Jan 31 2009

Water Color Tutorial

Published by at 11:27 pm under Tutorials

I had the privilege of teaching a water color class at CHA last week in Anaheim.  To assist the women taking the class, I prepared a three page tutorial that they could follow along with as I spoke.  Since I was speaking, the narrative on the class tutorial was rather simple.  I sized down the photographs to fit within the three pages without placing my watermark on them for better viewing purposes.  For this tutorial I have included more narrative to give you the benefit of what was said in class, together with all of the photographs, so that you can follow along step-by-step.  There are 23 pictures that were sized down for the class tutorial and then were sized back up for this tutorial.  It took me a little longer than I anticipated to make the changes in Photoshop.  In the spirit of sharing, please feel free to print this tutorial for your personal use only. 

To those of you who took my class, I would like to say thank you very much.  I was thrilled that you came and hope that you enjoyed the experience.

In the class we used Canson 140 lbs. coldpressed watercolor paper.  The image was embossed with Ranger Gold/Gold Tinsel embossing powder.  The powders were mixed using a 50/50 ratio.  A 2 Royal Soft-Grip SG250 paintbrush was used to paint the image.  The brush can be purchased at Michael’s for $2.99.   

Ladies, this tutorial is long, pour yourself a cup of coffee, sit back, relax, and enjoy the reading.

This first photograph is the completed painting:


To the lower right side of the image is a glistening sheen.  The photo was taken to show the students the proper amount of water needed on the water color paper for the background wash.


Using Tombow markers 555 and 665 dab a small amount of color into the upper corner of the petal, I usually place two/three dots of blue and then place two/three dots of purple on top of the blue.  Using a wet paintbrush, not too loaded with water, start in the lower white portion of the petal and work your way up to the color, gently pulling the color down and blending into the white area.


Using this technique continue on around the flower, painting one petal at a time.


Once your flower is complete, continue on with the rest of the flowers.


It is ideal to vary the color in the petals so that they are not identical.


I’ve continued with the flowers and have added more purple to some.


When the flowers are complete, move on to the leaves. 


Using Tombow marker 249, color a small amount of color onto the outer curve of a leaf.


Using Tombow marker 62, leaving a small portion of white in the lower portion of the leaf, apply color in the lower portion of the leaf blending up and into the darker green.  It’s okay to mix the lighter markers with the darker colors.  You can wipe them on a paper towel until you’ve wiped the darker color off. 


Now take your brush, loaded with water, but not too much, and start at the bottom of the leaf and work your way up blending the color.  You can see in this picture the proper amount of water you should have on your paper.


Continue on around the flowers painting the leaves one at a time.


As you can see, I’ve painted the leaves around the upper portion of the flowers.


Continue on around the flowers and work down to the bottom of the image.  I like to color the flowers before the leaves because the color in the leaves is very intense.  It’s very easy to pick up some of that dark green and contaminate the blue flowers.


The leaves are complete, we are now going to come back in with Tombow markers 177 and 133 and glaze over the first green colors.  By now the leaves you started with should be dry.  You don’t want to start the glazing until the leaves are completely dry, this is very important, or you’ll move the color you’ve carefully blended.


With Tombow marker 177 color over the dark green and with Tombow marker 133 leaving the white and a small portion of the lighter yellow visible, start about mid-leaf and work your way into the dark green, blending the colors.  Using a wet paint brush start at the bottom of the leaf, as you did the first time and work your way up blending the colors. 


Coloring each leaf continue around the flowers.  Do you see how much more colorful the two leaves are that I have completed in this photo with 177 and 133?  You may wonder why I didn’t paint all four colors on the leaves to begin with.  The reason is they would not have the same effect.  One of the reasons I choose to use Tombow markers is because they are artist quality transparent colors.  I laid the first set of greens down that I usually use when I’m painting Christmas holly.  I want brighter, more intense color with these flowers.  By going back in and glazing over the first set of greens I can build up the color.  The effect would not be the same if I used all four colors at once.  Look at the large leaf at the top of the flowers, you can see the pale yellow glowing through the darkers greens.  If I had painted all the colors at once, I wouldn’t see that.  If I had only used 177 and 133, I wouldn’t have these colors, they would be pretty, but I would be missing the beautiful pale yellow glowing through.  The first wash of 249 really makes the 177 intensely dark.


