Exploring Watercolor 101

Yep, even you can make magic with watercolor.

Yep, even you can make magic with watercolor.

Look, I get it. You're "not an artist," but you can't stop watching watercolor videos on social media, and your curiosity got the better of you. Welcome! You, my friend, are not the first to wonder if you might be creative after all. I've been there, and 
I made this course just for you.

Exploring Watercolor 101

Scroll on if you're into it.

What if I told you learning to paint majestic sunset skies and quirky illustrations like waffles cones and fireflies was definitely in your wheelhouse... even with no prior experience? 

Hard to believe, but it's 100% true. Those dreams of spending afternoons lost in your creativity, painting your heart out?

They're closer than you think. 

It all depends on how much courage you have to take a chance... and, of course, how good your art teacher is. (I'm really good.)

Finally, a step-by-step roadmap that makes watercolor totally doable.

Let's take a dive into your creativity

"The journey this course takes you through is wonderful. The skills I learned and art I created blow me away. I never imagined that I would be able to create any kind of art, much less beautiful art. But because of this course, I have a whole wall of art that is mine, and I smile every time I look at it. Now, a little voice inside of me says:
“Maybe I am an artist.” Thank you, Kolbie! What a gift!"

— Sherri W.

"The skills I learned and art I created blow me away."

Believe it or not, I've been in your shoes.

Unlike a lot of other art teachers, I didn't go to art school, and I don't have decades of experience. In fact, until about five years ago, I was pretty sure my artistic skill level maxed out at stick figures.

I used to think I was terrible at art, too.

Now, I'm a full-time artist, author, and online creative educator.

I've taught more than 35,000 students worldwide to love watercolor -- all because one day in February 2016, I had the courage to ask myself: "Wait, why can't I do that?"

Here's my little secret...

Your one-stop-shop from "oh, I'm not an artist" to "why, yes, I did paint that masterpiece!"
I built this course to give you all the tools, tips, and resources you need to make some watercolor magic.


Exploring Watercolor 101

Knowing your materials inside and out makes your art journey so much easier. In Modules 1-4, we'll take a look at our supplies, foundational techniques, and color theory -- everything you need to build a solid connection with watercolor.

Once you have the watercolor basics down, you can start experimenting with how to make it actually work for you! In modules 5-8, we'll explore different artistic styles and subjects, and help you figure out what really lights you up as an artist.

Here’s what's inside...

A Strong Foundation

Discover Your Inner Artist

Part One

Part Two

As a course bonus, you'll get access not only to the projects in the course modules, but also a library of dozens more projects -- all organized by difficulty and subject matter -- so you can keep practicing even after our semester ends!

Projects for Days

Course library

The magical thing about art, creativity, and watercolor is how deep the practice really goes. In modules 9-12, we'll take a deeper look at creativity and your journey as an art explorer. From discussing using art for mindfulness and how to navigate the learning gap, to building flexible and doable habits and mental health practices, this module will help you move from hesitant student to lifelong creative learner.

Build a Creative Practice

Part Three


Or take a peek at the 2024 syllabus

Scroll past watercolor paintings on Instagram and actually know how to paint them

How would it feel to...

Build a portfolio of beautiful paintings you're proud to call your own 



(aka here's what you'll get):

Know your supplies inside and out, so you don't waste any more money or time  


Gain a clear vision for your style and taste as an artist


Have a safe space to feel, play, and connect with your creativity 


The Art Explorer Path

Equipping you with all the basic tools and techniques to confidently create your adventure


Plenty of opportunity for guided, hands-on experience to translate your new skills to real breakthroughs


Tips, tricks, and a path forward to discovering your own creative potential outside your comfort zone


“Kolbie is THE most approachable teacher out there when it comes to watercolor. She breaks down everything you need to know into easy-to-follow lessons and modules.”


discovered her potential


“This course has everything one could need to start the watercolor journey! Kolbie is an amazing teacher and built a beautiful community. Her mindset and encouraging words, useful feedback, and the community made this journey one of a kind.”


loved the community


“My 10-year-old son and I have both taken her class, both with limited knowledge of art, and we were able to understand and create something beautiful. She broke it down... to help us feel more confident.”


 made memories with her son


We've all had a rough couple years. Art can't take away your challenges... but it can give you a safe space to feel and explore.

are you ready to invest in yourself?

“I had many watercolor breakthroughs in this course, and it made me so excited for really finding my voice in watercolor.”

