Watercolor course at Sessions College


1.5 credits

ILL 208: Watercolor

Learn techniques for a vibrant painting medium

Watercolor has a rich tradition dating back centuries, and is still enjoyed by today's artists for its unique color effects and wide range of techniques. In this intensive online watercolor course, you'll explore traditional techniques including various washes, glazes, scumbles, resists, and more, getting feedback from a professional artist to help you hone your skills and perfect each project. The class involves creating a series of complete watercolor paintings.

Student work by Eladia Laines

Course At A Glance

Course Features

  • 100% online
  • Project-based
  • Instructor-led
  • Credit-bearing: 1.5 Credits
  • Classes start January, April, and August


The course is taught by the following instructor(s):

Course developed by: Annika Connor

Take this course as a standalone or as part of the following program(s):

Course Projects

    1. Essential Knowledge for Watercolor

      Choosing the right materials is essential to creating watercolor art. In this first lecture you are introduced to the paints, brushes, papers, and other tools necessary. And you'll use them right away as you will also explore color's qualities and basic color mixing, and create a color grid. You'll gain an introduction to water to paint ratio and basic mark-making.

    2. Special Techniques for Watercolor

      Watercolor's wide range of techniques make this medium so versatile, and you'll explore many of them in this lesson, starting with mastering your brush strokes, correcting mistakes, and tips for underpainting. This week you'll learn to apply flat and graded washes, create interesting dry brush effects, work with wet-in-wet paintings, and use materials like tissue, plastic, and wax for infinite looks and style

    3. Creating a Body of Work

      The medium of watercolor is centuries old, and there is much to be learned from prominent traditional artists. While exploring many of these important figures, you'll learn to dissect their systems and apply historical influence to your work. Subject matter is explored, including why we learn representational painting and how to engage the audience with your subjects. Development of a series is also covered, and you'll apply what you've learned in the exercise, creating your own series of works.

Sample Student Work

Amanda Herskind-Dumke painting by Amanda Herskind-Dumke

Course Outcomes

What Are The Course Projects?

Creative projects in this course build from monochromatic or limited palette pieces, and studies in the use of flat wash, graded wash, and glaze or scumble, to painting a thematic series from imagination.

What Software or Supplies Do I Need?
  • Computer with Internet connection.
  • Watercolor paints, paper, brushes, and other art supplies (full list provided in the course.)
  • Basic experience in drawing and painting.
  • A digital camera (or ability to digitize film photos) to submit your project work digitally.
What Will I Learn?

Students in this course can expect to learn to:

  • Select appropriate materials for watercolor painting.
  • Create a color grid and demonstrate watercolor's unique color properties.
  • Mix colors, create an appropriate water:paint ratio, and load the brush.
  • Establish control over the brush and a wide range of brush marks.
  • Use drawing, blocking, and underpainting to prepare a watercolor painting.
  • Apply paint using washes, glazes, scumbles, textures, resists, and other important techniques.
  • Use historical influence and artist studies to shape your personal style.
  • Paint representationally and choose engaging subject matter.
  • Articulate your painting concepts in individual pieces and series.

Getting Started

Course Registration

  • Classes start January, April, and August
  • 1.5 Credit Course
  • Project-Based: Exercises, Discussions, and Critiques

Course Tuition and Fees
Registration Fee* $200
Total Course Price $965

Registration fees are nonrefundable after 5 days from enrollment. All tuition includes a digital materials fee for course content.

Course Registration Form

To register for this course, use the form below to enter your information and desired start date. An Admissions Advisor will contact you to arrange payment and provide you with an Enrollment Agreement.

PD: Course Registration

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What Are The Courses Like?

Our courses are project-based. In each course you’ll enjoy a series of lectures, projects, discussions, and critiques designed to stretch your creative skills, earning college credit for your completed course.

How Much Time Do I Need?

Classes start January, April, and August, and this course can be completed as part of a 15-week term in 8 weeks. College credit from this course can be applied to a range of degree and certificate level programs at Sessions College.

Who Are The Instructors?

Our courses are developed and taught by our faculty of professional artists, designers, and photographers. This means that you’ll learn in-demand skills, get feedback on your work, and build a portfolio of creative work.

Is Sessions College accredited?

Yes. Since 2001, Sessions College has been accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency and is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).