hey, as the title says I painted a few thousand shitty paintings here and then moved on to paint for companies like the BBC, Intel, and a few more, with a trio of books on the way. I hope that this year can be my best.

As someone who makes content on the internet, your eyeballs are invaluable to me. I would be very grateful if you'd momentarily tear yourself away from reddit to follow me on Facebook or Twitter. I give away almost all of my popular paintings over there.

Thank you very much for the opportunities you have given me. I hope you'll see my name around more in the future!

edit: ok I'm going now, might revisit here later or feel free to tweet any more questions with link above. Thank you! that was a lot of fun, glad people still remember me :)

Comments: 3894 • Responses: 40  • Date: 

dalbtraps3328 karma

What's your true relationship with your arch nemesis /u/AWildSketchAppeared? Do you know each other irl or are you strictly relegated to online art battles?

Shitty_Watercolour3360 karma

I think I have him on Skype but we've only spoken once or twice, I don't really know him.

beep_boop_sleep2625 karma

What made you start painting?

Shitty_Watercolour3856 karma

I had just been declined from a university that I wanted to, so I dug out a rather awful paint set that I got many Christmases ago, and began painting everything I saw on reddit. There was no artistic inclination or skill behind it, it was just something to fill the time that used to be spent studying. It only carried on because reddit received me well, and I'm grateful for that :)

scruba2572 karma

Mr. Shitty, what was your reaction when you heard that Barack Obama hung this in his campaign headquarters?

Shitty_Watercolour2901 karma

I feel a bit like Mr Bean right now, but I still have the original one in my bedroom and I sent them a remake of it.

Evan_Ragerr2189 karma

What made you get into painting everything in sloth form?

Shitty_Watercolour2753 karma

Sloths faces have such a personality to them that is lovely to try to capture in painting. I probably did take it a little far (on my wall above me I have superman sloth, ellie goulding sloth, a policeman sloth and a couple of others... yeah it's gone a bit too far).

But it's also something that I can take and apply to other things, like the sloth scream which is fun. But it didn't really push me creatively, it's a bit lazy to stick a sloth's face on things, so I'm trying to move away from it now.

FantaFruitTwist630 karma


MUFColin1981 karma

What is your favorite watercolor that you have ever done?

Shitty_Watercolour2649 karma

Every now and then I do a painting that looks whimsical and loose (I dare say Quentin Blake-esque). These might not be my most popular paintings, but I like them the best because they seem more free. That being said, this one is perhaps my favourites, and it is rather old.

edit: I'd be interested to hear what your favorite paintings of mine are? Which kind?

ChristianOrtega868 karma

That was for me!!!!!

Shitty_Watercolour794 karma

oh wow, hey, thanks for the opportunity. The painting is framed in my kitchen :)

dadroidrigues101877 karma

Hey congrats on going from Reddit to working for the BBC and Intel, my question is how did you get there? Did they approach you or was it vice-versa?

Also what's your favourite Reddit thread(besides this I guess)

Shitty_Watercolour2284 karma

Every now and then I get approached with an opportunity to paint, usually through a marketing firm, and it goes from there. It's very nice when people who I do work for enjoy my paintings who aren't from reddit, because to me it means they appreciate my ability aside from being known as shitty watercolour over here. Similarly they tend not to print my name beside what I do (for obvious reasons) and although it's a bit annoying, it's nice for the same reason.

dadroidrigues10255 karma

Thanks for the insight :) and good luck on your future endeavours

Shitty_Watercolour332 karma

Thank you :)

TylerOnTech1575 karma


Will you pay your debt?

Bijou2261366 karma

How surreal is it to have your own Wikipedia page because of your paintings?

Also, are you planning on putting more of your paintings on Snapchat? I loved seeing them from time to time.

I was a big fan of your "sloth period", keep it up!

Shitty_Watercolour1431 karma

EVERYONE I know seems to be convinced that I made that myself, but I promise you reddit that I did not. They even spelled my name wrong in one place.

