There are already two tutorials over creating watercolor calligraphy on the TPK blog. And yet … this is a topic that I return to again and again because it’s a calligraphy technique that I love so much. The difference between the other watercolor calligraphy blog posts and this one is video capability! Now that I have a video-friendly camera and a tripod with a horizontal arm (initially purchased in order to create the Amy video course), you’ll be seeing a lot more videos in blog posts! Since watercolor calligraphy is really something that is easiest to do once you see how someone else does it, I thought today I’d share a video that will help you to create your own watercolor calligraphy with a dip pen.
There are two reasons watercolor calligraphy can rock your world. The first of which is it’s beautiful. The ombré effect you are able to achieve by blending watercolor paints is seriously stunning. Since watercolor calligraphy isn’t a widely-used technique, it’s difficult for people to immediately identify how you accomplished such a unique, pretty effect.
The second reason is portability. If you are using a dry palette of watercolor (which I, personally, prefer), you can create watercolor calligraphy from anywhere. Case in point: I am writing this blog post from San Diego! These are the only supplies I brought with me on the airplane:
Though you absolutely can travel with permanent ink (see: Traveling with Art and Calligraphy Supplies), sometimes you just don’t want to risk it. If that ink spills, after all, you’re going to walk around looking “inkblot test chic”. A safer alternative, without question, is bringing a set of watercolors. My two favorite artist-grade travel friendly sets are made by Yarka and Greenleaf & Blueberry. Bring your dip pen and a couple of brushes, and you’re all set to paint or practice your calligraphy!
(My travel palette of choice is the Greenleaf & Blueberry Altoids set.)
Now that my spiel over reasons to learn watercolor calligraphy is over, I’m going to teach you how to make it in the video below! (If you cannot see the video in your browser, you may watch it on Vimeo by clicking here.)
Here are some of my favorite ways to use watercolor calligraphy:
1. Inspirational little pieces of artwork
You can use watercolor calligraphy to create the Botanical Watercolor Wreath Tutorial.
2. Envelope art!
Check out this verbose envelope, which features Kaitlin Style calligraphy.
I find that watercolor calligraphy only works on certain envelopes; if the paper isn’t hardy enough, the watercolor will bleed. I use Royal Sundance 80 lb. envelopes from Neenah (item #0269500 under “Envelopes”) … they’re always up to the task.
3. On-the-road practice
If you want to practice calligraphy, but you’re on the road a lot, just take a set of watercolors, your calligraphy pen, a Learn for a Latté worksheet, and a brush along on your trips! I worked on some multi-colored Amy letters this afternoon.
Practicing your watercolor calligraphy — or sketching with watercolors and a dip pen — is a great way to relax between sightseeing or working. Because dry watercolor pans are so convenient, I was able to write this post (and create calligraphy!) from our AirBnB apartment in downtown San Diego.
While I do absolutely love watercolor calligraphy, I recognize that it may be a little difficult and finicky when you first decide to take it on. Here are some tips that will save you some frustration:
- Make sure there is no excess watercolor on the back of your nib. If the excess is large enough, it will drip onto the paper and make a large, unexpected blob.
- Only certain papers can handle watercolor calligraphy. Watercolor paper is a sure thing, though its surface can be a little rough and discouraging for beginners. Drawing paper also handles watercolor calligraphy very well!
- To learn more about watercolor calligraphy, read this Watercolor Calligraphy Tutorial. It essentially teaches you what you learned in the video, but in text/photo form.
If you have any questions or additional tips, please comment! Thanks again for reading, and I hope this video helped you to learn more about creating watercolor calligraphy. Enjoy the rest of your week!