I had completed a one-day watercolor workshop last year and was hooked! I had been supplementing with YouTube and Skillshare tutorials, but was looking for something more interactive and hands-on. I loved Kolbie's book, so when I saw she was offering this course, I knew it would be perfect to give me what I was looking for in my watercolor journey. Having her around to answer specific questions, and the feedback from the community were SO HELPFUL!"


had "ah-ha!" moments

Don't just take my word for it...

“I have purchased a few courses in the past and never felt I got the value for the money I spent. That is not the case with EW101.” 

Kolbie is an excellent teacher. She breaks things down in an easily digestible way that isn't overwhelming. I took the course in summer 2020 during lockdown times, and I learned so many new techniques and how to translate those skills into new paintings.


found a new passion

“I felt uplifted and empowered to improve my creativity for the betterment of myself.”

I recently went to a different art class from someone else for a friend gathering, and I was expecting it to flow as easily, but it did not. Things were articulated much better in Kolbie's class. Looking forward to more!


found her creative power

If you're worried about working through the material without a schedule, I've prepared something fun that past students have called "the best part of the course by far": 

The 12-Week Explorer Challenge is a guided study group, where we'll have weekly lives, watch parties, and chances to connect and share in our exclusive and vibrant online community forum. 

Worried you won't make time to really dig in? Looking for some friends to help?

Online Community
12-Week Challenge

join our community of creatives

and another thing...

There is nothing I believe more strongly than this: 

You are made of creativity, and it is yearning to come out and play.

The truly magical thing about watercolor is that in order to capture its mysterious potential, you need a little chaos + a little guidance -- it's the tension between the two that creates the most luminous, evocative results. 

You and watercolor have a lot in common. As a burgeoning artist, you need a little messy chaos, and you need a little steady guidance to help you see the method to the madness. That's where I come in -- and believe me, I can already see the magic bursting through your seams. 

You are an artist -- you just need a little guidance.

you're in the right place

“I was a little hesitant at first on enrolling in the course, since I've been playing around with watercolours for a while now so I wasn't sure if it would add anything to my skills. But signing up for the Exploring Watercolour 101 course was the best thing I ever did!

"Kolbie's style of teaching is very engaging and honest and has encouraged me to keep painting and practicing no matter what the outcome." 


wasn't a beginner, and grew anyway

Here's what more EW101 students have to say...

“Worth every penny!” 

"Kolbie is a wonderful teacher! She is extremely thorough and encouraging and not only tackles the basics of watercolors but also reminds us to be kind to ourselves in our artistic journeys. She really motivates through the class and the community forum all while teaching you to paint beautiful projects. Worth every penny!"


invested in herself

“The community aspect is so amazing! It is so nice to find support from others who are on a similar journey.”

"I decided to invest in the course to have a focused curriculum to go through and improve my abilities, instead of picking up a tutorial here or there. I am so thankful that I signed up! The modules are in depth and Kolbie’s teaching style is excellent. Kolbie explains things in a way that really clicks and seems to address all those questions and struggles we have as beginners... I definitely would recommend this course to anyone looking to learn the basics and to take it up a notch!"


loved the supportive community

If I had to guess, I would say your inner critic is pretty loud if my course is calling your name -- that's why, before we even start our semester, I'm giving you my 7-day-challenge to help you confront that perfectionism right from the get-go! You'll have access to this bonus course as soon as you enroll. 

Watercolor for (Recovering) Perfectionists

How about a bonus?

You might be looking for even more watercolor resources, and I am happy to oblige! As a bonus 'thank-you' for signing up for the course, you'll also get FREE access to my MOST popular Skillshare class, Watercolor Landscapes from a Photo: How to Paint What You See. 

In this class, I'll take you step-by-step through my process of turning a reference photo into a one-of-a-kind watercolor painting.

Grab your seat and get my mini course for free!

Watercolor Landscapes from a Photo: How to Paint What You See

...and another one!

...wanna know the secret that made me
an artist?

"Natural talent" is overrated, and understanding paintings doesn't have to be a big mystery...

They all start one stroke at a time.

