Let’s Color! Water­color Tech­niques

The soft color tones and translu­cent washes of water­color are ideal for the spring card-mak­ing sea­son.

CardMaker - - Contents - By Col leen Schaan

While I may be most rec­og­nized for my Copic® col­or­ing, I do like to switch it up on oc­ca­sion and use other col­or­ing me­dia. I thought it would be fun to share some of my fa­vorite tech­niques with some of those me­dia in my col­umn this year.

Spring al­ways re­minds me of water­color with its soft tones and translu­cent washes, so I think that is the per­fect place to start. While each tech­nique be­low is listed with a spe­cific water­color prod­uct, many of them may be used with other water­color prod­ucts as well.

Water­color Mark­ers

Most dye ink mark­ers are wa­ter-based and can be used for wa­ter­col­or­ing. Some will blend bet­ter and be more for­giv­ing than oth­ers, so make sure to test your fa­vorite brands.

Step 1: Us­ing brush nib of marker, color di­rectly on stamp. Use as many col­ors as nec­es­sary to ink en­tire im­age.

Step 2: Spritz lightly with wa­ter to ac­ti­vate ink.

Step 3: Gen­tly press stamp onto water­color pa­per to trans­fer im­age (Photo 1).


Water­color pa­per Dye ink mark­ers Line im­age stamp Wa­ter in spray bot­tle Small paint­brush Cup of wa­ter Pa­per tow­els Plas­tic sur­face to use as pal­ette

Water­color Paints

There are a num­ber of dif­fer­ent types of water­color paints, from cakes to liq­uid to con­cen­trated pig­ment on pa­per. While I love liq­uid wa­ter­col­ors for their vi­brant hues, the cakes are a bit more travel friendly, and I can take a small pal­ette with me when I want to cre­ate out­side of my stu­dio.

Step 1: Stamp im­age in wa­ter­proof ink. If us­ing dye inks, make sure they are com­pletely dry be­fore wa­ter­col­or­ing. Step 2: Add wa­ter to water­color cakes to ac­ti­vate paints. Step 3: Us­ing clean wa­ter, wet area to be painted. Make sure to ap­ply wa­ter only to one sec­tion at a time or paints will run to­gether (Photo 4).


Water­color pa­per Water­color pan set Line im­age stamp Dye ink Small paint­brush Cup of wa­ter Pa­per tow­els

Water­color Pen­cils

I love that water­color pen­cils give me the look of water­color while giv­ing me the con­trol of a pen­cil. If you are new to wa­ter­col­or­ing, give these a try for in­stant suc­cess.

Step 1: Stamp im­age in wa­ter­proof ink. If us­ing dye inks, make sure they are com­pletely dry be­fore wa­ter­col­or­ing.

Step 2: Start­ing with light­est color, ap­ply a thick layer of color to most of the stamped im­age. Leave any ar­eas of high­light un­col­ored. You can ap­ply pen­cil by rub­bing in cir­cles, lines or ran­domly (Photo 7).


Water­color pa­per Water­color pen­cils Line im­age stamp Dye ink Small paint­brush Cup of wa­ter Pa­per tow­els

Water­color Crayons

Water­color crayons are a ver­sa­tile way to add soft color to an im­age. They can be used di­rectly on pa­per like water­color pen­cils, or they can be col­ored onto a stamp and then trans­ferred to pa­per like water­color mark­ers. The fol­low­ing tech­nique uses Ge­latos (a form of water­color crayon) col­ored di­rectly onto a stamp and lay­ered to cre­ate a unique, water­color im­age.

Step 1: Be­gin­ning with largest im­age, ap­ply light­est color to stamp by gen­tly rub­bing crayon across sur­face. Use your fin­ger to spread color if nec­es­sary.

Step 2: Spritz col­ored stamp lightly with wa­ter and stamp onto water­color pa­per. The color will be in­con­sis­tent and the im­age may be indis­tinct. That’s okay. Let it dry com­pletely (Photo 11).

A Note About Pa­pers

While these tech­niques can be used on most any pa­per, you will find the best re­sults by us­ing a good qual­ity pa­per meant for water­color me­dia. Un­like smooth pa­pers, water­color pa­pers are made to ab­sorb wa­ter con­sis­tently and slowly to avoid pilling and tear­ing. The sur­face tex­ture al­lows paints to flow and set­tle, giv­ing a unique look to the fin­ished im­age.

Step 5: If deeper shad­ing or ad­di­tional color is de­sired, scrib­ble marker ink di­rectly onto a plas­tic sur­face and use as a paint pal­ette. With a wet brush, pick up marker ink and ap­ply it to stamped im­age (Photo 3).

Step 4: Us­ing a wet paint­brush, be­gin “pulling” color from stamped lines into im­age. Add more wa­ter as nec­es­sary and re­mem­ber to clean brush be­tween col­ors (Photo 2).

Step 4: Load de­sired paint color onto a wet brush and be­gin paint­ing by touch­ing loaded brush to wet area of im­age. The paint will flow from brush tip onto sur­face of wa­ter (Photo 5).

Step 5: Spread and di­rect paint as de­sired. Add more wa­ter to lighten color and cre­ate a soft wash (Photo 6).

Step 6: For a darker color, use less wa­ter or al­low area to dry com­pletely be­fore adding more paint.

Step 3: Add shad­ing with ad­di­tional col­ors. Ap­ply pen­cil di­rectly over pre­vi­ous lay­ers to cre­ate vis­ual depth (Photo 8).

Step 5: If a line im­age is in­cluded, stamp over water­color lay­ers with a co­or­di­nat­ing color of dye ink (Photo 14).

Step 4: Dip paint­brush into clean wa­ter and be­gin spread­ing and blend­ing pen­cil color. Start in dark­est ar­eas and pull color into high­light ar­eas. Clean brush pe­ri­od­i­cally to keep col­ors from turn­ing muddy. Use wa­ter to “pick up” color from dried ar­eas to lighten if nec­es­sary (Photo 9). Step 5: Add de­tail or high­light def­i­ni­tion by dip­ping a pen­cil into wa­ter and ap­ply­ing di­rectly to pa­per (Photo 10).

Step 4: Ap­ply dark­est color to small­est layer stamp, spread, spritz with wa­ter, and stamp cre­at­ing an­other layer (Photo 13).

Step 3: Ap­ply a darker color to a smaller layer stamp and spread if nec­es­sary. Spritz with wa­ter and stamp di­rectly over first im­age (Photo 12).

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