I believe that the most successful way to start improving is to practise a number of the core techniques used in most watercolour paintings.
Most people that are newcomers to painting believe that they will pick up the basics through the process of creating full paintings this doesn't always work.
To master these techniques I suggest simple and quick exercises in a sketch book. This will help you familiarize yourself with the basics needed to progress onto a painting.
If you approach your work by spending time drawing a scene setting out your supplies then gathering all your reference material and mixing your colours the last thing you would want to happen is you get a tension and pressure not to mess your painitng up because you are not fluent in the techniques and you hesitate alot before laying down the stroke you need.
If you spend some time mastering the basics you will reap the reward later.
Core techniques used in most watercolours are
1 Mark making
2 Basic Washes
3 Variegated washes
4 Colour and colour mixing
5 Dry Brushing
6 Lifting out
7 Tonal Values
8 Ariel Perspective
The next blog will start to go through all the core techniques