Thursday, April 7, 2011

Watercolour Tips from This Month's Guest Designer, Sophie La Fontaine

Hi Everyone!

Back today, as promised, with some wonderful water colouring tips from our talented Guest Designer this month, Sophie La Fontaine.   We love the way Sophie makes scenes with stamps on her cards and layouts, and today she shares some of her methods with us.

1. Cut watercolour paper (I use Strathmore's 140 lb cold-pressed) to 3.75" x 5". This size would layer nicely onto a typical 4.25" x 5.5" card.

2.  Choose the stamp sets you'd like to use.  Roughly lay out the stamps in the positions they would occupy in the scene (see photo). When stamping, make sure to use a waterproof ink. I use Palette Noir, but any other waterproof ink is fine.

I used the masking technique with a post-it-note over the mouse to stamp
the TV after and then stamped the car in the TV.

3. Start painting! You can paint anything in any order you'd like. For me, I started by painting the wall. After the paint dried, I painted the carpet. Do wait for the paint to dry, or the new colour might "bleed" onto the first (still-wet) colour. I painted these large two areas (wall and carpet) first because it made me feel like I was accomplishing something since it LOOKED like most of it was coloured by now. 

Clear Art Stamp Sets used on this card: TV and saying from SL 06 Favorite Fellas, Mouse from: SM26 Mouse Party, Cars & keys from SL30 Car Classics. Flowers are actually the tiny tree from: stamp set in Family Postcard Kit. Shelf she hand drew but brackets are from SL07 Frame It.  NOTE: Of course you may not have all of these set (Sophie has bought several of our sets). I also sent her some for being our guest DT. I do hope seeing so many stamp sets mixed together inspires you to look at your stamps in a new way!

Watercolour tips:
For those with no watercolors: I bought a starter kit of student-grade watercolors at Michael's with a 40%-off coupon. I also bought a waterbrush , but a paintbrush would also be fine. Just make sure the tip of the brush is nice and pointy to allow the tip to get into tiny spots and make very thin lines. When the tip gets frayed, it's time to buy another brush.

 For paper, pick a brand of watercolor paper and stick with it, since different papers absorb colors at different rates. I use Strathmore's 140 lb cold-pressed watercolor paper. The surface is a little bumpy, so a few stamped images may not come out all the way. In these cases, one can stamp on the reverse side, which is a little smoother, or get a waterproof pen to fill in the lines. I use PITT pens, not just to fill in lines, but also to draw a little bit, here and there, or to add my own sentiments.

The cool thing about watercolors is, one tube can produce a whole range of tones, from almost white to intense vivid color. The difference is in the water added. Lots of water produces a pale shade, and almost no water produces a rich color.

For the darkest colors, make sure the brush is almost dry, with just enough water to move the paint from the palette to the paper. If it isn't dark enough, I mix in a darker shade of the color, or a darker complementary color. For example, for the dark points of yellow, try mixing with dark brown, dark orange, or black. For the lightest colors, add enough water to the pigment and test it on a scrap of watercolor paper (with time and practice, you can tell if it's light or dark enough without constantly testing it). If not pale enough, add more water.

For most art, what pleases me the most is the range of shades in a piece of artwork, from the darkest darks to the palest lights. This card was for my husband when his soccer team lost.  Clear Art Stamp Sets used below: TV, Trophy from SL06 Favorite Fellas, # 2 from SM14 ABC Top Hat, Crying Bug from SL31 Bugs Life, Ticket from SM10 Journey, Push Pins from SM28 Office 101 (she drew note paper), Sentiment from SL02 Card Sentiments.

For painting backgrounds, it is useful to paint wet-in-wet. This is when one spreads a lot of paint onto the paper (a "wash") and then quickly introduces new paint into the old paint (before the old paint dries) and continues to spread it. This way, one can avoid a lot of "hard lines" which happen around the edges when paint dries. Clear Art Stamp Sets used below: SL31 Bugs Life, Sign from SL19 Fairyland, Eiffel Tower from SM03 French Mail,

For rosy cheeks, I apply pink or red paint FIRST and THEN follow after with a pale wash of burnt sienna (my go-to skin color) making sure to color all the face areas first and then the (already pink) cheeks LAST. This way, the other areas of the face stay un-rosy and there are no hard lines on the cheeks.  Stamp sets used: SM37 Little Girls

For darker skin tones, I like to mix burnt sienna & brown. For pink skin (ears or palms), I sometimes like to mix a little burnt sienna with just a touch of pink. Mouse is from Mouse Party  NOTE from Sandy: I will show the rest of this card and more in the next post and throughout April

Sophie says "I watched tons of how-to watercoloring videos on Youtube to learn visually. One can turn to online videos and tutorials for more tips and in-depth learning. Please take all my tips with a grain of salt because I'm not a professional by any stretch of the imagination! There is a wealth of glorious information on watercoloring on the internet and in bookstores!"

Well, that's it for today!  I hope you enjoyed learning these watercoloring tips from Sophie as much as I did, and a big thank-you to her for sharing her methods and her talents with us! I will be posting several wonderful samples she has created this month and you can see Sophie's gallery at Splitcoast Stampers HERE

I know Sophie would love to hear from you and you can post any comments and questions here as her blog isn't active.

Wishing you joy & creativity

Sandy Redburn
Crafty Secrets

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Hearts Turned said...

I've always loved your beautiful watercoloring, Sophie--so nice to see your work featured here!


Anonymous said...

One amazing design lady with a huge amount of talent. Love the cards! Love them!

Micki said...

Wonderful cards and great, great tips on watercoloring.

Vicki Chrisman said...

Wow! Gorgeous (and FUN) work!

debbiek said...

Lovely cards Sophie! Thanks for sharing your tips on watercoloring.

Kathy/NorthCarolina said...

Wow! Fabulous work and such a helpful tutorial! Thank you, Sophie! I'm inspired!

Cynthia said...

Thanks for the tips, Sophie! All of these samples are so sweet. I especially like the mouse in front of the TV!

Larajc said...

I really appreciate the tutorial! I love all the tips, especially the masking. It really is not any different then when I did watercoloring in college, just that you use stamps for the design! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hey very nice website.

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