Pen and Ink Drawing with Watercolor Wash

Watercolor wash

Let us now look at how I laid down the watercolor wash over the pen and ink drawing completed in the previous stage.

Figure 4: Watercolors used for flowers and stems of Magnolias.

Watercolor wash over pen and ink drawing

Figure 5: Start watercolor wash on the top flower

I start by pre-mixing both a strong and weak mixture of the Permanent Alizarin Crimson. The weak mixture is about the strength of coffee while the strong mixture is of creamy consistency.

With my main colors mixed I start with the weak mixture on the top flower working from left to right. I use my size 12 round brush for most of this painting.

Notice how I leave lots of white paper untouched when painting the flowers. These white areas help to give the painting a sense of light.

In some cases I paint more than one petal at a time. It depends on the relative tones of a section of the flower I am working on. If the tone is the same I often paint it as one shape. Here and there I add some of the stronger mixture to give some added form to the flower shape.  However, I do not aim to try and create any photo realism in this type of painting. It just wouldn’t like right for me anyway.

While the flower is still wet I start painting the stem below it. My size 8 round watercolor brush is used for this stage.  I like to let some of the flower color bleed into the stem. In real life you would get a little bit of the flower color reflected onto the stem anyway.

I used some Raw Umber, Aureolin,  and Cobalt Turquoise for the bud below the flower. The rest of the stem is mainly mixes of Raw Umber, Burnt Sienna, and French Ultramarine. You can see these watercolor mixtures in figure 4 above.

I do not let the stem color bleed into the top of the next flower petal. This is done by either waiting for the stem above to totally dry before proceeding to the next stage or by leaving a little bit of untouched white paper between the petal and the stem.

In this way I work my way down and through the painting of the flowers with my watercolor paints.

I let this stage dry.

Watercolor background of this pen and ink painting

The painting is finished off by laying down a loose watercolor wash over the background.

Here I have primarily used two mixes. One is of Cobalt Turquoise with some Aureolin with a touch of Raw Umber to grey it off. The other is the same mix but with some French Ultramarine added. The mixtures are coffee strength.

Figure 6: Water colors used for background. The Alizarin was not used.

Once the colors are mixed in my palette I wet my number 12 round brush with clean water and using its side I pre wet parts of the background in a very loose manner. You can see how I did this in the image below.

Figure 7: Pre wet parts of the background in a loose manner.

While the background is still wet I pick up some of my lighter background color and again using the side of the brush I suggest areas of background color. Where my brush hits the pre wet areas I will get softer edges. Notice too that I do not try to cover all of the white paper.  I am just suggesting a background in this painting not really trying to paint the whole thing.

Again, here and there I drop in some of my stronger (with the French Ultramarine) mix into the lighter mixture – these are allowed to mix on the paper.

This pen, ink, and wash painting is now completed and I sign it with my pen. I hope you find this demonstration of some use in your own work.

Figure 8: Finished Pen, ink, and watercolor wash painting of Pink Magnolias by Joe Cartwright.

Return to: Pen and ink drawing stage of Pink Magnolias demonstration