DIY: Lettering with Watercolor Posted on 06 May 15:19

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Hand lettering is so popular these days. In this ever growing digital world, where the handwritten word is becoming somewhat of a rarity, more and more people are seeing the value and beauty of hand lettering. The thing that's so great about hand lettering, is anyone can create a beautiful hand lettered piece of artwork worth framing, a card for yourself, friend or with Mother's Day coming up, your mama! All with a few stylistic adjustments to your own handwriting.  This kind of project is a good way to dip your toes in the world of lettering and still get fun results. Lettering with watercolor has endless possibilities! You can create artwork, prints, gift tags, cards and is an easy way to create an impactful and beautiful gift that anyone will love.
All you need is:
-Watercolor paper, your local craft store will have pads, or single sheets of watercolor paper. I like to get really thick, cottony paper for the texture and luxe look and feel
-Round paint brush, also found at your local craft store, experiment with different sizes and lengths. The size of brush you use will change the look and style of your lettering
-Watercolor paint, you can buy the more inexpensive Crayola palettes, the craft brand palettes, or you can pick out specific colors in tubes. Keep in mind that the cheaper watercolor sets won't be as vibrant as the more expensive colors from a tube.
*Optional - you can also experiment with a sharpie, pen or gelly roll pen to write or draw on top of your watercolor wash for fun and different effects. Experiment and don't be afraid to make mistakes!
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First, I'll rip or cut my watercolor paper to the size I want my finished product to be. If I want a pretty watercolor wash for your card or print, I'll start on that first. The key with watercolor is to use a lot of water. Water is your BFF! So I'll use my brush and just brush on water onto my paper, covering the whole sheet. I'll then choose a color and blend it onto the wet paper, try applying more paint on one side or the top using less and less color to create an ombre effect. With the paper already wet you will get some fun patterns and textures in the paint. You can also use a paper towel to create texture by dabbing up some of the paint. Experiment with color. Have fun with it! While you let your watercolor wash dry, get started on some lettering.
I have been doing this for a while now and I'll still lightly pencil out what I want to write, pretty much every time. This ensures that you can fit your entire phrase or quote in the area you have and that it's centered and composed how you'd like! Once I decide how I'd like everything to look, I'll start lettering with my paint. Make sure your brush is really wet and try to get a lot of pigment on your brush. This part goes pretty quick. Don't think you can't use your own handwriting. Using a brush and the watercolor will add a cool brush style and immediate impact to your card or print.
As you write, anytime you make a downward stroke focus on making a thicker stroke and as your brush upwards, lift your hand off the paper more to make a thinner stroke. Creating these opposing thicks and thins and line variation is the key to acheiving the pretty brush lettering look.
**Experiment with your handwriting style, try writing in script and print. Try exaggerated downward pressure and light whispy strokes as well. Figure out what you like best! Playing around with this will be a good way to find out what strokes and letter styles you do and don't like. I tend to practice on regular print paper for a little bit and then move to my nicer watercolor paper once I get a feel for the style I want for my final card or print.
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Once your watercolor washes are dry, you can try lettering over top of them. You can create lovely prints, cards and gift tags this way.
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And there you go! With a few simple techniques you can create an easy and cute card or print for that special woman, mother, or friend in your life! (or just keep it for yourself, you deserve it too!)
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Happy lettering!