March 13, 2013

watercolor painting 101: getting creative with paint and pens


Watercolor Painting 101 is a place to learn about the art of watercolor in a relaxed, non-threatening way. (I'm as non-threatening as they come) To see earlier lessons, visit the WP101 page.

Did you follow last week's lesson? If not, hop over because it's a two-parter and this is part two. Part one provides the base for the next step.

What You'll Need for Part 2:
• your flat wash from part one
• black pen
• your paints and brushes
• jar of clean water
• paper towel

inking the flowers c
The brighter, colorful blobs will become your "flowers" and the darker blobs will be your "leaves". For the flowers, draw very loose circles. Remember, it's better if you're loose and not worried about being exact.

b&w leaf c
Try a leaf. Be loose. Have fun!

painting collage c

Takeaway Tip: Your paper towel is your best friend! I kid you not. It really is. Dab it directly onto your painting and, if you have too much water or paint in your brush, touch it to the paper towel before hitting the paper.

sharp edges
Specifically DRIED, sharp paint edges...

takeaway tip

ta da

Continue adding darks to your background, especially concentrating on areas against lighter edges such as the upper left corner and lower right corner shown above. Doing this helps to make your flowers pop.

Now, go have yourself some fun creating flowers (that sorta, kinda look like berries floating in outer space) Shhh....

Be sure to come right back here when you've finished this exercise and link up! We love sharing with the rest of the class.


  1. Wunderschön" Danke für die Inspiration.
    Liebe Grüße Kerstin

  2. Brilliant! I still haven't tried this yet, but the supplies are at least out and waiting! Gosh your watercolors are fantastic Lori! Thank you again!

  3. Oh my goodness you make it look so easy hahaha... Your instructions are fantastic,I will try this one day soon, I've got a bit on the fire right now but I do so want to try, thanks again for being so kind to show us how you do your beautiful creations.... Your a doll Miss Lori...

  4. Mommy, mommy, look at mine, look at mine. I have some issues with following directions, but this is art, right?

  5. I just found your site by way of Pintrest. Wonderful blog and art lessons-TFS.

  6. Just recently found your blog per Pintrest. Great site and wonderful lessons-TFS

  7. I am so glad to find this. I have been wanting to get back into watercolors - it's been 30 years and I needed a refresher. This is perfect and I can't wait to get started.

  8. I've just finished reading all the 101 Watercolor lessons! I love your blog! Thanks so much for the wonderful instruction!

  9. Question, do you always paint prior to drawing or outlining with a maker or pen? Or can you start with a marker or pen and then paint? The reason I ask is because I'm concerned if the maker will bleed once I start to paint over it. Will pencil do the same? I suppose I could always just experiment on my own, but I wondered what you found to be the best process. Thanks!

    1. To answer your question, no, I do not always start with a marker or pen. Honestly, it depends on the subject matter, but I almost always begin with a light pencil sketch, followed by watercolor then, if necessary, pen.

      For the purpose of this tutorial, I painted first since I wanted to focus on painting techniques. Hope this helps a bit!


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