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Create Stunning Rainbow Watercolor Lettering

Create Stunning Rainbow Watercolor Lettering

Do you love lettering but get a bit bored of using the same techniques all the time? If so, then this tutorial is for you. I'm going to show you how to create some magical rainbow lettering! This method is really fun and adds a nice mix into your lettering practice.

Hi there creative, it’s Shannon from The Pigeon Letters Design Team and in today’s tutorial, we’re going to use one of my favorite color palettes (rainbow colors!) to create some beautiful watercolor lettering. Then we’re going to add some embellishments and a vibrant background all around it.  So grab your supplies and let’s get started!


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  • Watercolors – I’m using Mijello Mission Gold Watercolors in Bright Opera, Yellow Orange, Lemon Yellow, Sap Green, Cerulean Blue and Bright Clear Violet. You can use any brand of watercolor and any variation of the rainbow color palette that you like. 
  • Watercolor paper (140lb)
  • TPL #2 & #10 round brushes
  • Water
  • Grey marker
  • TPL Monoline Studio Pens
  • White paint/gel pen
  • Masking or washi tape
  • Optional: tissue, Q-tip


Step 1: Sketch Your Lettering

Use a pencil to lightly sketch out your lettering onto your watercolor paper. You can use any word or phrase that you’d like for this tutorial. 



Step 2: Paint Your Rainbow Letters

You can start with any of the colors you want, but in order to avoid creating muddy blends, make sure you add them next to each other in rainbow order: pink/red→ orange→ yellow→ green→ blue→ purple→pink/red→orange and so on.

Using the small paint brush, start writing your first few letters. I’m using 2 colors to write each letter but another fun way to create rainbow letters is to alternate the color of each stroke.

Remember to clean your paintbrush whenever you switch to a new color.

Tools are important! Elevate your watercolors with artist-grade cruelty-free paint brushes.


Optional: Lift Some Color

I wanted to add some texture to my letters so that they have a messy, distressed look. To do this, I used a Q-tip to lift some color from the letters. The Q-tip will absorb the color from the areas you place it, leaving a very light shade of the color or even the white of the paper. You can also use a piece of tissue to lift color as well. 

Step 3: Outline and Add Shadows

To help your words to stand out from the background, use a light gray marker to add a shadow to each letter. Then use your monoline pen to add and outline to the letters. I also added a second shadow to the letters in black with the monoline pen. 


Step 4: Tape Down the Paper

Use your masking/washi tape to mask a border around your paper. Then use a pencil to draw an outline all around your lettering. Try to leave an even amount of white space all around the words. 


Step 5: Paint the Background

Use your large paintbrush to add your colors all across the background. Remember to add them in rainbow order so that they blend well together. As I’m painting this first layer of the background, I’m working quickly as I’m not worried about creating smooth blends. 

I also kept the colors away from that pencil border I drew in the previous step and used the tissue lifting technique to add some texture to the background. Then allow it to dry completely.

Then, paint the second layer of the background, to intensify the colors. You can use your smaller paintbrush to paint along the pencil border to keep the outline sharp.


Step 6: Add Final Details

Allow your background to dry, then use a white paint/gel pen to add highlights to your letters and also to add some dots and stars to the background.

Remove the tape and your magical rainbow artwork is done! I hope you enjoyed creating this artwork with me today! As always, you can share your creations with me over on Instagram @byshannonlayne! 

Shannon is a freelance artist from a small island in the Caribbean called Barbados! She creates fun and unique content, whether it's with markers, watercolors, acrylics or on the iPad to inspire other creatives. Check out more of her tutorials on the blog!


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