Now that the upper leaves are completed, scroll up and look at the pictures above and then come back and look at the leaves.  Can you see their vibrancy and why I like to layer the washes of green?


I’ve completely finished the leaves and will move on to the centers of the flowers.  If you go back up four pictures, you’ll see this same picture before we added 177 and 133.  I believe you’ll see the difference in color and will note just how vibrant the leaves have become.  Isn’t water color amazing! 


Using Tombow marker 62 color the centers of the flowers.   Go back to the first center you colored and add just a touch of 985 in the corner.  Using an almost dry paintbrush, pull the darker color down just a bit for a smooth gradation of color.  When the centers are finished, using Tombow marker 933, color a small area around the leaves and flowers.  Using a wet paintbrush, pull the color out for your background wash, being careful not to pull the color from your flowers and leaves. 


In this picture, you can see the proper amount of water you should have on your water color paper for pulling and blending your background wash.


Look carefully at this picture, you’ll see that I’ve added the wash in the middle of the image where there are openings between the leaves and flowers.  Again, you’ll see the wet paper, this should give you an idea of how much water you need on your paper.


Continue up and around your image, laying down color and pulling it out, making sure not to let your paper dry to avoid hard water lines.


I have now completed my painting.  As you can see the wash is still wet.  It will be dry to the touch in 15 minutes or so. 

Once a painting is dry, I spray a water mist very lightly on the back and place the image between two pieces of unused water color paper.  I then place that on a flat surface with a stack of heavy books and leave it overnight (or several hours) to dry.  When I take it out, I’ve got a completely flat image and am ready to use it in a design.  In the CHA class, the image was stamped on a card.  You can do the same with the card, spray the inside with the water mist, follow the same procedures, let it dry, and then finish with the design.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the tutorial.  As you can imagine, it takes quite a while to paint the image, stopping to take photographs, running the photos through photoshop to size them within the allowable parameters for blogging, place watermarks on them, and then prepare the post itself.  As much as I enjoy that, it does take a lot of time.  I will do my best to prepare future tutorials, as time allows.  


84 responses so far

84 Responses to “Water Color Tutorial”

  1. Peggy Maier says:

    Wonderful tutorial – so clear & easy to follow! Thanks SO much. I can tell it took a lot of time & I really appreciate it.

  2. Nelda Deakins says:

    This tutorial is absolutely fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing, and giving those of us with very little watercolor ability to have a step-by-step tutorial to follow! I am forever grateful! Nelda in TN

  3. Jane says:

    Wow as usual I am so impressed with your artistry! Your tutorial sounds easy to follow and when I get back from my trip I will be making a stop at violette’s to pick up some supplies! Thanks for all of the information and Techniques.

  4. Sandy K says:

    Your picture is beautiful. This should be framed!

  5. Just beautiful, and so helpful, Jerri! Thank you!

  6. Nimue says:

    Thanks so much Jerri. I really appreciate the time you put in to your blog. It really does make my day richer. I think with all your excellent instructions I might just dare to try. – Nimmy

  7. Wow! Thank you so much! This is an awesome tutorial….I have paid money for some classes in which I got less instruction! Your technique is a little different than I have been using so I can’t wait to try this out! (especially since I allready called Violett’s & got this stamp) You are so sweet to share this with us!
    Thank You Again!

  8. Excellent tutorial Jerri!

  9. Cynde says:

    Thanks so much Jerri for the Lovely Tutorial…It was so clear and precise. The pictures you took were the best! It was so easy to follow the way you laid it all out. Thanks so very much!

