Have you ever wanted to do more than just lettering or coloring with your markers? Let’s learn how to paint and blend with water-based markers to create a watercolor effect with them. Markers are more portable than paints, less messy, and the colors can be more vibrant. So grab your favorite colors, and let’s paint some lilac flowers.
Here are the supplies I’m using in this tutorial, but I encourage you to test whatever you have at home. If you have nicer-quality water-based markers, great, but borrow those Crayola markers from your kids and try those too.
- The Pigeon Letters Studio Round Brush 3 Piece Set
- Watercolor paper
- Water-Based markers (such as Tombow Dual Brush Pens)
- A water vessel (I’m using one of The Pigeon Letters ceramic vessels)
- Paper towel or cloth rag for drying your brush and cleaning your palette
- Blending surface (paint palette, laminated card etc)
Choose whichever color markers you like best, but if you’d like to follow along with me you’ll need some light and dark purples, greens, and a brown.
Watch the video tutorial below!
Step 1: Blend your marker ink and paint a base layer
Start by scribbling some of your lightest purple ink onto your blending surface (paint palette, laminated card etc). Then, using your paintbrush, add a couple of drops of water and blend the water with the ink.
Pick up the ink with your paintbrush and paint an even layer of color over the area where you want your lilac flowers to be.
Once the first layer of color is dry, do the same thing with your lightest green and paint a layer of color where the leaves and stem will be.
While this ink is still wet, touch in a little of the brown ink, using your paintbrush.
Note: You can draw some light pencil guidelines if you’d like to, but it’s not a necessity.
2. Start painting in some details
Next, mix up some of your darker purples on your blending palette, with a couple of drops of water, and start painting little groups of petals over the top of your background wash.
Continue until the whole background color is covered. Don’t be afraid to paint some of the petal shapes extending past the background either.
3. Paint in shading on your leaves
Clean off some of your palette and then scribble on your green. This time only use one small drop of water to blend the ink. Pick up the color with your paintbrush and add some darker areas to your leaves where they are overlapping. You may want to leave some of the background color peeking through for a central vein.
4. Add some more details to your lilacs
Once all of your ink is dry, it’s time to add some smaller details. Use a darker purple to add small dots in the center of your petal clusters. If you have Dual Brush Pens you might like to use the bullet tip rather than the brush tip side.
Now, with a damp (but not dripping) paintbrush, gently brush over each dot to soften it and give it a more painterly look.
5. Add some more details to your leaves
Scribble a little more green onto your palette and this time don’t mix it with any water. Instead, use a damp paintbrush to pick up the ink and paint some veins and details onto your leaves.
Voila, you’ve just used markers to paint some pretty watercolor-style lilacs. Now, we’d love to see what you created, so if you share to social media make sure to tag @ThePigeonLetters and @BrownPaperBunny so we can give you some love on your masterpiece.
I’m Jessica Mack from BrownPaperBunny and painting with markers is my jam. So much so, that I wrote a whole book about it, Watercolor with Markers: Learn to Paint Beautiful Creations with Brush Pens. I live overlooking the Rocky Mountains, with my family and two naughty, but delightful, cats.