Tombow Techniques: DIY Summertime WATERCOLOR Wall Art

Since the weather turned warm (for good!), I've wanted nothing more than to surround myself with the brightest colors possible! That includes, but is not limited to: my nails, my clothes, and my walls!

I wanted to put together a wall art gallery to brighten up my plain, unadorned walls, but I didn't want to go out and buy a bunch of art when I have all the tools sitting at my fingertips. However, knowing I am not very skilled with watercolors, I was hesitant to get started on a huge watercolor project, only to get frustrated after twenty minutes of failed blending. 

Since the #heftyhack, I've known that Tombow Dual Brush Pens can make some excellent watercolors. I mean, some of the most vibrant I have ever seen that won't cost you an arm and a leg (ahem...Dr.Ph Martin). Recently, I received a Blending Palette and a Spray Mister from Tombow...two tools I have been itching to try! This seemed like a sign that I should give watercoloring a second chance, and I am SO glad I did!

~Let's jump in~

Okay--so, I'm settled into my work station with all my supplies close by. But before I get started, I want to highlight the REAL MVP of this tutorial: The Blending Spray Mister. The thing I usually don't care for with watercolors is, well, the water. I can never get the right amount...I use too much or not enough, and I tend to soak my paper, soak my work station, and waste a ton of water. This spray mister takes your cup of dirty watercolor water OUT of the equation, and provides you with just the right amount of water to blend your colors. Just wait and see! It's truly a game changer!

The first thing I want to do is lay my colors down onto the blending palette. In this tutorial, I am simply swatching a few colors to show you the outcome, and demonstrating a few techniques with these tools...these colors don't have to match! Obviously, you'll pick colors according to the end result you have in mind. 

To lay the color down, simply brush the tip of your chosen pen onto the palette, like you see me do below. Seriously, I am only explaining that to be thorough. Y'all know what I'm talking about. For this short demonstration, I chose four colors: Pink (725 I numbers have worn off), Yellow (025), Blue (425), and Purple (665).

After you've laid your colors down, start misting your paper with water using the spray mister. I think I used about 4 pumps of water to cover my colors with a good amount of liquid.

Next, I grabbed my paintbrush, and starting blending the pigmented water. The colored water will pool together to make a beautifully colored puddle. 

From here, simply brush on your pigment like you would any other watercolor medium! Below are the swatches from the four colors I chose.

My favorite aspect of using the Dual Brush Pens as watercolor, is that they dry SO SMOOTH. When using a cheap watercolor set from Wal-Mart or Michael's in the past, the paints would dry with an unpleasant texture, the colors would dull significantly, or bits of my paper would start to pull up (probably my fault, but whatevs). 

Next, I barely folded my blending palette, causing left colors slide down and blend with the right colors. You can, of course, do this with your brush---no bending and swirling needed.

And as you would expect, the colors blend with one another BEAUTIFULLY! Here is a SMALL demonstration---you'll see a much better example of blending later in the post.

Another fabulous part about the blending palette and spray mister is that clean-up is reduced to one swipe of a wet paper towel.

*Note: when working with reds, blues, dark, or heavily pigmented colors (or leaving colors on the palette for a long period of time), you might find that the colors don't want to remove as easily. I simply hit my palette with a little more water from the mister, and it comes right off.

NOW for the fun! Let's try an updated, much easier and neater version of the tried and trusted Hefty Hack. Hint: no Hefty involved this time.

To begin this process, lay a bunch of color onto your blending palette.

Next, spritz your palette with water, causing the pigment to get all liquid-y. Don't go crazy though....

Because, you'll also spritz your paper with water. I used 3 "pumps" of water, about 5 inches above my paper, around the same area I plan to lay my color from the palette. The more water you use (both on the palette and on the paper), the lighter your pigment will be.

Next, lay your palette (color side down) onto the wet area of paper. Mush it around a little with your finger tips!

Gently pull the palette up, and admire your work!
You're an ARTISTE.

It's totally fine to let any large puddles of water dry, but I'm impatient, so I absorbed the puddles with a little dry paper towel. No dabbing or pressing necessary...I just touched the corner to the paper and 'it absorbs right up.' 

Bonus points if you got the She's The Man reference.

Because I wanted to add a little extra color, I repeated the same process with the yellow brush pen.

But, instead of mopping up the extra pigmented water, I took my paintbrush and pushed it around a little, until it was blended smoothly. 

You could repeat this process with as many colors as you like to achieve that unique, rainbow watercolor background so many lettering artists love to use! I haven't had as much luck with mixing several colors on the palette, THEN spraying with water and laying onto the paper. I much prefer the results I get when I take it one color at a time, and use a paper towel or a paintbrush to manipulate the colors and get them the way I want them.

So, now that you've seen these brief demonstrations, I want to show you the three pieces I came up with this week!

First is this baby cactus print. I measured and cut a 5x7 inch piece of watercolor paper and went to town! No sketching necessary. The pink dots were all done with a simple downward sweep of my paintbrush, and the cactus is a few shades of green mixed together. I'm happy with the way this one turned out!

Next, I did this little 5x7 sunset inspired by the amazing sunsets of Santa Fe, New Mexico (one of my favorite places on Earth). I sketched out my mountains in pencil, then began with my watercolor sunset. Although I wouldn't call this a masterpiece, I love the texture and vibrant-yet-soft watercolor gradient. 

Last, but not least, I've been very into lemons lately (if you can't tell by my new homepage), and I wanted to paint them so dern bad! This is an 8x10 print using yellow (layered a couple of times to achieve some shading), green, and black. The black brush pen I used is on it's last leg, so my lettering didn't come out as dark as I intended. However, I am happy with the softness of the sentiment now that I take a second look. 


Next time I see you, I'll be a married woman! I can't believe it! I'm getting married a week from tomorrow, June 11th, and considering the amount of time and effort it took for me to complete this week's blog post, I am SURE I won't have time for one next week. 

However, when I come back, I want to show you the wall art gallery I'm creating in my room! I want to complete a few more watercolor pieces in different sizes, find some unique framing options, and put them together. I can't wait to document that process....I think home made art can be some of the most fun art you could ever find. 

Signing off for the time being as Single Kiley, I'll see you in a few weeks!