  10. Renee Winch says:

    Thank you for the tutorial Jerri – it is absolutely amazing! I have never tried anything like this before, but I can’t wait to try it! Renee

  11. Kris Turner says:

    Hi, Jerri:

    WHEW! I’m sure it took a great deal of time to do this tutorial . Thanks so very much for your artistic talent and sharing these wonderful, very detailed tutorials with all of us! They truly inspire us all to stretch our creative side in trying to create similar beauty in our artwork. Your tutorials make that journey much easier! Thanks so much! Kris, Wadsworth, OH

  12. Karen says:

    Thank you so much for this in depth tutorial! This must have taken so much time to put together. You are a real sweetheart for sharing your expertise with us!

  13. Rose Ann says:

    This is gorgeous, Jerri!! Thank you for taking the time to create this wonderful tutorial for us!!

  14. Bev J. says:

    Great tutorial-beautiful flowers. Enjoy your talent and great blog. tfs

  15. Dealbaida says:

    I have spent a fortune on “how-to-Watercolour” books over the years but none come close to this incredible tutorial. Many, many thanks Jerri, with your pages before me there is no excuse for me NOT to succeed this time around.

    Bless you.

  16. Amazing, Jerri — absolutely amazing!!! You make it all look so easy!!! Thank you so much for all the time it obviously took to prepare this tutorial — a true labor of love, much appreciated!!!

  17. Jlynn says:

    Great tutorial Jerri. I can’t wait for the next one.

  18. gail says:

    This is beautiful and the tutorial was great. You do beautiful work and have amazing talent. Thank you for taking the time to show how you water color.

  19. Karen says:

    Thank you for all your time consuming and hard work to make this tutorial Jerri. It is beautiful and very helpful. Your work is beautiful and displays the love you put into making each card.

  20. Julia says:

    Thanks for all the hard work. The tutorial is great.

  21. Stephanie L. says:

    Thank you SO much! I’ve been waiting for this and am so grateful. Your water coloring is absolutely gorgeous. I bought a bunch of MCL stamps after you posted your calendar and can’t wait to purchase some more! Again, thanks for the extra hard work so we can make the most out of those beautiful stamps!
    Grace and blessings!

  22. Deah =) says:

    I have always wondered how to accomplish that look…thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. This is just absolutely beautiful. =)
    Oh, and btw, that purse you posted the other day is adorable, too.

  23. Beth Norman says:

    Fabulous tutorial, Jerry. Thanks for sharing.

  24. kit says:

    Thank you Jeri for sharing this tutorial. I have admired your work and all the attention to detail. Thank you for your sharing your talent. You’re amazing and your work is absolutely gorgeous.

  25. Kittie says:

    Jerri, Fantastic tutorial. I have read many times where you have said you use markers for your coloring but I never really understood what you did with them. I am so intrigued with this technique and have learned so much about building the layers of color. I have never used Tombow markers but think I will check them out. I also wonder if using small amounts of my Ranger reinkers could work the same way. I have always layed down a light shade of color over the entire image and then build color up gradually. Your technique makes so much more sense. I see color and shade building improvement in my future since reading this. Now….I have to bookmark this tutorial and keep it. Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent and technique! You are such a dear, sweet and generous person. Teaching and sharing is what it is all about to me and I appreciate your willingness to share so much. I wonder how many of your readers realize how much it would cost to actually take this class???

  26. Helen says:

    Thank you for being so generous to share your amazing talent in water coloring stamped images.

  27. Joyce across the pond says:

    Thanks so much for your tutorial….really appreciate all the time you’ve taken to bring this to us. Absolutely great detail for colouring dummies like me!
    I haven’t ever seen, never mind used, Tombow markers….one thing puzzles me…the glazing part…you say 177 and 133 and ‘glaze’ over the leaves and flowers….what is this glaze….? sorry if this seems a stupid question!! Do I presume rightly that it is a sort of sealant?

