Saturday, June 19, 2010

Watercolor Tutorial

I recently did a watercolor techniques class and wanted to show a more detailed version of painting the King of the Grill stamp set. I tired to take a shot of each step along the way, but some pictures seem to have been skipped. I'll try and fill in the blanks.

To need watercolor paper and Stazon Ink. Stamp your image firmly on the watercolor paper. let it dry for a moment or to before you begin. I like using the Stampin Up! Aqua painters, but a paint brush will work if you have a good watercolor set. You need a fine strong point for detail work. Make sure it is designed for watercolor painting if you go this route. A good brush can easily run 10-20. By comparison the Aqua painters are a steal!

Step 1. Begin by using your lightest background color.  I used Bashful Blue here.  Go around the items carefully.  You can do multiple light coats to build up the background so don't try and get all the color on at once.    After you like the lightness in the background, begin adding some shadows to your sky.  Mostly around the wheels and grill base in this image.  I used Tempting Turquoise as my next color.  In between each coat or light wash of color, hit the image with a hair dryer or heat tool.  this prevents the colors from looking muddy and bleeding together.

Also do a quick wash in the smoke to give it some color.  I looked at this as smoke or dust cloud, but either way it should be lighter than the sky.

Step 2.
Same concept here for the ground.  I went in with old olive here along the horizon line.  I took a few passes at it to get the intensity of color that I wanted.  (On my second card I also used a little soft suede right at the smoke line to give a little color to the dirt.)

Step 3.
I started with light washes of soft suede on the handle, bottles, and shoes. I did Real rust for the meat, with a hint of soft suede to tone it down a bit. I also did a wash of Night of Navy on his jeans.  Keep in mind where you highlights will be and try not to get the jeans to dark to give the illusion of depth.

Step 4.
Start the grill with a wash of Bashful Blue or Tempting Turquoise.  A Silver grill will show show reflection of color from the sky so will not really be straight grey.  Give it some blue to give that reality of color.  This is the hardest part I think.  Make several passes, using the hair dryer between each one. The stamp has provided line showing where your shadows are, so work with those.  they will be your darkest sections.  Also base the wheels in Night of Navy.  You can add some more detail to your shadows in the smoke if desired.
Step 5.
Sorry, this one is a bit blurry.  Continue with Night of Navy on the grill using washes to give the illusion of metal.  Use a last pale wash of Basic Black on the wheel and in the shadows.  this will keep it from being a blue grill.  You could used Basic gray too though.  I used more Night of Navy in this card though.  my second card is a darker grill.  it is your choice.

Face and Hands are great with Blush Blossom.  I also used a spot of Pretty in Pink to give a rosy blush on the cheeks and around the knuckles.  I used chocolate chip on the hair. and a So Saffron for the shirt with Crushed Curry shadows  My shadows were under the color.

Step 6.
So this was my finished stamp on my first version.  At my Dad & grad card class, I did another one, which I like better.  That is the second image.

Card #2-Darker Grill and different shirt color- Pumpkin Pie.

So if you have any questions, shoot me an email! Hope this helps!!


  1. I love your card, and your step by step instructions are great.

  2. I love watercoloring, I think it is my favorite;). Your work is amazing.
    P.S. I'm following. . .

  3. I have so much trouble with watercoloring. It never looks right when I'm done and usually end up trashing it and doing something else in frustration. I would love more tips and helps on this technique. I will be following you. You can find me at:

    Thanks for all your great tips!

  4. If I had to guess, your frustration probably would be helped by hitting each color wash with a hair dryer. The biggest mistake is to do to much with wet paper. Try doing a section at a time. It takes longer, but I think it will end up being crisper and less "muddy" Send me a picture and I can try & give you some pointers. Remember you can always add more color. Try not to go in too dark at first. Light washes build up to make a better final product.

    Good luck!
    Send me a picture and I can try and give you some specific pointers-and of course, keep practicing!!! hrpilz "at" gmail . com

  5. You've done a great job watercoloring, I can't seem to get the hang of the aquapainters, you have made it look so easy.

    Thanks for sharing,

    ps - I'm now a follower.

  6. Uh I have no talent for coloring like you do! =( You did an amazing job though =)

  7. AMAZING!! You have inspired me to give it another try.

  8. Heather, Love this tutorial. Now I need to try it. I'm following you..come follw me at

  9. Beautiful card- love the step by step tutorial!


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