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Summer Lovin’ In A Watercolor Beach Scene Tutorial

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Step 2: How To Paint Sand (And Footprints)


It’s time to start painting! Beginning at the beach, use a no. 20 round brush to wet the beach area with clean water. Propping your painting at an angle will help you see which areas are wet, and to prevent liquid from pooling all over. Next, drop in Buff Titanium onto the wet surface, thus creating soft blends via this “wet-in-wet” technique. Since this is just your first layer, it’s fine to paint over the shadows and umbrella poles. Just make sure to avoid the figures on the beach! It’s also okay to leave in some whites for the lightest areas.

Paint the land mass behind the ocean as well, then dab in Burnt Umber near the foreground to make small divots in the sand. Dab in more saturated Buff Titanium towards the back, creating contrast, depth, and texture in your watercolor beach scene.

Streak in some Yellow Ochre next, using long, horizontal brushstrokes to mimic the direction of the sand. Next, mix Cobalt Green with a touch of Olive Green to paint along the beach line and around the people. For the deepest footprints and shadows in the sand, use Neutral Tint to add more impact to the beach. If your paint ever starts puddling, you can lift out the excess using a “thirsty brush“.

In this way, build up your layers to make subtle changes in the beach’s color while planning ahead on what colors to use for the rest of your watercolor beach scene.