  28. Conniecrafter says:

    Oh my this is just beautiful, thanks for sharing!

  29. Elaine says:

    Thank you for taking the time to share how you color your images to turn them into beautiful works of art!

  30. Carole says:

    Hi Geri,

    Thank you so much for this great tutorial. It will be very useful for me!

  31. Carole says:

    Sorry NOt Geri BUT Jerri

  32. mdcash says:

    Jerri Kay, what can I say………. I was in your AMAZING class (sittin’ in the front row) and your instructions were the bomb! I was thrilled at how easy this technique is. I took my completed card to my lss yesterday and everyone was asking “when is the class?” I told them I would do it after the MCL stamps are available for us. I really enjoyed meeting the Violette’s gang. I look forward to checking in with you all at the show next year!

    Big hugs……….

  33. Jerri,
    Thank you for the excellent tutorial!! That is a great tip coming back later with color! Your paintings are beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing with us!! If/When you come to the Chicago area to teach, I’ll be the first to sign up!!

    Take care and STAY POSITIVE!

  34. Donna says:

    All I can say is Thank You, Thank You, Thank You so very much for your time in this posting. I check out your blog each day, hoping there is a new creation waiting for me! I just love your work. Thanks for sharing, and we really appreciate your time in doing this for us.

  35. Cathy Green says:

    This is beautiful! Thanks for sharing how to do this. I don’t think mine will ever look like yours, but at least now I can try! Cathy

  36. Silke Ledlow says:

    WOW – Jerri – this is amazing!!! I think I have to come by for a one on one lesson – LOL!!!!

    I really love how you’ve embossed the image and then water colored it so fabulously – it adds so much elegance to it!!!

    Enjoy your weekend!!! Hugs ~S~

  37. Kay says:

    That is gorgeous, I wish I could have taken your class. Thank you for posting! You do some amazingly awesome work!

  38. Joan Fricker says:

    Wow Jerri, this is absolutely amazing. Your tutorial is excellent and your photography is terrific. Great job!!!


  39. Julie says:

    Jerri, think you for this tutorial. I would love to take a class from you. Your work is so supper.


  40. Cathy says:

    Oh, Jerri, what an exceptional tutorial! I so appreciate all of your hard work on this. I have had terrible luck using markers to watercolor but this has given me the motivation to try it again! What a wonderful, wonderful tutorial! Thanks so much!


  41. Shel9999 says:

    W-O-W! Fantastic tutorial, Jerri! Thank you for sharing your EXQUISITE talent!!!!

  42. Michelle R says:

    Your Tombow tutorial is just FABULOUS! Since I’m a Tombow girl myself, I can assure you I will be giving it a try! Thanks for all the work you put into that! Hugs!!!

  43. Stacy Nicholas says:

    Hello Jerri,
    It was wonderful meeting you at the show. I absolutely love all of your designs and thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial. I cannot wait to try this one. Thank you so much.

  44. Sonya Appel says:


    Thanks!Thanks! I LOVE your tutorial!!! It is the next best thing to taking it in person! I know how much time it takes to produce such a tutorial and post it, so I am sending many thanks and I’m sure there are many others who will be encouraged to try this beautiful technique you have so generously given us to use.

  45. So I finally can decipher the secret to all your beautiful art work!! Thank you Jerri, this tutorial is ever so helpful and thorough. I know how time consuming they are to create and believe me this is very appreciated by many people! Me included! Looks like you had a good time at CHA. I’m so glad you met up with so many of the faces we see on our screens. What a blessing!

  46. Becca Feeken says:

    Jerri, this is fabulous – you have put together to most amazing tutorial! Thank you so much for taking the time – it is so appreciated. I too am a Tombow fan and use them in watercoloring – I can’t wait to try your style. You have a keen eye and are much more light handed than me…I have much to learn from you. Your work is phenomenal and your spirit of sharing is so very gracious!

  47. Hi, Jerri, I was in the class (I’m the one originally from Tampa) and thoroughly enjoyed it. You are a great teacher. This tutorial is a nice bonus on top of the nice handout you provided. I still need to finish my class card, but so far I’m very happy with how it turned out and with this new technique. I especially like the way you combine the gold embossing powder and the tinsel – it really adds a nice shimmer to the image. Thanks for sharing!

  48. Donna Coffman says:

    Thank you so much, you are so kind to share all your knowledge with us who are trying to learn how to watercolor. Your work is amazing and inspiring, the tutorial is almost as good as being there.
    Thankful for your blog,

  49. josefa laura says:

    beautiful,wonderful,than´s for sharing

  50. Vicki Conquest says:

    I was in your class at CHA and it was indeed awesome! So EASY to do with such fabulous results. I can’t wait for the stamps to become available. Your tutorial was awesome as well, I’ve done tutorials as well and it does take a lot of time and effort to put together something this detailed and clear, and it is VERY much appreciated, both for the class book and here on your blog. Again, THANKS!


  51. Charlene says:

    Wow, I copied and pasted the tutorial in Word so I can study it. It took 15 pages. You are awesome to share your talent with us.

    Blessings to you.

  52. Pinky says:

    Jerri, this tutorial is amazing. Will this technique work w/other markers? I do not own the Tombow ones, but wish I had some. I cannot wait to try this.


  53. […] good as it is!”  A few days after I had finished this card Jerri posted a very detailed tutorial on watercolouring, so I shall be trying again, with her instructions to  guide […]

  54. Alyssa Byron says:

    Absolutely BEAUTIFUl! I am in AWE! thankyou for sharing this with me!

  55. Nancy says:

    What a great tutorial! Thank you for taking the time to post it. Love stalking your blog to oooh and aaaah at your beautiful creations!

  56. Joan Ervin says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Jerri…..your tutorial was awesome!!! Where do you buy your 140 lb watercolor paper??? It really is such wonderful paper and I may need to break down and buy some Tombow markers!!! I love the intense color you achieve with the markers and your color building technique!!! Hummm, maybe you need to come to Temple so I can have a private class…..snort!!!

  57. Laurie in MN says:

    I certainly appreciate the tutorial, especially concidering all the time and work involved.

    I have used water colors but didn’t get the same results as your paintings. Thank you, thank you , thank you for your help.

  58. Laurie in MN says:

    I was on this web site,


    and thought of your blog and the wonderful water coloring with Tombow Markers tutorial. I suggested your blog to be listed. I think many people would love your blog and appreciate the tutorial.

  59. Charlene H. says:

    Practice Practice Practice! I love how you do this and have even tried it once. Well, I made one card but it took me about 5 tries to get it right. It is definitely relaxing and I do enjoy it.

    I was wondering what kind of heat tool you use. I have the Uchida one and when I tried embossing onto the watercolor paper, I found it turned the paper brown. I used the Ranger 50/50 mixture you use (Ranger Gold/Tinsel Gold) and found it hard to melt. I did keep the embossing tool moving but it seems to take so long to melt the powder that it started to burn the paper. Do you have any tips/suggestions on this?

    I really enjoy making cards like this. They are truly beautiful. The gold embossing adds such an elegant touch.

  60. MaryK623 says:

    Thank you so much for the excellent tutorial. I can’t wait to try it.

  61. Traci Major says:

    This is a wonderful tutorial. I have admired your work for a long time, but never had the knowledge to try it for myself. Now I do…thanks so much!! I do have one question, would this technique work with copic markers also? I may just try it and see. I would love to attend one of your classes one day!
    Thanks again!!

  62. Konnie Burlon says:

    Jerri your work is just beautiful. Thanks so much for this wonderful tutorial. It is just so great looking at how you water color. I do love Tombow markers too! Now, hopefully, I might get to the next level. Just Beautiful!!


  63. nancy littrell says:

    Thank you so much Jerri for sharing your marker watercoloring technique. I love how the gold EB image holds the color inside the flowers and leaves. Your shading is so beautiful and your final image Stunning!!!!! Thanks again…….for sharing, Nancy

  64. Deb Saaranen says:

    Wow– what an amazing tutorial Jerri! You make it look doable! Thanks so much!

  65. WOW! Fabulous tutorial Jerri! Awesome photos and excellent descriptions. I am going to be practicing and trying this out! Thanks so much for sharing your talents!

  66. Candy aka cwilliams says:

    Wow fabulous tutorial Jerri….thanks for taking the time to make this I really appreciate it!!! I have a lot of Tombow markers, I never knew that is what you used to do all that gorgeous work of yours!!

  67. Thank you so much for taking the time and talent to prepare this for us all. I am about to try out some of the info you have given me. I really appreciate all the knowlege you have shared.

  68. leslierich says:

    This is the tutorial everyone’s been waiting for! Thank you so much, Jerri! I think it’s interesting that you can add the marker ink to wet paper. I always wet my paper first when watercoloring with reinkers, but the SU! markers will not leave ink on wet paper. I don’t know why. You have certainly made these Tombow markers even more intriguing to me! Gee, that’s all I need…another coloring medium to find space for in my stamp room!

  69. wendy says:

    Thank you for the brilliant easy to understand tutorial Jerri, I have some Tombow pens but not really used them yet.Waht weight watercolour card should i use? as some look thicker than others…You make it all look so easy and i cant wait to have a go
    Wendy x

  70. Kathy Peak says:

    This is absolutely incredible. We love the Victorian stamps and mastering this technique takes practice! It’s oh, so beautiful.

  71. Ferah says:

    I’m new to your blog, and I am thrilled! This is beautiful art and thank you for the excellent tutorial. You make it look so easy (and I know it isn’t), and I’m eager to give it a try.

  72. Great tutorial, I love how much detail you have gone into. Thank you once again.

  73. Jan Keen says:

    Wow what an awesome tutorial….Makes me want to get out a flower image and get started, but I only have SU water colours….do you have an comparison colour chart?

  74. Miss Mary says:

    You are generous of spirit, time, and talent, as the Lord asks us to be. Many people are talented, but not talented and generous.

    Thank you for being so kind to us by giving us a great tutorial. You are inspirational! Thank you.

  75. Anna says:

    I am but a beginner but tutorials like this really help
    You certainly have a gift

  76. nancy wright says:

    I am new at all of this —I am missing something–what stamp are you using. I would love
    to try this and just need to know what stamp to purchase.
    thank you –it is so beautiful.

  77. Cheryl O says:

    This is exquisite!!!! I saw it on Pinterest and it took my breath away, absolutely beautiful!!!!

  78. Kathy says:

    Wonderful paint job. Readed your tutorial after seeing this on Pininterest. I will have to experiment. 2009 to 20168 years later and it is still the best that anyone of us has seen. Thank you for sharing and posting.

  79. Michelle says:

    I loved this tutorial and since I am new to water coloring it was so informative. I am anxious to try this technique. Could you tell me what stamp you used for the embossing. Thank you so much.

  80. Debbie Anemaet says:

    Great tutorial! Your painting is so beautiful! I’m just learning watercoloring and so appreciate the detailed instructions and photographs. Thank you SO much!

  81. Jeanne says:

    I just saw this tutorial on Pinterest and it is so beautiful, Jerri! I love watercolor and would love to make this card. Can you please let me know what stamp you used? Thank you so much and again, your work and instructions are wonderful!!

  82. Lynn Stinten says:

    Thank you for this, I have plenty of marker pens but never get to use them as in honesty I didn’t until now know how. Thank you

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