Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here


Leaving Website

You are now leaving and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

Art Tutorial: Learn Watercolor Basics to Enhance Your Journaling

Illustrator Stan Fellows shows how to get started and create a small painting of a flower vase

Video run time is 40 minutes.


Putting brush to paper can be daunting, but you’ll soon find yourself enjoying the process as much as the result with this course from illustrator and watercolor artist Stan Fellows. Follow along with this video as he describes watercolor basics and uses examples for incorporating watercolor into your journals.

spinner image Image Alt Attribute

AARP Membership

Join AARP for $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal. Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine

Join Now

You’ll also learn what supplies you need to get started and find tips on setting up to paint comfortably, a short explanation of terminology regarding colors and how they relate, and an easy follow-along painting demo of a small flower vase to create something for yourself or share with someone special.

Materials needed:

  • Sketchbook/journal: You’ll want a book of watercolor paper, but the varieties and sizes vary widely. I like Canson paper, but Moleskin’s watercolor book and Hand Book’s watercolor journals, which come in several sizes, are also suitable for this class.  
  • Paint: Using tube paints, not a set of watercolors in pans, is crucial. I’ve used student-grade tubes and they’re just fine. 
  • Brush: Any brand of inexpensive, synthetic square brush, about ¾ inch — or ½ inch, which is easier for beginners to start with.
  • Pen: Micron makes excellent waterproof pens, and I recommend a very fine-tipped one, size .005. Staedtler and Copic also can work.
  • Pencil
  • Palette: The best is corrugated plastic! 
  • Paint wells: Hands down the best way to keep paint moist and prevent leaking into your bag is storing in a weekly pill minder. 
  • Dish or cup for water
  • Paper towels and tissues


About Stan Fellows

Stan Fellows has been an illustrator for over 35 years, painting for magazines, newspapers, children’s books and corporate clients. Based in Longmont, Colorado, Stan continues to illustrate for publications around the country, but he has shifted focus to his very popular workshop on creative journaling. Accessible to people of all skill levels, from none to lots, his workshops present a fresh take on journaling. Demonstrations and exercises are fun and easy and debunk the notion of watercolor being a difficult medium. His is also the brush behind the evocative watercolors accompanying two serialized mystery books on Members Only Access — The Long Call and The Heron’s Cry. Fellows painted more than 40 original pieces to match the suspense and slow unraveling of best-selling crime author Ann Cleeves’ tales of murder. You can learn more about Stan by visiting


More Art Tutorials

This is the third class in our new series of easy-to-follow tutorials led by talented artists and illustrators. Check out Molly Jacques' hand lettering classes, and stay tuned for more from Stan, Molly and others. 


Video Not Playing? 

This video is Digital Rights Management (DRM) protected. If you get a message saying it is encrypted:

  • Choose to enable DRM if you see a pop-up asking for permission
  • Try clearing your browser cache
  • Try using another browser

Discover AARP Members Only Access

Join AARP to Continue

Already a Member?