How to Play, Experiment, & Plan with a Watercolor Sketchbook

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Course Level:

Total Run Time:
31 minutes

Total Videos:

Course Description:

Welcome to How To Play, Experiment, And Plan With A Watercolor Sketchbook! Over the last fifteen years, Shelby Abrahamsen has learned A LOT about working with watercolors. The most important lesson? Understanding the importance of just playing with her paints!

There is so much possibility when it comes to painting loosely and experimenting with watercolors. In this course, Shelby will guide you through getting in the correct mindset, overcoming first-page fear, using your sketchbook to develop your confidence and style, and how to plan paintings with rough sketches and thumbnails.

So stick around to see how a watercolor sketchbook can unlock your painting skills and launch you forward leaps and bounds!

What You Will Learn:

  • How to get in the right mindset for artistic experimentation and play
  • How to conquer first-page fear and make your mark on your page
  • How to plan a painting with rough sketches and thumbnails

Supplies You’ll Need:

  • Mixed media sketchbook
  • Watercolor paints
  • Watercolor brushes
  • Two jars of water
  • Cotton rag or paper towel
  • Masking tape (optional)
  • Heat tool (optional)


In this course, your instructor will demonstrate exercises designed to help jumpstart your creativity and encourage you to create your own art pieces.

This course is part of the Watercolor Academy

What’s In The Course?

  • 6 Videos
  • Tips & Tricks
  • Self-Paced

Course Level: Beginner
Run Time: 31 minutes

Meet Your Instructor:

Shelby Abrahamsen

Blogger at

Ratings and Reviews

Avg. Rating
5 Ratings
What's your experience? We'd love to know!
Avatar Mary Sharp
Posted 9 months ago
Now l Get lt!

I loved this course! I've bought so many sketch books, but thought l should save them for "good" work & did my planning on scraps of paper & notebooks. Thanks for your clear explaining and showing your sketch books! This seems so doable now!

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Avatar Janet Gillis
Posted 11 months ago
Didn't think I needed this - But I Did!

I never start a painting any more without working up a concept in a sketchbook. It also gives me an opportunity to jot down ideas and concepts to use later while I'm not able to paint immediately. You'll find a million reasons to use a sketchbook once you start.

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Avatar Susan Countess
Posted 12 months ago
Planning is essential even in making art

“This course really helped me. I can't draw. I usually trace a photo then paint it. I took out my almost blank sketch book and forced myself to plan a painting of Barnegat Light. I also wanted to paint our sailboat transiting the inlet. Planning taught me that there can be only 1 focus of the painting. Perspective & proportion issues were also clarified by having to plan.

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Avatar Gail Prouse
Posted 1 year ago

I really enjoyed this course. Short and sweet, yet felt that I really learned a lot!! I agree with the person before me that maybe more time between would be of benefit, or maybe its that I am too hard on myself and a perfectionist and just not up to speed. Also being marked on these courses has me freaked out frankly if I am honest. am not going to be able to submit if I am going to keep up

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Avatar Jim Rose
Posted 1 year ago
Practice - Practice - Practice

I actually have two sketch books - one only for pencil work so I can practice drawing things and one mixed media for those “things” I need practice with color. For me, the courses are becoming more challenging and I’m feeling frustrated at falling behind. Maybe an additional week to complete the course would have been helpful but then others might get bored if things don’t move faster.

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