• How to Create Watercolor Calligraphy

    Curious about how to create calligraphy with watercolors? This article includes instructions and a comprehensive tutorial video to teach you the watercolor calligraphy technique! You’ll also find inspirational examples and tips for success.

    Try using the watercolor calligraphy technique and various colors of red, yellow, and orange watercolors to write your recipient's address.
    The term “watercolor calligraphy” refers to using watercolors to write calligraphy. This pointed pen calligraphy technique results in vibrant and delightfully customizable results!

    Did you know that you can use watercolors to create stunning pointed pen calligraphy? A watercolor palette offers a versatile collection of “inks”, allowing you to experiment with an array of colors and gradients in your calligraphy work. By diluting watercolors with water and loading them onto your pointed pen nib, you can achieve beautiful ombre effects and blend colors seamlessly. Today, I’ll walk you through how to harness the power of watercolor calligraphy in a written tutorial and a video demonstration.

    What is Watercolor Calligraphy?

    Watercolor calligraphy is calligraphy that you write using watercolors and your pointed pen. You can transform practically any watercolor into an “ink” by adding a bit of water to it.

    (Free!) Sunset Watercolor Henna Envelope Template
    The address on this watercolor henna envelope was written using a combination of red, orange, and yellow watercolors from a Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolor set. (If you like the envelope, you can download the printable template here.)

    I love using watercolors to write calligraphy because they offer a soft and delicate effect that differs from traditional calligraphy inks. As you write a word, you’ll witness a delightful transition from a deeply pigmented color to a gentle, lighter hue as the balance between water and pigment changes within the nib. It’s a captivating technique that infuses calligraphy with a mesmerizing touch!

    How to Create Watercolor Calligraphy (Written Tutorial)

    To create watercolor calligraphy, you really only need five supplies: a cup of water, a pointed pen pen (fitted with any nib), a paintbrush (size 1, 2, or 3), any watercolor palette, and a piece of paper. First, use water to moisten the color/s that you plan to use.

    Watercolor Palette | The Postman's Knock
    I use a blunt art syringe to moisten my watercolor(s), but a spoon works just as well! You only need to add a little bit of water … maybe 1/8 of a teaspoon.

    Next, you use a paintbrush to apply watercolor to the back of your nib.

    Watercolor Calligraphy | The Postman's Knock
    I prefer to use a size 3 paintbrush to brush watercolor on the back of my nib, but any small-ish paintbrush will work.

    Then, write just as you would with any calligraphy ink.

    Watercolor Calligraphy | The Postman's Knock
    In this photo, I’m using brown and turquoise watercolors to practice Amy Style calligraphy lowercase letters.

    Once you feel comfortable using the technique, try alternating the watercolors that you’re using as inks. You’ll be rewarded with a unique, gradated effect that makes the calligraphy stand out. For example, in the envelope below, I alternated loading my nib with red and orange watercolors to coordinate with the funky postage stamp.

    5 Unique Ways to Address an Envelope
    This Kaitlin Style calligraphy envelope features red and orange watercolors.


    How to Create Watercolor Calligraphy (Video Tutorial)

    If you’re anything like me, hands-on learning is the most effective way for you to grasp new skills. That’s why I’ve prepared a video tutorial that showcases the step-by-step process of creating watercolor calligraphy. You’ll discover techniques for writing with one color, switching things up with two colors, and gain confidence by addressing common watercolor calligraphy concerns.

    If you’d like some guided practice, I encourage you to download TPK’s free Watercolor Calligraphy Worksheet.

    Free Printable Watercolor Calligraphy Worksheet
    The exercises in this free worksheet will help you master the watercolor calligraphy technique.

    Why is Watercolor Calligraphy Useful?

    The main drawback to using the watercolor calligraphy technique is reduced efficiency. As you can imagine, brushing watercolor on the back of your nib every few letters isn’t exactly a time-saver. However, if you’re creating calligraphy for relaxation (which many people do), that’s not an issue! Watercolor calligraphy is great for a few reasons, including:

    1. Calligraphy Practice On the Go

    Calligraphy ink isn’t the best thing to take on long trips because you never know when you’re going to have a spill. Watercolors, however, are dry until you need them to be wet. For that reason, they make for very portable “inks”.

    Mail Art with Kaitlin Style Calligraphy
    I created all of these watercolor calligraphy envelopes at a local coffee shop. It was nice to get to create in a new environment!


    2. Whimsical and Unique Writing Effect

    The results of watercolor calligraphy are one of a kind. Watercolor allows you to blend colors as you write calligraphy, and the varying levels of gradation are gorgeous. It’s difficult to achieve that sort of effect with most calligraphy inks!

    Whimsical Woodland Watercolor Wreath Tutorial
    You can learn how to make the woodland watercolor wreath shown on this wedding-worthy place card in this tutorial.


    3. Artwork Accents

    If you enjoy painting with watercolor, you can use a dip pen and watercolor to add accents to your artwork. The pointed pen allows you to achieve the precision and consistency that a brush can’t offer.

    Henna Cat Created with Dip Pen | The Postman's Knock
    The henna design accents on this embellished cat were created with a dip pen and watercolors.


    What About Paper?

    I think you’ll be surprised to find that watercolors aren’t that picky when it comes to paper. If you can write on a piece of paper with regular calligraphy ink, chances are you can write on it with watercolor calligraphy as well. You’ll have great luck using watercolor paper, drawing paper, and even 32# laserjet paper! If you use watercolor calligraphy on envelopes, just make sure they are high-quality.

    A Video Crash Course on Watercolor Calligraphy | The Postman's Knock
    This casual calligraphy was written on 32# HP Premium laserjet paper.

    Preventing Watercolor Calligraphy Smudges

    Watercolor, by nature, is not waterproof. Accordingly, if you use the watercolor calligraphy technique for a project that might get exposed to water, consider treating the calligraphy with MicroGlaze.

    Applying MicroGlaze to an envelope

    You can find more information and instructions for using MicroGlaze in the video below.


    If something about watercolor calligraphy is stumping you, please feel free to ask in the comments. Otherwise, I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial, and that it inspires you to moisten your watercolor palette and start using it to make stunning calligraphy creations. Thanks so much for reading TPK!


    Lindsey's Signature | The Postman's Knock