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The best watercolor classes online for beginners and up

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.

Attending watercolor workshops in person is ideal, but did you know that there are also fantastic online classes you can enjoy from the comfort of your home?

That said, I’ve put together this list of the best watercolor classes online! It pulls from several online course platforms and covers a variety of themes and techniques.

I’ve also included a few resources with free online watercolor classes at the end of the article — you’re welcome! These are a bit less comprehensive, but are a great way to test the waters (so to speak).

Let’s get to it!

Affiliate disclosure: Articles on Tiny Workshops may contain affiliate links.

How to choose the best watercolor class for you

Despite its apparent simplicity, there’s a lot of technique involved in watercolor painting. When it comes to picking a course, I recommend choosing based on themes.

By picking a theme or subject you’re interested in, like architectural illustration, children’s books, or nature, you’ll learn precisely how to apply certain watercolor skills to your art.

You’ll also learn a few secondary skills so you can start drawing and painting finished pieces right away!

Besides the best watercolor classes listed at the top of our guide, we’ve also listed a few quick picks for some of the best watercolor classes by theme further below!

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 periodic access to Open Courses, completion certificates, and more!

Best watercolor classes online

Now it’s time to get down to business. These 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 it starts with the basics, the main point of this course is to learn unique techniques by mixing watercolor painting with other materials like salt, alcohol, nail polish remover, chlorine, and more.

Read also: Domestika English courses: All English-language courses

This one is all about experimenting and becoming comfortable with watercolors to create deeply intricate textures. The final project is creating a galaxy or nebula design, which can be adapted for patterns, landscapes, and countless other types of illustrations.

Ana has two other watercolor courses on Domestika, and also hosts shorter courses on Skillshare.

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 course above, it does cover a bunch of other useful topics.

Read also: 15 best Domestika courses in English (plus 5 in Spanish)

You’ll learn how to create light and shadows with watercolor, the basics of perspective drawing, as well as how to compose and frame your images for the best dramatic effect.

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’re someone who loves Japanese brushwork or artwork from Studio Ghibli films, stop what you’re doing and check out this watercolor course.

Taught by Argentine illustrator Flor Kaneshiro, during this class you will 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.

Then, Flor will show you how to adapt them into colorful watercolor paintings that look like they were lifted from a Japanese children’s book.

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 difficult subject to draw for beginners — even more so when you add the unpredictable nature of watercolors. Thankfully, this excellent watercolor class online covers exactly that.

This course is specifically focused on drawing birds, which is a great way to get used to working with bright watercolor paints.

Read also: Best watercolor blocks (and why you need one)

UK-based artist Sarah Stokes walks you through the entire process, making this an ideal watercolor class easy for beginners to follow.

Know that while your final project is to paint four birds on a branch, all techniques can easily be applied to any other wildlife.

If you want a more freeform take on painting nature, check out this similar course which uses both 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!

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

Read also: Watercolor sketchbook buyer’s guide

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 don’t need any art supplies other than a watercolor set, so it’s perfect for beginners. It’s also a great course to complement with botanical illustration skills you may be mastering at the moment.

If you do 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 that’s begging to be painted. This excellent course from artist and illustrator Rosalie Haizlett will teach you how to draw and paint mushrooms, leaves, and all sorts of plant life you can find near your home.

Read also: Watercolor pencils buyer’s guide

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

However, there’s also a one-month free trial 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 on the shorter side, which is great for those who want to cut straight to the chase. Plus, the teacher has two more short 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 by far one of the most exhaustive. Focusing on landscapes, it covers a wide variety of watercolor skills — but always with a practical application in mind.

Read also: Best watercolor sets

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

The teacher Zaneena Nabeel has many more online watercolor classes on Skillshare, each with a specific focus like pine trees, seascapes, galaxies, and more.

Check out the courses and 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 just how engaging it is. You won’t have to worry about dull theory explanations and can get right to 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, with no need for a subscription. It can be pricey (when not on sale), but it’s worth it.

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

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.

Read also: Best mini canvases for acrylics, watercolors, and more

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

This online watercolor course is great 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 to check out 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 super 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 mastering essential supplies and techniques.

Read also: 100+ creative hobbies to try and how to get started

You’ll also learn about watercolor paints, palettes, paper, brushes, color mixing, and more. Learning how to create basic landscapes and seascapes and mixed-media 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. Also, how much would you pay for in-person classes? 

We advise signing up for the Premium membership if you’re interested; it will pay off at just $8 a month (or $80 a year). This will give you open 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 that we highly recommend!

Online watercolor classes for free

Although none of these are as comprehensive as the best watercolor classes above, these free videos can be a good way to dip your toes into the medium.

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 Shibasaki — Fantastic (subtitled) watercolor tutorials from everyone’s favorite Japanese grandpa. Think Bob Ross, but Japanese and for watercolors.
  • Watercolor Misfit — Great tutorials and tips for watercolor painting. She also has a few of her own watercolor classes online linked in her channel.
  • Jay Lee Painting — One of the biggest (and best) painting channels on YouTube. Excellent tutorials and techniques posted several times a week.
  • Maria Raczynska — Beautiful 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.

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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