Have a clear idea of what watercolor supplies you need and how to use them -- everything from paint, paper, brushes, and more

Understand the building blocks of watercolor, including color theory, basic strokes, and fundamental painting techniques

Be able to tackle more advanced watercolor painting techniques, like composition theory, using white space, and mastering water control

Explore 30+ art projects to hone your skills and explore new styles, including loose landscapes, Galaxies, ink + watercolor, charming illustrations, colorful patterns, and more!

know how to take your skills out of the course and into your own creative practice, learning to paint from reference photos and more

have the courage and confidence to learn from your "failures" and keep coming back to watercolor again and again for solace, joy, and creativity

By the end of this course, you will...

yes please

"I've taken one Skillshare class of hers and learned SO MUCH, that it was a no-brainer purchasing Exploring Watercolor 101!

— Cayla F.

"Literally everything I wish I would've known when I was just starting out."

"Kolbie takes the guesswork out of learning to paint. She's truly able to relate concepts to others in a meaningful and easy way."

— Nicole R.

"Even if you don't consider yourself creative, you'll be able to shine by utilizing the tips and teachings in this course."

"Kolbie is thorough and thoughtful. She is concise and follows up the lessons with practical application. It's very helpful practicing the techniques with the guided exercises. I don't feel myself getting frustrated or feeling like I am not "getting it." And I've been rather pleased with how my projects/practices have turned out!"

— Kristen S.

"If you are debating whether to purchase the course...
go for it!"

"She is so encouraging and helps with your mindset of curiosity and learning. After this course I feel like I am an artist and the art I create helps me to be present in my life and notice things with wonder and curiosity versus judgment and self doubt. I would recommend this course to anyone who is ready to start their creative journey. "

— Sarah G.

"Kolbie is an amazing teacher. This course is such a great place to start your creative journey."

More about me

In 2016, I tried my hand at art for the first time in 15 years.

In 2018, I created my first Skillshare class, then became and artist and online educator full time.

In 2020, I published my first book, Wilderness Watercolor Landscapes... (and then wrote two more!).

As of 2023, I have worked with brands like Legion Paper, Arteza, Winsor & Newton, Let's Make Art, and more --
and I've taught more than 35,000 people all over the world to take a chance on their creativity. 

Your Biggest Fan + Creative Best Friend


well, hello. I'm

I've been where you are.
That's how I know I can help.

 For most of my life, I had a serious mental block when it came to art. I genuinely believed art wasn't in my skillset -- and, honestly? I was 100% fine with that...

...until I wasn't anymore. At some point, I started to wonder. And yearn. And be a little sad about the fact that art "just wasn't my thing."

That's when I realized what was really stopping me: 

I was afraid that I would never measure up, would never belong as an artist, and everyone would know.

But here's the thing: learning a new creative skill isn't about "measuring up" -- it's about digging deep and connecting with who you are right now, in the messy middle of things. Because the mess is where the magic is.

you have to give yourself permission to make messy, awkward, imperfect art if you want to find the joy.

if I can do it,
so can you

Exploring Watercolor 101 isn't just about learning "the basics" (though there's plenty of that)...

...it's about a-ha! moments...

You can find most everything you need to know about basic watercolor techniques by scouring the Internet... but what's not always there is firsthand knowledge about what it's like to actually learn in the thick of it

I can't tell you how many times I've thought to myself "oooooooohhh, I get it now" or "wow, that was a totally unexpected and useful surprise!" while making a mess with watercolor, and I'm sharing all of those "ah-ha!" moments with you. 

Whether it's throughout the structure of the class or in my actual "ah-ha moments" lesson (yes, I have an entire lesson dedicated to them), you'll walk away from this course with a very full art toolkit.

...And charting a path forward so you won't always need a tutorial...

Don't get me wrong -- I LOVE tutorials. They're so helpful for learning and relaxing and just having fun when you're creating...

...but what happens when you think you might be brave enough to venture out on your own? 

In Exploring Watercolor 101, we'll talk about navigating "the learning gap," important mindset shifts, using mindfulness as a creative tool, and how to use your favorite tutorials as a jumping off point to finding your own style. 

We'll also have hands-on lessons, with my "paint what you see" sketching method and learning to break down a reference photo. Whenever you're ready, you'll have what you need to continue your art journey confidently.

...and exploring the kind of art that you like to make, one project at a time...

One thing that frustrates me to no end with a lot of courses is the lack of practice material -- that's why Exploring Watercolor 101 is PACKED with projects so you can put your new skills to work (in the most fun way).

With 30+ project lessons, I want you not only to see how basic watercolor techniques work in real life, but also to experience how they can translate to so many different styles and subjects. 

This course is about exploring watercolor, right? 

