Watercolor - Koi

Watercolor - Koi
This printable project teaches you the tips and techniques behind the vibrant Watercolor medium, perfect for artists of any age! Follow the steps below to guide you through and you will quickly be on your way to creating these Japanese Koi Fish.

Supplies Needed

This project works best when using the materials shown below. These items can be  found in the ArtSkills Premium Artist Case!

Tips & Tricks

Watercolor Paint Dries Lighter

With watercolor paint, a color will always appear more intense (vibrant and darker) when it is wet. As it begins to dry the color will lose its intensity.

Test a Color First

Watercolor paint dries very fast. Therefore, it's best to test a color on a scrap piece of paper.

Keep Water Clean

To prevent colors from getting muddy, it is important to wash off your brush when switching colors. Periodically replace the water in your cup to help keep your colors clean and bright.

Let's Get Started!

STEP 1: Lay Down Light Colors

When using watercolor paint, start by putting down your lightest colors. Use Light Green on the lily pads. Add Yellow Orange in splotchy shapes to the two koi fish, without completely filling them in

STEP 2: Start to Layer

Put a darker value on a lighter one, and then use water to blend them together. For example, put Bright Orange on top of your Koi Fish to deepen their color. Use Bright Orange on the Light Green lily pads as well. Use Black and pick up as little pigment as possible; then lightly drag your brush along the fins and tails for shading.

STEP 3: Add More Colors

Use Dark Green to add a layer over the lily pads with a very wet brush. Next, use Red and begin to lightly paint over the Bright Orange that was layered in Step 2.

STEP 4: Add More Details

Paint a light layer of Blue in the background. Lay your paint down heavier around the fish. Take Red and lightly dab it over your Bright Orange splotches on the koi. Use Black watercolor pencil to make dots on top of the Red. Lightly accent the gray fins with Violet.

STEP 5: Finish Your Painting!

Use Blue to layer more paint on the water. Make the shades darker closest to the fish to indicate ripples in the water. Darken slightly around the lily pads as well. For an extra touch, use White acrylic paint and your smallest paint brush to add small, curved strokes on the backs of the fish to represent scales. Only do this step once your watercolor paint has completely dried.