In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to use the Finetec Pearl Colors palette on black cardstock to make a nighttime floral garden. Feel free to take what I detail here and riff on it to make your own botanical configurations! 2022 revision: Finetec has discontinued the Pearl Colors palette 😥. When I found that…
I almost exclusively use Finetec watercolor to write metallic calligraphy. Today, though, I wanted to try something different! Instead of pairing Finetec with my dip pen to write words, I got out my paintbrush and made a series of floral doodles on black cardstock. It was a fun, relaxing way to spend my toddler’s nap time, and I took photos as I went so I can show you how to make something like this, too!
1. Create a Color Chart
First, get out your Finetec Pearl Colors palette (or a similar metallic watercolor palette). Moisten all of the colors with a bit of water, then make yourself a color chart on a scrap piece of black cardstock. Having this chart will allow you to see what all of the colors look like on paper. (For most of the colors, the way they look on paper is very different from the way they look in the palette!)
2. Paint a Cabbage Rose
Make sure your Fine Gold color (top row of palette, second from the left) is moist. Then, use a size 2 or 3 paintbrush and your Fine Gold to paint four little heart shapes on your cardstock. The tips of the heart shapes should face each other.
Next, use your paintbrush to paint uneven shapes around the hearts, resulting in a disjointed circle.
Paint three more layers of uneven shapes around the budding flower. Doing this should give you a fairly large, golden cabbage rose.
3. Paint Hibiscus-Like Flowers
Now, use Blue-Green (bottom row, third from the right) to paint three half-circle-like shapes in different places on your cardstock. While the paint is still wet, add a touch of Silver Pearl (top row, far left) to give the shape some dimension.
Next, use Red (top row, third from right) to paint four petals around one of the green half-circles. While the red paint is still wet, add a touch of Silver Pearl to the bottoms of the petals. The Silver Pearl paint will spread out, blending into the red.
Draw petals around all of your half-circles.
4. Add Daisies
Now, add three small-ish Fine Gold circles in various places around your card. Then, load Silver Pearl watercolor onto your dip pen (per the technique outlined in this tutorial), and use it to surround the circles with narrow hearts that are open at the bottom.
Next, use your dip pen and Silver Pearl paint to draw a few curved branches. The curved branches should connect to small twigs that end in circles.
Fill in the negative space between the twigs with Green Pearl (bottom row, third from left) leaves. The leaves should start out fairly big at the bottom, then get smaller as they reach the tip of the branch.
At this point, you can use Bronze (bottom row, second from right) to paint two large branches with leaves.
5. Paint Baby’s Breath and Additional Branches
Once everything you have painted up to this point has dried, load Fine Gold onto your dip pen and draw three groups of connected curved lines. Then, use a size 1-ish paintbrush to quickly paint little dots of Fine Gold at the ends of those lines, which will give you golden baby’s breath.
Add a few more sprigs of baby’s breath, then use Blue-Green and a size 1 paintbrush to paint some simple twigs with leaves.
6. Add Red-Brown Dots
To finish up, use a size 3-ish paintbrush to paint various sizes of Red-Brown (bottom row, far right) dots throughout your garden. These dots serve to fill in any negative space that you have.
There are many uses for metallic watercolors. Painting jazzy nighttime gardens like this is only one of them! Whenever you need a break from writing calligraphy — or you just want to make something pretty — try making these lovely flowers. You can use them to add elegance to envelope art, create a greeting card, or just pretty up your sketchbook.
This tutorial showcases one style of drawing flowers. I’ve seen other Finetec florals that are a little looser, so I’ll do a tutorial detailing how to paint using that style later this year, too! I hope that you enjoyed these instructions, and that you’re inspired to paint a fabulous Finetec watercolor floral garden of your own this weekend.