The inspiration for this “just because” card comes from Carolyn Gavin‘s botanical sketches in Issue 11 of Flow Magazine. It’s hard not to love the juxtaposition of clean black and white components with watercolor! If you like the look of this project, give it a try! Even if you don’t consider yourself to be an artist, you can make it — I promise. Here’s how:
1. Make an Ink Drawing
First, procure a 5″ x 7″ (127 mm x 178 mm) card — preferably one that’s made of watercolor paper. (You can also DIY a card by folding a 10″ x 7″ piece of watercolor paper in half.) Next, use a light box to trace the image from the Stem and Leaves Template — which you can download by clicking here — onto the front of the card.
It’s crucial that you use waterproof ink for this step! My go-to is Ziller Soot Black ink, but you can use any waterproof ink or pen (such as a fine-tipped Sharpie).
2. Add Color to the Stems and Leaves
Now, use a couple of drops of water to moisten a light green tone of watercolor. Wait 30 seconds or so for the water to soak in a bit, then paint the green over the stem and the top left leaf.
Now, draw three green lines that extend out the top of the stem. These three lines will later serve as connecting points for flowers.
3. Paint Flowers
To paint the flowers for this “just because” card, start by drawing 14-15 short, curved lines extending from the tops of the stem. I chose to paint these short lines using a dark blue color, but any color that appeals to you will look great!
Next, use the same watercolor tone to top off six of your short lines with solid circles. Finish up by painting semicircles on top of two of your short lines.
Use a lighter tone of watercolor — in my case, turquoise — to paint more circles. Then, choose a complementary watercolor to paint additional circles. The sizes of the circles can vary, and they don’t have to be connected to the short blue lines.
Fill out the flowers with your three tones of watercolor. You can add little stems to some of the circles, if you wish.
Once the artwork looks good to you, you’re finished!
4. Add Lettering
Since this is a “just because” card, I decided to add a simple “hello” to the lower right of the illustration. Of course, you’re welcome to customize the lettering to reflect the occasion, or skip adding lettering altogether!
While you wait for the paint and ink to dry, you can create an envelope that matches the lettering or calligraphy on the card.
The final step is to send and brighten someone’s day!
I hope that you enjoyed this short, simple tutorial! It’s a great way to add some creativity to your day. Of course, you should feel free to modify the illustration, color scheme, and message to fit your style! As always, have a great weekend, and thanks very much for reading TPK!