As you pay attention to what pieces and techniques were your favorite and made you feel the most magical, you'll have a much clearer idea of what kind of artist you want to be right now and how to implement that in your creative practice.

Discovering your creativity is a lifelong practice -- that's why you'll get lifetime access to Exploring Watercolor 101.

This is a course I'll keep updating and improving, and you'll get access to all of it -- without paying a cent more (even if the price increases). 

Plus, you'll get an invite to my exclusive Art Explorers online group, where you can share your work and connect with creatives across the world. 

Great news!

At this point, you might want to jump in... but you're nervous about spending money on a course when there are TONS of free watercolor resources out there. Isn't that, like, a waste of money?

I totally get it, and here's the truth: You don't need this course if you want to learn watercolor. (You remember that I'm self-taught, right?) You could Google techniques, find one-off YouTube tutorials, even piece together a bunch of smaller, less expensive courses and structure a learning system all on your own. 

Here's something I want you to consider: Isn't your creativity -- your dreams, your joy, your longings, your desire for community and a little guidance -- worth investing in? Wouldn't you rather spend your time actually learning + creating?

I can't promise to teach you 100% unique things you won't find anywhere else. (Anyone who does promise that is lying to you.) 

But I can promise to take you on a fun, inspiring, joy-filled journey that will give you the tools to explore watercolor and art for years to come.

But do I really need to invest in a course to learn watercolor?

because you're worth it, my friend

Making your creativity a priority...

Embracing yourself as a real artist...

Gaining the tools & techniques that will take your art skills even further...

Building a creative practice that will help make everyday challenges a little easier to bear...

Letting go of perfectionism and discovering the power in making wild, messy art...

Feeling more connected to yourself, your sense of wonder, and your creativity...

Exploring your own unique artistic style...

If you want 2024 to be the year you finally commit to...

...join us!


I'm confident you'll love it. But just in case, you have a whole week to explore and make sure it's a good fit. If you're not into it, I'll refund your money, no questions asked.

Don't worry -- you'll have 7 days to take a look around, try out some tutorials, and see for yourself. I've poured my heart and soul into this course, and I'm so confident it'll give you the tools you need to become a passionate watercolor artist. But if you're just not feeling it within the 7-day window, shoot me an email at kolbie@thiswritingdesk.com.

money back 


EW101     for you if:

You want to discover who you are as an artist

you don't want to learn watercolor basics

You long to make creativity a practice

You don't care about building a creative practice

you're looking for both guided and self-paced learning paths

It's probably      for you if:

You're looking for a "quick fix" to becoming an artist



It's probably         for you if...

Let's go on a 

watercolor adventure 

SO... what do you say?

How long is the course?

10+ hours of video content, with each video less than 30 minutes (most are between 10-15 minutes). Perfect for learning watercolor during lunch breaks and nap time!

Frequently Asked Questions

how long can i access it?

You'll have lifetime access to the course AND all of the many updates I'll make over the next few years! Now is the perfect time to jump in before I raise the price.

What watercolor techniques will we cover specifically?

EW101 includes: wet-on-dry, wet-on-wet, glazing, intro to color theory and color harmonies, water control, luminosity, layering, composition, using a reference photo, mixed-media, and more!

Do the videos have captions?

Absolutely -- every video lesson has a closed-caption option.

Where is the online community?

We use a platform called Geneva for safe and effect space to connect with each other! Available on desktop, Apple, and Android.

How is this different from your Skillshare classes and book?

Every project in the class is unique to this course. If you’ve taken any of my Skillshare classes, there may be some minor overlap (all watercolor artists use the same basic techniques), but they don’t cover everything. Also, my books and most of my Skillshare classes mainly focus on loose watercolor landscapes, whereas EW101 covers a more broad array of subjects. 

Will this course cover how to sell art?

This class is mainly an art instruction course and will not cover business topics. 

What's your refund policy?

I put my whole heart and soul into this course, and truly believe it’ll give you the best start on your watercolor journey. That said, if you begin taking the course and feel like it’s not the best fit, I have a 7-day no-questions-asked refund policy. Just shoot me an email at kolbie@thiswritingdesk.com.

shoot me an email

Honestly, I completely understand. You still need to figure out if it's right for you. I'm here, friend, and I'd love to answer your questions.

Still on the fence?

Follow along for loads of art lessons, video tutorials, and tips on how to make creativity work for you.


let's be insta-friends