How to fix watercolour paint mistakes

It’s true that watercolour paint is merciless, but there are various methods to rectify errors, modify them, or even include them in your picture as “happy accidents.” A Magic Eraser may be used to “erase” watercolour paint that has dried or to blot up paint that is still moist. It’s also possible to use a different medium to cover up undesirable portions, turning your work into a mixed-media piece.


  • Q-tips (cotton swabs)
  • Bristle brush
  • Sponges
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (available online or in grocery stores)
  • Painter’s tape
  • squirt bottle
  • Paper cutter, scissors
  • Mixed media: gouache, Chinese white, white gouache, soft pastels, colored pencils, ink

Colour Permanence/Transparency

First, be aware that certain colours are more stain-resistant and hence more lasting than others. The alizarin red, Winsor blue, sap green and phthalocyanine blue are more like dyes that stain the paper and are difficult to remove entirely. But the Magic Eraser works better.

You may also avoid these hues by using non-staining colours, such as ultramarine blue and cadmium yellow for green.

Also, certain papers absorb more watercolour paint, making it difficult to dry the colours. Others, like Bockingford, Saunders, and Cotman, help raise hues. Experiment with your own papers to find out what works best.

Blotting Excess Watercolour paint

Be prepared with a soft cloth and/or a sponge. Watercolour paint is a fluid medium that, depending on the method and quantity of water utilized, may result in undesirable puddles or drips of water and colour. Having something to wipe the annoying drop or puddle will make the job go much more easily. It will also help protect colours from flooding if you use too much water.

Blot the paper and lift instead of scrubbing. You don’t want lint or ripped tissue on your watercolour paper. Blotting up with a soft cloth or tissue may also be used to create a cloud of organic forms in a wet wash. To create streaky clouds, apply a dry brush over the sky.

Natural sponges have distinct textures and effects than manufactured cellulose sponges. Both are blotting aids.

To lift big areas of colour, use a large flat paper towel, a clean synthetic cellulose sponge, or a sheet of blotting paper put flat. For tiny patches of colour, crumple a tissue or use a corner of blotting paper to absorb a little undesirable drop of colour.

Blotting paper is thicker than tissue and reusable. It may be used to produce cloud forms or replicate the texture of stones, for example.

Similar to excellent grade watercolour paint paper (pure rag or linen without wood fibres), but more absorbent due to lack of internal sizing. Bibulous paper is used by scientists to blot moisture off slides in the lab.

Q-tips, commonly known as cotton swabs, may be used to blot up tiny amounts of pigment.

Removing damp colour

To remove a wet or moist watercolour paint, gently blot it with soft tissue, sponge, or paper towel. The blotting method you select will affect the shape and texture of the raised region.

It is also used to create clouds and textured regions such as greenery in paintings.

Using a dry brush or q-tip over a wet area can help wick up and absorb more watercolour paint and moisture. After you’ve lifted all the watercolour paint you can, let it dry fully. To speed up drying, use a heated hairdryer.

Removing Dry Colour and Hard Edges

After the painting has dried, you may determine that certain sections are too dark, that you forgot to leave white spaces for highlights, or that some edges need to be softened. You may do this in numerous ways.

Using a moist sponge, brush, or q-tip, gently massage an area to take away the paint, wiping it with a dry soft cloth or tissue as you go. A q-tip is incredibly handy since it includes cotton on both sides, one for lifting colour and one for blotting it. On thicker paper, use a moist bristle brush to remove the colour from bigger regions. You can read about Using an Artist’s Paint Brush to Create Art by visiting

To soften a harsh edge, wipe it with a moist q-tip or brush it with a damp brush. A break in tone is a painted region that reveals a sharp line or discontinuity in colour when another layer (a glaze) is painted over it. Lifting dried colour softens it and creates subtle colour gradations.

Rinsing Paint with A Spray Bottle

If you need to rinse a wider area, use a direct stream spray bottle and wipe the water with a tissue, soft cloth, or paper towel. Use painter’s or artist’s tape to mask off and protect the desired area.

If you’ve painted on thick watercolour paint paper (140 lb or thicker), you may hold it under cold running water from the tap or dunk it in cold water in the sink while wiping off the watercolour paint. Dry it flat, blot it dry, and then blow dry it fully. While the staining of the watercolour paint pigments will not totally restore the white of your paper, it may be near enough to utilize for another watercolour painting or mixed-media project. You may reuse this paper for subsequent projects and save money.

Razor and sand

Small watercolour paint flecks or blots may be readily removed by gently scraping with the side of a razor blade or X-acto knife. Painting on light-weight paper (less than 140 lb) may easily tear.

Fine sandpaper may be gently scraped over the surface to lighten the top layer of colour. The sandpaper may also be used to smooth up overworked paper.

Chinese White or Opaque White Gouache

Mistakes may be covered over with opaque white gouache paint and then watercolour paint. Watercolour purists may disapprove of this method, and the area may be obvious. Also, a dark tint is harder to totally conceal. But it’s great for highlighting minor elements in your picture, like eyes.

