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Cyanotype-Inspired Watercolor Tutorial

Cyanotype-Inspired Watercolor Tutorial

 Do you love the bold blue look of cyanotype prints? Today we are going to create a cyanotype-inspired watercolor using products you probably already have at home! We are going to be painting some botanicals, but you can use this method for any shape imaginable. 

I’m Julie (@harp_and_crow on Instagram) and I can’t wait to share this project with you. I am going to walk you through it step-by-step, but you can also watch the video tutorial instead.  I can’t wait to see what you create! Let’s get started.





You can also watch the full tutorial down below!



Step 1: Prep and Sketch 

The first thing you are going to do is tape off the border of your watercolor paper. I am using a fairly large sheet (12” x 12”) so I decided to use a thicker painter’s tape. If you decide to make a smaller piece, you might want to use washi tape or thinner masking tape to give yourself room to paint.

Tape Tip: Before you place your strip of tape on your paper, stick it to your shirt or pants first. This will ensure that the tape doesn’t rip your paper when you remove it.


Using your pencil, you are going to sketch out the botanicals in the center of your sheet. Starting with the top of your drawing, use two C-curve shapes to create a leaf shape. Make a longer C-shaped stem down to the bottom. Leave about the same amount of space between the tip of the top leaf and the bottom of the stem. The leaves will remain unpainted, so remember to give your stem some thickness. Add 3 more leaves on either side of the stem. You will erase any extra pencil marks at the end, when your paint is dry.


Step 2: Paint the Background 

Heavily saturate your size 14 round brush with indigo paint and start painting your background. Start in the corners and work your way around until you get closer to the leaves. Dilute your paint slightly as you work your way in to try and give this a natural cyanotype feel. Use your smaller, size 6 round brush with clean water to help drag some of the indigo from the outside in. Once your paint starts to dry, you may want to add an extra layer the same way. This will ensure a vibrant, blue beauty.


Step 3: Remove the Tape

Before your paint dries, carefully peel off the tape lining the outside border. When you pull the tape, angle it in towards the wet paint. This will keep the tape from pulling some of the watercolor into your clean, white border. 

Allow your painting to dry completely before you erase any leftover pencil marks. Once that’s done, you’re finished! You have a beautiful, cyanotype inspired watercolor masterpiece!


If you try out this tutorial, let me know! Tag me on Instagram because I would love to see your work. Thanks for creating with me today!


Julie is a self-taught artist living in Central California with her husband & three daughters. She rekindled her love of art during the most trying years of early motherhood and has found a passion for helping others ignite their creative spark. Check out more of Julie's tutorials here!

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