Poyerd
Platform: Udemy
Level: Beginner/intermediate

Duration: 38 lectures (3h 59m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: Yes (CC)

For those of you who already have a well-defined art style, some of these watercolor classes might not suit what you want to do.

This Udemy course is focused on mechanical techniques and skills with watercolor, so you can apply them however you want.

The course is broken up into three main sections: brush handling, mixing, and applying paints. Each section has a host of exercises to practice, but there really isn’t a final project.

This online watercolor course is excellent for beginners and intermediate painters who want to truly understand how watercolor paints work.

While this is the most complete, Jill has several more deep-dive courses on Udemy.

Startup Library: Painting With Watercolors

Startup Library: Painting With Watercolors

Teacher: Kateri Ewing
Platform: Craftsy
Level: Beginner

Duration: 14 Lessons (6h 02m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: Yes (CC)

The last of the best watercolor classes on our list is for you if you’ve been searching for a comprehensive course to master the basics. It’s also my only pick from Craftsy, but it’s totally worth it.

Taught by watercolorist Kateri Erwing, this class runs for over six hours. During this time, your teacher will guide you through everything from the fundamentals of the art form to essential supplies and techniques.

You’ll also learn about watercolor paints, palettes, paper, brushes, color mixing, and more. Learning how to create basic landscapes/seascapes and mixed-medium projects will also be covered. The topics in this course are pure gold!

Note that this isn’t the cheapest option. However, it’s worth it if you’re looking for the real deal. Remember, most in-person watercolor classes go for a pretty penny, anyway. 

If you’re interested, I suggest signing up for the Premium membership; it will pay off at just $8 a month (or $80 a year). This will give you access to more of the best watercolor classes and painting courses on the platform! 

Best watercolor classes by theme

If you’re looking for the best watercolor classes under a specific theme, here are a few more of our favorites!

Online watercolor classes for free

Although not as comprehensive as the best watercolor classes featured above, these free videos are a good way to dip your toes into the medium as a beginner.

Of course, you can also get a free one-month trial of Skillshare or a 60-day free trial of Creativebug to check out more polished courses without spending a dime.

The best source of free watercolor tutorials is YouTube. Here are a few of my favorite watercolor YouTube channels to get you started:

  • Watercolor by ShibasakiFantastic (subtitled) watercolor tutorials from everyone’s favorite Japanese grandpa. Think Bob Ross, but Japanese and for watercolors. Need I say more?
  • Watercolor MisfitGreat tutorials and tips for watercolor painting. She also has a few of her own watercolor classes online linked in her channel.
  • Jay Lee PaintingOne of the biggest (and best) painting channels on YouTube. Excellent tutorials and techniques are posted several times a week.
  • Maria RaczynskaBeautiful painting videos covering a wide variety of styles and subject matter. On YouTube, the videos just have music, but if you subscribe on Patreon, you can watch them with instructional voiceovers.

How to choose the best watercolor classes for you

Watercolor classes_FEATURE
Photo via Stephanie Bento (Tiny Workshops)

Watercolor painting may seem simple, but in reality, it involves mastering quite a few techniques.  

When I was starting out, choosing watercolor classes based on themes helped me stay motivated and on track. 

By picking a theme or subject you’re interested in, whether architectural illustration, children’s books, or botanical illustration, you’ll learn how to apply specific watercolor skills to the art you want to make! 

You’ll also learn a few secondary skills to start drawing and painting finished pieces. Besides the best watercolor classes listed at the top of our guide, we’ve included a few more options categorized by theme further below.

For a comprehensive overview of the craft, you can also check out our watercolor for beginners guide!

Best platforms for learning

Before we get to the list of the best watercolor classes, it’s worth mentioning that there are a variety of platforms to choose from.

Most of you have probably heard of the likes of Skillshare and Udemy (and there are classes from these platforms listed below), but my favorite platform for creative courses is Domestika.


Well, for starters, every class features an industry expert. Secondly, videos are curated by a professional in-house production crew, pushing production values well beyond what you’ll find on most learning platforms.

Also, courses are one-time purchases with no subscription required and are frequently on sale for less than $10. Check out my picks for the best courses on Domestika, or create a free account to learn more.

However, the platform does provide a monthly/yearly subscription option: Domestika Plus. This includes one course to keep forever per month, plus access to a rotating library of classes, completion certificates, and more!

Even subscribing for one month to get a single course often works out cheaper than buying the course outright. Just remember to cancel it!

That’s it for this guide to the best watercolor classes. Have you taken any of these classes (or others)? Let everyone know your thoughts in the comments below!

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