Watercoloring Ella Tutorial

1:44 AM

Hello AIF fans! My name is Laurie, and my new friend Mia asked if I would contribute a tutorial to her blog about coloring. Just so you know, I am not a "certified" professional of watercoloring or anything like that, LOL. But I have discovered that some people seem to like the simple techniques that I apply to my images (based on the sweet comments they leave for me) and it delights me to share them with you today. I hope you are a little inspired, even if watercoloring with markers isn't your preferred medium choice.
This way of coloring is easy, and I think anyone can do them if they put their heart to it! Especially since you will have step by step photos to follow along with.

So, here is my completed card below. I have posted this card on my personal blog with card supplies if that interests you, HERE. But below, I have outlined the steps I took to color and the tools I used.

First, I used the new Love you Ella digital stamp set HERE from AI Factory.Close up of sweet Ella!Before I get started, I will list out the essential supplies needed for the watercoloring.

  • Markers made for watercoloring, I use Tombow here, but have used Stampin' Up! brand in the past
  • Watercolor paper, I use 90 lb. Canson brand and find it to have exceptional blending ability
  • Waterbrush, I use Yasutomo brand and the second smallest round tip size
(To complete a project, you would need other supplies like your carstock, papers, embellishments, adhesives, snip scissors, etc.)

To prepare your waterbrush, unscrew the cap and fill the reservoir with distilled water. Some brands have a little piece of plastic in between the screw on cap and the reservoir that has a very tiny hole. It is difficult to get the water in THAT hole, so you use a fingernail to loosen that plastic piece up and slide off the reservoir. Then you have a larger hole for adding the water. Replace the little plastic piece and then the screw on cap. Make sure it is finger tight, meaning you do want it tight, but don't "white-knuckle" it so tight that you warp the threads and render your waterbrush useless. (I bet you know how I know that!)

I print on Canson 90 lb. watercolor paper. This paper is lightweight and works in a laser printer nicely, and is a wonderful blending "canvas" for your art.

I printed the Ella image twice and the rose bouquet image twice. I sized the roses to be about the size of the heart she is holding, so that I could glue the roses on top of the heart. I just wanted her to be holding and smelling those beautiful roses, as if someone just gave them to her!

The markers that I use are Tombow brand, made in Japan. I have also used Stampin' Up! dye ink markers and have achieved a very similar effect. I believe there are other watercoloring markers out there, but I have not purchased or used any other brand.
Below is a picture of the Tombow marker colors that I used on this project.
What you should do first is cut out one of the Ella images with a die cut or special cutter so that your panel is ready. You won't want to handle your completely colored image too much with your fingers and tools after coloring, so it is best to die cut it first.

NOTE: My steps are typed ABOVE the photo I am describing.

1. Start coloring portions of the image that are on the inside first, and work your way out in all the other directions. Here, I started with her face.
As you can see below, I gently applied the 850 porcelain color with the brush tip of the marker, all the way around the perimeter of her face, and then I applied a stroke under each eye.2. Next, before blending, I used the 772 pink color to add a little circle for her cheeks.
3. Now it is time to see the blending magic happen! Gently squeeze on the reservoir of your waterbrush... and I do mean GENTLY. Trust me, the water will flow. Test it on scrap paper first to make sure you have an even gentle flow of water, and you may even want to practice your watercoloring a few times on scrap print outs before starting a special project .
Now gently stroke over the color you put down and blend toward the center of the face moving your waterbrush bristle in a slow sweeping back and forth motion. Go right over the circle cheek color and see it blend out. TRY TO KEEP YOUR BRISTLE ONLY WITHIN THE AREA OF COLOR YOU ARE WORKING WITH. This does require a steady hand, so practice, practice, practice! You don't want water to saturate the hair and other areas where you will want to add different colors to.
4. Continue all around the face and move your brush toward the center while stroking back and forth. TIP: Turn your project around as you need to blend the other sides, don't try to angle your hand differently. You will get a more even blending of color.
5. Wait just a few minutes for the face area to begin to dry out. I used the 991 blonde color and just applied strips of color along the hair sections, leaving some of it white.6. Next, add your hair contrast color, I used thee 947 color. I added it only to a few areas and still left some of the sections white. This creates a wider contrast of blended color in the end.
7. Apply the waterbrush, gently, and JUST THE TIP of it for skinny spaces, like these hair sections. Try to color each hair section individually. Watch as the 2 colors blend as you move the waterbrush tip along.
8. See below, the first hair section just beneath the brush is blended and I haave started the section above it.
9. Continue until all hair sections are blended, see below.10. Using Tombow 899 color, I outlined the dress as shown below.11. With the waterbrush, starting at the left, I quickly stroke from the bottom of the dress upward toward the heart and then back down again, all the while moving to the right. I am picking up the color each time I get to the top or bottom of the dress and pulling into and across the section.12. When you get to the right, I have pulled the color from the outlines through the middle of the dress section all the way to the right side.
13. For the roses, I have used colors 772 and 837. I have applied quick brush strokes of pink to most of the rose petals and then just small strokes of the rose color along some of the edges where I imagined darker colors of petals to be.
14. Using the waterbrush, LIGHTLY touch the very tip to each petal section, one section at a time, and quicly yet smoothly brush each petal and watch the 2 colors blend and come to life right on the paper.
I cut out the 3 roses on the left so that I could use pop up adhesive on them over the main bouquet.

15. Color and blend the heart lightly. You won't need much color since the roses will be on top of them. Next, color the hair bows, legs and arms and shoes.
16. Add some color around your image to help "ground" it. I used the 991 yellow marker. This will help bring out your image and make it appear more dimensional and not just floating in space. Using a different color under the feet will help her appear standing on something solid, however, on my card, I chose to just use the same color all the way around.
17. Use the waterbrush tip and start near the edge of the image. Use gentle back and forth motions and pull the brush outward as you move back and forth. Do this in approximately 1" long sections at a time and move around the image by turning the project, not your hand.18. I have found that using a can of spray clear acrylic sealer over a printed and colored digital image helps keep it from smudging or smearing with LIGHT handling. TIP: Use the sealer SPARINGLY. Use several quick and short sprays over the entire image, and hold the can at least 6-9 inches away from your project, and DO NOT saturate the paper. You only want a light spritzing of the sealer to come into contact on your project. You DO NOT want to make it glossy, you only want to see a finely spritzed shimmer over the image. If done properly, allow 5 minutes to dry completely before handling.

19. Using foam pop up adhesive, add the 3 rose section on top of the bouquet piece. This makes the bouquet look a little more full of roses.
20. Use a glue pen adhesive to secure the cut out bouquet down to the main image.21. See the close up angle below how the arms were added using a foam pop up sticky, and then using the glue pen on the tops of the arms. This actually gives the illusion that her arms are coming right off the card and over the bouquet.
22. As a final touch to add some color to the tag, I used the 991 marker and gently added a border around the edge, and then went over that line with the waterbrush, blending inward. You can achieve a similar effect by using a sponge and an inkpad, and sponging the edge.
The coloring is done now, and you can put your card or project together. Hope you found a little inspiration and maybe you will try soomething new today.
Thanks to Mia for letting me take over a post today to share a little of what I do to color.
Happy stamping and have a wonderful day!
Here is the completed card again.

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