Watercolourists utilize Chinese White, which is formed of zinc and is more translucent. It may be used to brighten and highlight regions.

Final thoughts

Although watercolour paint has a reputation for being merciless, there are various methods to correct errors, make improvements, or even include errors into your picture if you accept them as “happy accidents.” 

Using an Artist’s Paint Brush to Create Art

Hold a normal paint brush with a pencil grip for precise strokes. The easiest technique to grasp an artist’s brush is with your thumb on one side and your index finger on the other. Curl your remaining three fingers under the paint brush to support and balance it. 

This is the most popular grip, although it’s OK if you prefer another. There is no correct or incorrect way to handle a paint brush while creating art!

  • To manipulate the paint brush, some painters like to grasp the end of the brush and place their index finger on top.
  • To balance the paint brush, clutch it 1–3 inches (2.5–7.6 cm) beneath the ferrule. Unlike a pencil, an artist’s brush is not held behind the bristles. Rather than that, slip your fingers 1–3 inches (2.5–7.6 cm) away from the ferrule, the metal component of the paint brush. If your hand is on the ferrule, it’s difficult to see what you’re doing, and if you hold it at the tip, you’re more likely to brush the wet paint with the side of your palm. 
  • It’s much simpler to balance and manage the paint brush in your hand if you hold it around the brush’s center of gravity in the middle. The reason you cannot accomplish this with a pencil or pen is because writing tools need you to apply pressure. However, you do not need to do so using a paint brush!

Drag your wrist carefully in straight lines to apply paint. Keep your wrist as steady as possible while pressing the bristles into the surface you’re painting. To paint a straight line, move your whole arm simultaneously. Maintain the same distance between the bristles and the surface you’re painting to prevent altering the line’s thickness.

  • You may completely alter the spacing between the bristles if you want to alter the thickness of the line mid-stroke!
  • Using your wrist, flutter the bristles to provide texture or detail. To add tiny flourishes of color or minor highlights, press the bristles against the surface and move your wrist in the direction you’re applying the paint to create a rapid dash of color that does not seem as a thick, complete line. Repeat this process to create up textures or add color. 
  • This is the most effective method for constructing clouds, grass, tree trunks, and textured backdrops.

For tiny additions, use the very tip of the paint brush to touch the canvas or paper. If you ever want to add a little dot or line, merely use the very tip of your bristles to contact the surface. To apply the line, you may either flick your wrist or move your arm. It will take some time to get the thickness of your markings just perfect, but with practice, you will improve.

Add depth to your composition by using a variety of strokes. Develop your art by experimenting with a range of various strokes and motions. Painters seldom depend on a single style of paint brush stroke, so experiment with several patterns until you discover one that works for you. Alternate between various paint brush sizes and shapes to establish a diverse repertory that will enhance the vibrancy of your paintings.

After-use care of a paint brush

After each usage, immediately clean your paint brush. If you do not promptly clean your paint brush after use, the paint will harden on the bristles, leaving you with a stiff, useless paint brush. As it is OK to leave it wet for 5-10 minutes while you clean, you do not want to wait too long between cleanings. Exception: if you used an oil-based primer. This material is incredibly difficult to clean, and if you’re dealing with an oil-based primer, you’re better off using a cheap disposable paint brush.

Remove oil-based paint using mineral spirits or turpentine. Fill a small plastic cup halfway with mineral spirits or turpentine if you’re using oil paint. Submerge the bristles of the paint brush in the liquid and shake it to remove any bigger bits of paint. Repeat this procedure for 2-3 minutes. 

  • Generally, oil paint is more difficult to remove than acrylic or latex paint. You may need to repeat this procedure 2-3 times to thoroughly clean your paint brush.
  • Disinfect the brushes with soap and hot water to remove acrylic or latex paint. Run your brush under warm water if you used latex, acrylic, or watercolor paint. Squeeze 1-2 dollops of dish soap over the bristles and spread it out gently with your fingertips. Brush the bristles against the edge of the sink as if painting it, allowing the water to flow to remove the majority of the paint. 
  • There is no need to be concerned about staining your sink. Latex, acrylic, and watercolor are all water-based paints that will wash away if the paint is not allowed to cure.

While rinsing, shake or spin your paint brush until the water runs clear. Take your brush and hold it under warm water, regardless of whether you used mineral spirits, turpentine, or soap. To wash both sides of the bristles, press the bristles flat at an angle. Flip the bristles up and let the water flow straight into them. Shake or spin the brush between your hands until the water begins to flow clear to remove any extra moisture.

Allow your paint brush to dry completely on a towel or newspaper. Allow 2-3 hours for the paint brush to air out flat on a clean towel or stack of newspaper. Once the paint brush is entirely dry, return it to its storage location to reintroduce it to your brush rotation.

Natural hair, not synthetic, is used to make good brushes. Select brushes with wooden handles and hair held together by a metal strip. Gently pull on the hair. If any get detached, seek out another paint brush. Otherwise, when you use it, the hair will fall over the painted surface.

Final thoughts

There, you have it. These step-by-step tips will help you use an artist’s paint brush easily. Visit to read about Uncommon paint brush types.