Create Your Own Watercolor Map Art


I like painting. I’m not a great painter, or even a good painter. But, under the right circumstances, I find painting very therapeutic. Most of all, I love being able to give people my ‘art’ – even if it is pretty simple. There is nothing lovelier than seeing something you have made hanging in the house of a friend, or even your own house! For this reason, I thought I would help you create your own Watercolor Map Art. It is very easy – anyone can do it.

I’d seen a lot of these watercolor paintings around – very basic watercolor designs in a particular shape. I figured that they can’t be too hard, and I was right! Better yet, they are quite relaxing to do, and require very little artistic ability. I’ve written up some basic instructions on how you can make your own.


Create your own Watercolor Map Art

Equipment needed:

  • At least two colors of paint, plus white. I’d recommend beginners use liquid paints.
  • 2 paintbrushes (one to paint, one to mix)
  • Watercolor paper – around 180-250gsm
  • Something to protect your work surface (newspaper or old paper works fine)
  • Something to mix your paints on – an old meat tray, that won’t absorb the paint, works well
  • Water
  • Pencil and eraser

Note: Art supplies can be quite expensive in Dubai. I would highly recommend visiting Canvas Art Store if you are looking for supplies – they are reasonably priced, and offer a good range of paints. I have also picked up cheap watercolor paper at Kinokinuya at Dubai Mall.

Create your own Watercolor Map Art

Step one: Draw your outline. You can take the lazy route and use an iPad or computer light a lightbox. To do this, google a dark silhouette of whichever shape you wish to paint. Carefully – and lightly – trace over the design onto your watercolor paper. This is why you don’t want paper that is too heavy – it makes it hard to trace through. Alternatively, you can just freehand a design to paint. Test our your pencil and eraser on a spare bit of watercolor paper first – make sure it erases cleanly, and without damaging the paper.

Create your own Watercolor Map Art

Step two: Mix your paints. There is no particular method to do this, but I usually just put of blobs of white and my two colors on a meat tray, mixing tray or mixing paper sheet, then start making different colors. All of the colors above were created from using blue, green and white only – you can get a large amount of variety. If the paint starts to dry, you can reactivate it with a little (but not too much!) water.

Create your own Watercolor Map Art

Step three: Start painting. The one thing you need to remember is to work quickly. If you don’t work quickly enough, the paint will dry and you won’t be able to mix more colors in. Start with less water, but you can add a bit more as you go, if needed. Try not to paint over your pencil lines, as this will make them very difficult to erase.

Create your own Watercolor Map Art

Step four: Keep going! Yes, that’s really all there is to it. At this stage, I sometimes like to throw in a bit of silver, gold or copper paint, so the image sparkles a bit in the light. But it’s really up to you to add which colors you like!

Create your own Watercolor Map Art

Step five: Leave to dry. Don’t be tempted to erase the lines quickly after finishing. Leave the picture for a good few hours before attempting to erase the pencil lines. If you paper is quite damp and curling around the edges, make sure you anchor the edges down – you can use masking tape to stick the paper to a book or table, or put heavy objects around the edges.

Step six: Erase your pencil lines. Do this gently. If you are too vigorous, you’ll either remove lots of the paper or paint – or both! It is normal to have a bit of color lift off the paper, but if a lot is coming off, ease up.

Create your own Watercolor Map Art

Step seven: Enjoy! This sort of artwork looks fantastic in a plain black or white frame. You can create images of anything you want.

You can also use a few different techniques for painting. The above technique is called wet on dry. Basically, you are applying wet paint to dry paper. You can also try wet on wet. For this technique, you will paint within your pencil outline using water only, and then apply wet paint to the damp sheet. Cindy Lane has some fantastic videos on her Instagram page showing this technique, if you are looking for inspiration. The type of paper you use also impacts your final product – I’ve posted some pictures using different colors, papers and techniques below.

Create your own Watercolor Map Art

I hope that all makes sense, and you enjoy creating yourself a unique painting! Let me know if you have any questions or queries, I’ll be more than happy to help.


Kinokinuya Dubai Mall – watercolor paper and pads, paintbrushes
Canvas Art Stores – Dubai Mall, Festival City, Mirdif and Mercato Mall – watercolor paper and pads, paintbrushes and paints – if you want individual paints, Aquafine are a cost effective range
Artmall – online store selling a range of art supplies (including White Night paints – this is a good value beginners set)
Carrefour Mall of the Emirates – mixing palettes and large art pads to place under your painting surface.


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The 58th Floor is the travel and lifestyle blog of Belinda Birchall, based in Dubai. It provides advice and information on travel throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East, as well as useful information for living in Dubai - and anything else of interest!

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