If you can’t decide between painting and drawing, ask yourself: why choose? This mixed-media project combines the best of watercolors and colored pencils for the prettiest blooms.
Mixed Media Flowers
What You Need
1. Sketch the Flowers
Draw the basic outline of your flowers on watercolor paper or Bristol board. Keep these pencil lines light and simple. (Here, we made the lines darker so they’re easier to see in a photo. We lightened them up with an eraser before moving on, and you can do the same if yours end up darker than intended.)
Now you’re ready for your first watercolor brushstrokes! But don’t load a bunch of pigment all at once — this project is all about layers, layers, layers. You should start with a thin, watered-down base on your stem, leaves and flowers. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to make those colors bolder later!
3. Add Layers
After the first wash dries completely, begin adding subtle layers. Using a small round paint brush, mix a couple of shades of gray and add them to the stem and leaves to create shadow and dimension. Remember to let every layer dry completely before you move to the next one, or your colors might run together and your washes may become uneven.
4. Add Colored Pencil
Once you’re happy with your paint layers and they’re completely dry, it’s time to grab your colored pencils. Layer your blue and yellow colored pencils to make green highlights and shadows on the stem and leaves. You can always add a bit of green colored pencil as well if you like the look.
Pro Tip: When layering colored pencil over your watercolor, use small circular motions. This will allow all of the color already on the paper to blend nicely with the new addition.
5. Paint the Fine Details
Pick your watercolors back up and use a small round brush to paint the details on the stem and leaves.
6. Paint the Flowers
After finishing all of the green areas, move on to the flowers. Still using the small pointed brush, mix different values with pigment and water and paint the highlights and shadows. As you add value, the flowers will gain depth and really start taking shape.
7. Final Details
Return to your colored pencils one more time for the final details. As always, remember to let the watercolor paint dry before drawing over it.
Keep refining with pencils until you’re happy with your piece. If you need to go back to your watercolors and tweak the colors, definitely do so! The great thing about this project is that more layers can always be added and don’t have to stick with a certain order.
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