Monday 20 October 2008

Watercolouring - how I do it !

A few of you have asked me how I watercolour my pictures. Well, simply, trial and error ! I am by no means an artist and wouldn't know where to start drawing or painting a picture from scratch but I have practised using a variety of different methods from pens, pencils, paints and inks and they are all different and have a different look about them. These are the main ways I watercolour my pictures :

Firstly, I always use a Koi watercolouring brush (a brush filled with water), a little pot of water for when I need extra and kitchen roll for when I don't need too much. I also mainly use watercolour paper for my images as I find it so forgiving. If you make a mistake you can usually add a little more water and blot it with the kitchen roll and its gone as painting on watercolour paper takes longer to dry. Also, I find that because it doesn't dry as quickly, I can blend the colours better. With regard to what I use for painting, I use a variety of products :

My favourite - Tim Holtz Distress Inks

I love these distress inks as they are so versatile, the colours range from vibrant to subtle and I love them. Painting with them is very simple. Make sure your brush isn't too wet and take the colour from the pad, sort of roll the brush on the pad so you pick up the ink. Try not to pick up too much ink (you can test this by painting a patch away from your image so you know what the intensity of the colour is going to be first). Outline your image with the ink and then carefully "work it or drag the colour" towards the centre of the image. You can gradually build up the colour as you go.

Watercolour Pencils

I love these too and use them a lot but I find the colours are not as vibrant as the inks and do have a more "watercolour" look to them. I tend to use Derwent pencils although I think most of the watercolour pencils are the same. I also have a large tin of WHSmith's own brand pencils and although I have to apply more colour, they are perfect and I would definitely recommend them.

To watercolour with pencils I simply hold the pencil in one hand, my brush in the other and take the colour from the end of the pencil and put it on the paper ! For blending colours i.e. for grass, I hold about 4-5 green pencils in my hand all at once and I take a bit of colour from each pencil and blend the colours until it looks right for my eye. I have tried to outline my image first with the pencil and then lightly colour the middle and then try to blend the colour but I find my way the easiest as you don't get any pencil lines left on the paper. If you are too heavy handed with the outlining I found you still had a pencil line around your image which I didn't like the look of.

Whispers Pens

These are very similar to the distress inks but do have a more "felt pen" look about them (my own personal opinion !). To use the pens I use one of my stamping blocks and colour on it. I then take the colour from the stamping block onto my brush and paint that way. This is a very good way of colouring large areas like sky. You can also use this method with the distress inks too if you want to paint a large area one colour, just add more water on the stamping block.

I hope that this helps. Sorry there are no pictures, I'm not brave enough to do that yet ! I am self taught and have done a huge amount of blog hopping and looking at hundreds of different tutorials on Youtube and above all, I have practised and have found what suits me best.

There is a fantastic tutorial on Marlene's blog explaining how to watercolour with distress inks. I sat one evening in front of my PC painting Tilda following Marlene's tutorial. Why not have a go too !

If you decide the try any of these methods above, please let me know so I can come and visit your blog and have a look at your work. I would love to find out if I have managed to help someone out as so many have helped me this past year.

Thanking you all for your lovely, kind and encouraging comments - what a fantastic World the crafting World is - enjoy it !


  1. Love your notes on watercolouring. I agree with you on the 'felt-tip' pen look. I prefer the Marvy pens to the whisper ones. Kimx

  2. Great stuff! Keep writing!!

    SBL-Picture Coloring


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Jo x

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