Contrary to preconceived notions, it is entirely possible to fix watercolor mistakes. Even lost causes can be rescued, using several techniques, some of them kind of radical!
Watercolor is an unpredictable process… particularly for beginners! So you need to learn how to handle unforeseen events, either by working them into the composition, or by correcting them. The most frequent ones are:
- Runs (wash is too diluted)
- bleeding and smudges (from adding a diluted color to a dry wash)
- Color is too dark
- Flat wash contours are too strong
- Unbalanced composition
Bleeding: absorb surplus water with a sponge, then stump with a paper handkerchief or a rag.
Contours: to soften a contour that is too strong, wet a cotton swab and stump the line.
Small mistakes: cover them with opaque paint (gouache or white acrylic), allow to dry, then paint over them.
If none of the above methods works, you still have two solutions: