Hi everyone! So happy to be sharing this step-by-step tutorial on how to make your very own watercolor banner. This banner can live wherever you may need a reminder that you CAN do hard things! This banner helps motivate me in times that I need it. I took a line from a great quote by the book Untamed: This is hard. We can do hard things.
This is Julie over at @harp_and_crow and I'm SO excited to share one of my favorite tutorials with you all! You don’t have to use my mantra if you have your own, it's really up to you! But I absolutely have no problem sharing mine with you because I think it’s great. I look forward to seeing your own mantras, so please tag me if you post them to Instagram. I love a good affirmation!
*A note on colors: I specifically chose these two colors because they are bright and fun! Please feel free to choose your own! I love to work with complementary colors, so Indigo and something like Burnt Sienna would look great, too!
First things first, you need to cut your watercolor paper down to size for your pin banner. With your paper in the portrait position, measure across 4.5” and lightly mark with your pencil on top and bottom. Make a light pencil mark down the middle of your sheet. You’ll need that later for letter placement, too!
Now on the sides, measure down about 7” and make a mark. Mark about 10” down on the middle line. Use your ruler to connect the side marks to the middle mark. Now you’ve got a perfectly shaped banner!
Next, you’ll mark where your lettering will go. I chose to use a san-serif style on the lettering, but feel free to have fun with it! Letter it in whatever way speaks to you! I always like to write it on a scrap piece of paper first so I can find the letter or word that should be at the center of the page. Lightly sketch out some circles for where you will place your florals. One larger rose in the middle, flanked by two smaller roses. Your leaves will fill in the blanks and go on the sides.
Paint time, baby! Once you’ve got your sketch, it’s time for paint! Personally, this is my favorite part! Grab your round 4 brush and the Indigo paint. I chose a size 4 so that I could do the block letters in one brush stroke. Feel free to use a smaller or larger size depending on the overall feel of your piece!
While your lettering dries, move down to the flowers! Painting loose watercolor roses are one of my favorite things to do! I learned this technique from Peggy’s Guide To Nature Drawing & Watercolor so hopefully, I can do it justice here!
Using your round 6 brush, you’ll make a series of C-curve strokes. Your paint will be the most saturated in the middle of the rose and you’ll only dab your brush into the water while you paint outward. As you move toward the outer petals, apply a little more pressure with your brush to get bigger, fuller petals. You can add a little more pigment to the middle to play with the way the watercolor bleeds.
In your second color, add some leaves to fill in space between florals and on the side. Using the Indigo again, add some twigs. And voila! Beautiful florals by YOU.
Take a coffee break if you need it, I know I do! Brb. Let your cute little banner dry completely before moving on to the next step. I’m serious, don’t smudge your beautiful piece of art!
Now that your piece is dry, go in and erase all of the pencil marks. Grab your gold gel pen and add some highlights to your roses and leaves, and then shadows to your lettering. You can fully outside each of those things or just add a touch of gold. I chose to do a gold drop shadow on the lettering, which kept the gold to the right & the bottom of each letter.
Let’s Bring It All Together
It’s time to get that banner flying! First, you’re going to cut down your colored card stock to be about ½” bigger than your watercolor paper using your ruler and pencil! Easy!
If you want to use a decorative craft scissor, please feel free! It’s a really fun way to make this your own. Here’s an example:
After your card stock is cut, glue your watercolor paper on top of it, making sure you have it evenly spaced in the middle. Make sure it’s nice and dry and then grab your hole punch.
Measure one in from the top and from the side on both corners of your pin banner. Make a small mark with your pencil and then use your hole punch.
Grab your string (or ribbon! Or yarn!) and weave it through the two holes. Tie the ends together.
And there you have it, folks! You’re done and you have a beautiful affirmation for your wall to remind you that no matter what happens (and BOY is it all happening right now) you’ve got this! You can do hard things
If you try this tutorial, please tag me on Instagram (@harp_and_crow) so that we can marvel at your beautiful artwork together! Thanks for painting with me today!
My name is Julie Malizia and I'm a lettering/abstract artist living in California with my husband and three young daughters! I lovingly refer to my daughters as my “Dragons.” You can find me sharing paintings, lettering, and mom jokes on Instagram at @harp_and_crow.
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