Snapchat was fun to do but quite a lot of my work is now commercial stuff that I can't show beforehand. Also, I don't have the opportunity to photoshop my paintings and make them look pretty :( But I'll try to do more!

shootmeinthesmile1292 karma

I got this from a "buy a random Shitty Watercolour painting" thing on here and have no idea what's going on. Do you remember the story here? http://imgur.com/GdDoucT

Shitty_Watercolour1363 karma

To be honest I can't even recognise most of the paintings that I have in my room at the moment, there's just too many. Maybe someone else with a very good memory can help? That painting must be a year or two old.

samlev1062 karma

I'm always impressed by the speed of your posts. How long does it normally take you from idea to painting, to scanned? How often do you start, and then realise that you've bitten off more than you can chew?

Shitty_Watercolour1764 karma

It's quite difficult getting the timing right. For a post to be shitty-able then it needs to be fairly recent (2 hours absolute tops) and also something I can paint. Any comments that imply a large quantity of something (an army of X, for example) are out of the question.

It usually takes about 5 minutes for the initial sketch, then a further 10 to go over it in ink, and then another 15-20 to paint it. After scanning I crop and correct the colours/levels in photoshop and it's all finished in about 30-40 minutes.

The funny thing is that as I am more experienced, the paintings take longer because I pay more attention to details that I wouldn't be able to do beforehand. I also didn't used to use ink, and I didn't even wait for the paint to dry. Those were some truly shitty watercolours.

Schnutzel241 karma

and I didn't even wait for the paint to dry

That can't be very good for the scanner...

Shitty_Watercolour682 karma

I used to just take a picture with my phone, which made it even shittier, if that's possible

juuuuice792 karma

What's the most inappropriate painting you've ever created?

Shitty_Watercolour2057 karma

I love the grossness of this painting, even though it looks so innocent at first glance


Unidan778 karma

What's the most technical piece of work that you've had to do and what made it difficult?

Has there been a piece you've just abandoned doing in a certain way or redone?

Shitty_Watercolour560 karma

howdy! When people send me commissions with all sorts of things in the background to make my life hard, like bicycles and chess boards and pianos.

The way I do my paintings (with ink outlines) means that there's a kind of binary of either drawing something properly or not at all. If I didn't use the ink then I might be able to abstract and draw, say, little blobs instead of a crowd of people.

And yes, I abandon things all the time. Either because it's a dumb idea or because I smudge it or something like this.

thanks for dropping by!

thefalloutman745 karma

  1. How long are you going to paint shitty watercolors?

  2. How much Reddit Gold do you have?

Edit: Everyone below me got gold.....

Shitty_Watercolour1288 karma

  1. As long as people will look at them!

  2. Only 2 years! Way behind the likes of /u/Unidan

Seraph_Grymm740 karma

Mr. Watercolour,

What first inspired you to take up water coloring (has this always been a passion of yours or just something you tried one day and it took off) ? How do you feel that it's carried you so far, and that now you're practically a Reddit celebrity?
Last question, I swear...do you consider all of the previous issues between /r/iama mods and yourself now just shitty water under the bridge? Feel free to answer this last question with a bit o' art, if you'd like.

Thanks for being you. My first experience seeing your work basically kept me from quitting Reddit.

All the best,
- Seraph

Edit: someone else asked some of my questions at the same time, sorry for the duplicate.

Shitty_Watercolour915 karma

Glad I kept you on reddit :)

It had never been a passion of mine, the paintings I do on reddit are the only practice I've ever had at painting, but I think that's perhaps part of the appeal, seeing me get better.

It's been a bit of a shock to my life - going from knowing what I was going to do and then having that certainty upset by painting, of all things. But on reddit, if you put just a little bit more effort into creating good content (whether that be a well researched comment or a more novel thing) then you will do well.

Any previous issues I had with mods on this site have been forgotten as far as I am concerned, I think we both made mistakes..

Meth_Damon685 karma

What do you see yourself doing in the next few years?

Shitty_Watercolour1059 karma

Well, that's the big question. Whether painting is sustainable or just a fun thing that will eventually pass is not known to me. If it does continue, I'd love to do more work that gets published physically, it's a very rewarding feeling to have your artwork being printed to hold in your hands.

TheCubeGeneral627 karma

Is Shitty_Watercolour going to be your alias for all of your paintings? I would hope not, but I would be intrigued if it was.

