Watercoloring with stencils

I played along with the Mixed Media Frenzy group YouTube hop again this month. I’ve shared the whole process over on my channel. But if you want some quick tips on using stencils to get a watercolor look I can set you up with some photos here.

First off, my paper was prepped with gesso. This helps ink release and allows these effects to work to the fullest. For the coloring, I used layering stencils from Pink Fresh studio (available for purchase here). For each layer I used simple, different tips to create watercolor effects.

Layer One. Lightest color. Stencil on color. Give a hearty mist of water and tip paper to drip. This will eliminate most of the form of your stenciling and just leave a haze. You can always add detail back in with more stenciling. It is hard to see but there is a haze of color in the background.

Layer Two. Mid tone color. Stencil and give a gentle spritz with water. This will just fuzz out the images. Notice the largest leaf is all blurry?

Layer Three. First flowers. Stencil. Use a watercolor brush to paint over the image with just a little clean water. Stroke outside the lines of the image just a little. This gives a flowy watercolor look. I did add back more detail and depth with a light re-stenciling exactly over the same spots. Can you see the back layer of the flower has jagged edges and a lighter color? The front layer has crisper edges and richer color from the extra stencil work. When you know these little tricks you can get LOTS of dimension and interest.

Layer Four. Accent flowers. Stencil. Use paintbrush to just touch a spot of water to center. This pushes pigment out towards the edge of the image for a gradient look. Really look at those yellow flowers to see how the color changes across the image.

Layer Five. Final foliage layer in darkest shade. Stencil. Wet entire image with a watercolor brush, much like for the flowers. Except this time dab up excess water and ink with a tissue to really tone back the image. Don’t dab up all the water and ink or it’ll be like you didn’t do anything at all. Just a quick tap with the tissue will leave a “splotchy” image that adds texture more than anything. See how only parts of the leaves are fully clear? That adds a lot of texture.

Top off your new painting with some pen work to give just a touch of details and you now have a pretty watercolored background painting and you don’t have to know how to draw a single thing!

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