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How to Paint Watercolor Sunset Letters

How to Paint Watercolor Sunset Letters

The only thing more relaxing than watching the sun set over the ocean….is painting it! So that’s what we’ll be doing in today’s tutorial! 

Hi, I’m Shannon from the Pigeon Letters Design Team and today we’re combining 3 of my favorite thing, watercolor, lettering and the beach, to paint a tropical sunset scene inside of the word ‘sunset’! Here’s a look at the supplies you’ll need to follow along: 




Watch the video tutorial to see all the steps in action!


Step 1: Sketch Your Letters

Use a pencil to lightly sketch out your word in a large block style. Then sketch your horizon line and the line for your waves. After that you can sketch in details like trees, birds, land and any other elements you want to include in your scene.


Step 2: Apply Masking Fluid

Use an old paint brush to apply masking fluid on the outside of the letters.  

Tip: You can dip your paintbrush into a mixture of soap and water before you dip it in masking fluid. The soap mixture provides a barrier between the brush and the masking fluid and stops it from drying on the bristles.  

Allow your masking fluid to dry completely before you move on to the next step.


Level up your painting with the ultimate artist-grade cruelty-free paintbrushes.


Step 3: Paint the Sky

Starting with purple, paint your color across the top of the letters. Then while the paint is still wet, paint your pink along the bottom of the purple.

Paint your orange along the bottom of the pink and then, use yellow to paint the bottom of the sky. 


Step 4: Paint the Sea

Using the same technique you used to paint the sky, you’re going to paint the sea but in a reverse order. Start with yellow, then add your orange, pink and then purple at the bottom of the letters. 

Once your sunset gradient is dry, use the dry brush technique to add some texture to the water. Starting with orange to paint over the back of the water, then use pink to paint texture over the middle section of the water and purple over the bottom section of the water.

Tip: For a straighter horizon line, you can apply a piece of masking tape above the horizon line before you start painting the texture.


Step 5: Add Details Inside the Letters

Using an opaque white medium (gouache, acrylic, paint pen, etc), paint your sun above the horizon line.

Paint in your waves and the reflection of the sun on the water. 

Then remove your masking fluid. 


Step 6: Outline Letters

Use a monoline pen to outline each letter.

Then add your tropical details.


Step 7: Add Dimensions

To complete your lettering, you can add splatters, highlights with your white ink/pen and shadows with a grey marker.

I hope you enjoyed learning how to paint a sunset scene inside of lettering! If you followed these steps remember to share it your piece with me on Instagram @byshannonlayne so that I can see how it turned out! 


See all of Shannon’s tutorials on the blog!

Shannon is an 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.


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