Shitty_Watercolour1106 karma

Sometimes I do work for companies that do not want to be associated with the word 'shitty', not surprisingly, and it has lost me work for big companies in the past. If I have to then I abbreviate to 'S. Watercolour', but I don't like that because it doesn't really mean anything. I might also transition to using my actual name, but it wont have the weight that 'shitty watercolour' does.

jarseo408 karma

What is your opinion on the art work of /u/AWildSketchAppeared ?

Shitty_Watercolour865 karma

I am jealous of the fact that he doesn't have to worry about ink or paint drying or correcting scans in photoshop. I could churn out a sketch every 10 minutes and it would be much simpler.

As far as his work, I hope this isn't mean but I prefer things with colour in them. B&W sketches don't stand out for me, but I admire how much work he's put in and hitting 1m karma.

dria379 karma

How long did it take you to go from first shitty watercolour to being a full-time professional artist? How many days/wk did you paint during that time?

Shitty_Watercolour649 karma

There wasn't a definitive point where I was declared a professional artist. Jobs have come my way from early on, they tend to just be better ones now.

But it was a lot of work; if you were on reddit a few years ago then you probably saw me a lot. And my paintings weren't upvoted much so I painted a lot more than that still. I was spending almost every waking hour painting for months and months at a time, it was a bit insane..


I was spending almost every waking hour painting for months and months at a time, it was a bit insane

I know the recognition on reddit helped, but I feel this was probably a huge factor in your success. Hard work, and putting the time in. I remember first seeing your paintings and thinking to myself "what an excellent way to get good at painting, just call it shitty, but keep on painting". I also remember when your paintings became significantly less "shitty" over time.

I don't really have a question. I just want to say "thank you" for all the joy your drawings have brought us. Your example is an inspiration.

Shitty_Watercolour720 karma

One of the strangest things came as a consequence of spending such a ridiculous amount of time painting, which I don't expect will come up in a question so I'll just say it here.

After a month or so of spending pretty much all of my time painting, I literally saw everything in watercolour and I honestly couldn't tell if an image was a photograph or a painting. In photographs I thought I could see edges and gradients as if they were artefacts of a painting. It was very weird, but it went away eventually.

TepidPig374 karma

When women in bars ask you what you do, what do you tell them?

Shitty_Watercolour1539 karma

I hand them the paintings of my french girls

BadWombat355 karma

Do you present yourself with the name Shitty_Watercolour over at BBC and Intel?

Shitty_Watercolour875 karma

The paintings were published through their social media accounts with no mention of my name (perhaps a cheeky S.W. in the corner). But it is quite fun seeing large companies begin their emails with 'Shitty,'

m559mick273 karma

Your paintings look awfully similar to the covers of Ronald Dahl's books. Did you take any inspiration from there or is it just a coincidence? I could probably just be seeing things.


Shitty_Watercolour416 karma

You're not seeing things, I love Quentin Blake and, as soon as someone on reddit made the comparison between my work and his, I couldn't get enough of his paintings. It was a bit unhealthy how much I liked his work, and how much I would despair at how bad mine were in comparison.

Although in reality my paintings don't look that similar to his: there are many illustrators that use ink+watercolour and look even more like QB's.

PS. Roald* Dahl

elaifiknow241 karma

So I'm that typical guy who wants to start drawing stuff, painting, etc., but doesn't know where to start. The typical "I can't draw". So what would you recommend. Just start drawing more? How about any good books?

Edit: Also, if anyone wants to know why I asked, it's cause my Uncle used to paint Disney characters (with a reference)

Shitty_Watercolour328 karma

Well I'll preface this by saying that I'm probably not the best person to learn from, but I wrote a rather long paragraph about learning to paint in a more psychological way a few months back here

To add to that, it will help you in the long term to think more carefully than I did about what you are seeing and drawing. Evidence of perspective and how things look are (obviously) all around you in the world, so always be looking and applying it to your drawing. Look for lines and edges and distortion and the colours in light & shadows and such.

Technique wise, I suck at traditional painting and drawing, so perhaps pick a style? In that post I linked above there's a video which is quite unhelpful but it expands on that a bit.

