Monday, October 27, 2008

Tutorial: Simple Watercolored Roses

This weekend, SplitCoast Stampers held the “Mini” Cabaret VSN – a "teaser" for the November extravaganza scheduled for November 14th and 15th. The coordinators, Jean (naturecoastcrafter), Stacey (Little Lou's), JoAnn (sarahzoe), and each of the hostesses did a phenomenal job of putting together an exciting theme and 7 fantastic challenges.

The first challenge, the brain child of Michelle (shaddybaby), was to create a frame for a picture. Coincidentally, I happened to have a 5x7 print of my husband and me that was taken this summer at our annual family reunion. It had been sitting on my desk, begging to be framed. This was the perfect opportunity to make a decorative mat for it.

I use a method to create these lovely flowers that is similar to the technique demonstrated in Beate’s SCS Tutorial, “Stained Glass”. The main difference is that the images are embossed in gold and painted on the front of the vellum, not on the reverse.

The goal of this technique is to create a beautiful flower with a splash of color, not to create a shaded water colored masterpiece. Since the coloring is a very small part of the process, (the cutting takes longer!), they are simple and quick to make.

Tools and Materials:

Embossing Pad

Gold Embossing Powder


Watercolor Pencils

Paint brush, water, paper towel

Detail Scissors (I like CutterBees by EK Success)

Heat gun


The kind of stamps that work best in this technique are very detailed ones – the more detail, the better. And those with “smoother” – less detailed or irregular edges – also make the process easier and quicker. For this project I used a cluster of roses from “The Country Garden Collection” and rose leaves #A2491E, both from Rubber Stamped, and the rose from the “Classic Botanicals” collection, #96701 from Inkadinkadoo.

The rose on the left works very well for this technique, where the rose on the right, which has less detail, less overall “lines” to emboss, is much better suited to traditional watercoloring. The leaves, which are almost solid, are perfect for this technique. They will take little if any coloring, depending on the thickness of the embossing powder and your heat gun. I didn't color them at all for my mat project.

Stamp the images with an embossing pad and dust with gold embossing powder and heat to emboss. It doesn't matter if you catch an edge of your stamp or have any other imperfections because once they are embossed, you'll be cutting them out. You will see variations based on how thick the ink is and how much powder it grabs. I try to ink some lightly but thoroughly so I can add more color. Different thicknesses and colors give you more variety when it comes to designing your placement. After they are embossed, cut around them, leaving a wide margin. You want to have at least a half inch between the images so you can easily cut them apart to paint. When you paint, paint on the top side of the vellum, the side that you embossed.

Watercolor pencils can be used in two different ways. If there are large areas, you can put the pigment in the area, the same way you would with a regular colored pencil, but you don’t have to be very particular or exacting about it. You can always add more pigment as you're painting. The goal is just to get color in the image. Then, spread and even out the pigment with a damp paintbrush. Once my brush is damp, I just touch the last third of it into the water and that is usually enough water for this process. If you find that there is too much water on the image, you can blot it with a paper towel.

If you have to add more color to an already wet image, you’ll get better results lifting pigment from the paintbrush (described below). Some brushes drink more water than others, and if you find that you are consistently getting too much water on the brush, touch it lightly to a paper towel to drain and that usually gets enough of the excess off the brush.

If the areas are tiny, it’s almost impossible to get into the nooks and crannies with the pencil. When you can’t color onto the vellum with the pencil, get the color onto the paintbrush and apply it that way. To do that, wet your paintbrush and touch it lightly to a paper towel – you want it wet but not dripping. Brush it back and forth against the end of the pencil and lift the pigment right onto the paint brush. You’ll see the color on the end of your paint brush. If your paintbrush is not wet enough, you won’t be able to lift the pigment onto your brush. If you have too much water, it’ll puddle on your image. This is not a problem - just blot with a small piece of paper toweling. Paint over the image and don’t worry about getting the pigment on the gold. It won’t adhere and you can wipe over it with a paper towel and remove it.

What I did with this particular rose was to color in the larger petals with a dry pencil just to get pigment in the areas and then I wet them just a bit, minimally spreading around the pigment. Next, I loaded a fairly wet brush with a generous amount of pigment directly off the pencil. When you are loading the pigment off the pencil, you can see it thickening on the end of your brush. I painted over the entire rose with a large swirling motion. If you have enough water and pigment, you can spread it generously over a fairly large area. The paint doesn't adhere to the embossing so you don't have to worry about details - just cover the entire image with color. With a fairly small brush, I'm able to cover about a third of the rose with each loading from the pencil.

You can go back and swirl a darker shade of pigment if you want to give the images a little interest, but it really isn't
necessary with this technique.

Let the paint dry before you cut the images. If you are doing this under time constraints, you can use your heat tool or a hair dryer to dry the paint quickly. Then cut with detail scissors along the outside embossed edge. You can also use an Exacto knife, but I find that scissors go much more quickly, especially if the edge isn't very irregular.

1 comment:

Giovana said...

Pretty good tutorial!!!
Thanks so much for sharing.

God bless