Jaime_Lefthandister229 karma


You thought I'd forget but oh no, that memory burns through my head every time I see one of your comments you sexy bastard. So can you deliver 7 months later?

Shitty_Watercolour208 karma

oh golly PM me your address and I will scribble over the santa sloth until it resembles something less christmassy. Maybe turn the sled into a monster truck or something.

Chiparoo192 karma

What was the first comment you ever painted for Reddit, and why did you choose that particular one?

Shitty_Watercolour251 karma

I'm afraid I can't remember, but it would have just been the first post that I came across.

Agustin1992186 karma

So when doing interviews, did the interviewers have any funny stares or comments when you mentioned your previous work under the name "shittywatercolor?"

Shitty_Watercolour442 karma

On the Fox interview I did, they just put a massive bleep over any mention of my name, which was quite funny to watch afterwards

approximatesunlight154 karma

Hello! Who is your favourite person you have done a shitty watercolour of?

Shitty_Watercolour273 karma

Quentin Blake!

CloseoutTX59 karma

Are you able to make a living from your artwork or is it a side business/hobby?

Shitty_Watercolour82 karma

I suppose it's the nature of freelance work, but the work is completely unpredictable across the year, which makes it hard to tell. I also don't particularly enjoy painting commissions because hardly anyone gets to see them and I don't get to decide what to paint. Also I'm a student at the moment.

jackjustdied58 karma

I just wanted to say that your pictures always remind me of Quentin Blake, Roald Dahl, and my childhood in general. Congratulations on your success, you absolutely deserve it. You said that you drawing stuff on reddit was just something to fill the time that used to be spent studying. Have you since fallen in love with it?

Shitty_Watercolour61 karma

It definitely fluctuates between loving it and sometimes hating it. There are days and weeks where I can't seem to make anything look good, and that really gets me down. But when I can pull it off, it is one of the most satisfying things. Glad you like them :)

Left4Sebb42 karma

I manage the Coutyard. Next time you come along, make yourself known and I'll get you a pint?

Shitty_Watercolour46 karma

I practically lived there in first year! Will do, thanks :)

exorcist7216 karma

Do you get bored of painting?

What's your favorite subject to paint (animals, people, whatever)?

Shitty_Watercolour22 karma

Sometimes it's a bit tedious starting the whole process again (sketch, ink, paint, waiting to dry in between, scanning, photoshop) but on the whole I don't get bored.

My favourite things to paint are natural things (animals, trees, etc) rather than artificial things (buildings, cars) because they look better in my style I think.

le_mous14 karma

Question - What would your chosen career field have been, had you not been declined from University? I.e. What would you have been the majestic "shitty watercolour" of in your field?

Also, I just wanted to say that a few years ago when I joined reddit, you quickly became (and you still remain!) one of my favorite "things" about reddit. I can't quite put my finger on it to articulate but I feel that you really contribute tremendously to putting a humorous and overall positive effect into making reddit as good as it is.

Shitty_Watercolour18 karma

I was declined from my first choice university but I currently study politics, philosophy, and economics elsewhere. And thank you very much for the kind words, I'm happy you like them :)

BigCheese67813 karma

Are there any videos or links to the work you've done with the BBC/other companies? How much do they pay you?

Shitty_Watercolour21 karma

Here's a link to a painting I did for the BBC twitter, it was illustrating things celebrities said about a popular TV show called Great British Bake Off https://twitter.com/bbctwo/status/385133202769076224

Over all the projects I do, the commercial price varies between £50-250 per painting

tecnocrat12 karma

Have you ever done a painting for someone and said to yourself, "No, this is just too bad to use, don't care about the gimmick."?

Shitty_Watercolour21 karma

I used to get really nervous about sending people their commissioned portraits because I thought they might get offended. And then for some people you mess up the painting really badly and they're just cool about it because it's a 'shitty' watercolour, which is a nice perk of the job I guess

dria10 karma

Did you ever think about giving up the whole thing? Why? What kept you going?

Shitty_Watercolour22 karma

I don't think I've seriously considered giving up, but the time pressures and occasional unhappiness with my work sometimes makes me question whether it's something that I will keep on doing. But so far that has been outweighed by the positivity from you guys :)