This is a guest post by artist Gaby Friedman, and I am in love with it. Not only does Gaby do a great job of explaining her steps, but she also provides fantastic photography and a wonderful project to boot! After reading this watercolor art tutorial, I feel super excited to try my own hand…
Artist Gaby Friedman’s artwork has a beautiful, vibrant quality to it. It’s the kind of art that catches your eye and appeals to your imagination! When I discovered that Gaby was willing to write a watercolor art tutorial for TPK, I was so glad. Finally — you’ll get a break from my rambling and get to hear from someone else! 😉 I couldn’t be happier with the simple but lovely watercolor art tutorial that Gaby provided me with to share with you, and I know you’ll love it, too. Without further ado, I’ll turn you over to Gaby:
Hello! My name is Gaby Friedman. Painting is my passion and today I am going to share a watercolor art tutorial with you. I’m very excited to be the guest blogger for Lindsey today. This time I’m going to teach you how to paint a Peace and Love Icon with a galaxy effect. You can use this technique to make your own art projects and decorate your walls. The only limit is your imagination!
I call Atlanta home, but I’m originally from Quito, Ecuador, where this photo was taken.
Watercolor is one of my favorite painting mediums to work with because it renders transparent, delicate, and ethereal results. At the same time, watercolors dry fast and you can finish a painting in a few hours. If you don’t have much experience with watercolors, take your time and enjoy the ride! You’ll love the results.
To get started, here are the supplies that you’ll need:
Student Watercolors or Professional/Artist Watercolors (For more information about watercolors/which watercolors to buy, see All About Watercolor Paints)
Watercolor Paper (I prefer hot pressed 140 lb. 9”x12” pads)
Paintbrushes (Size 1 for the details, and sizes 3 and 6 round brushes to paint)
Step 1: Search online for the Peace and Love icon as a reference, then trace it onto your paper. A ruler and a math compass will come in very handy for this purpose (though you can freehand if you want to).
Step 2: You only want to paint in the negative area of the icon, so you will need to protect the borders with Liquid Frisket. Apply a layer of this product to the area that needs to be protected (as shown in the photos below).
Step 3: Now you are going to start by applying clean water to the paper.
Step 4: Put a little drop of blue watercolor onto the wet paper and keep applying galaxy-inspired colors while the paper is wet. I added black India ink, as well as different shades of blue, magenta, pink, yellow, green, and red. Continue repeating the same exercise until you cover all the negative space of the Peace & Love icon.
Make sure not to create very defined brush strokes; instead, just help the water flow on the paper by using your paint brush. Your hand movements should be fluid and free.
Note that is important to use black ink or black watercolor in order to create the galaxy effect.
Step 5: Sprinkle some salt over your artwork to get the effect of the stars while your paper is still wet. Try not to overdo it because too much salt ruins the effect; a few grains will suffice. After you apply the salt, let the area dry while you finish painting the rest.
Step 6: You can also apply some alcohol with a cotton swab to add a different texture and create the galaxy effect. Simply apply the saturated cotton swab to wet watercolor and watch magic happen!
Step 7: Once it is dry remove the excess salt by gently rubbing it with your hand. (The photo below shows how my painting looked when it dried. Now I have a nice background texture to work with!)
Step 8: Spatter white ink with a brush to create the starry night effect. (For tips on getting this effect with paint or ink, visit the Spatter Watercolor Tree tutorial.)
Step 9: Doodle the skyline of your favorite city or a whimsical skyline (you can see where I doodled in the photo above).
Step 10: Finally the fun part: details! You’ll want to use white ink and a thin paint brush for this. Start painting the line work as neatly as possible; to achieve this, you’ll need a steady hand and a good amount of paint/ink (but not too much — you don’t want blobs!) on your brush.
Step 11: Now you are going to paint some big stars with a glare. You’ll start with the glare by painting circles with watered-down white ink. Watering down the ink is an important step because you will add a second layer on top of these circles once they are dry.
Step 12: Paint a second layer of smaller circles with white ink on top of the first layer. Now you have some cute stars!
Step 13: Remove the frisket by peeling or rubbing with a soft eraser. Ideally, it should be removed within 24 to 48 hours to achieve the best results.
And there you have it! A gorgeous piece of art for any corner of your cozy home! I hope that this easy-to-follow tutorial will inspire you and encourage you to pick up a brush and create! Thank you for reading.
Back to Lindsey, here: I can’t be the only one who had never thought to use watered-down white ink to achieve a halo effect around stars. I am in love with the creativity behind this watercolor art tutorial! The finished project is impressive, but the project itself is wonderfully simple to make! If you’d like to display Gaby’s artwork as a 5″x7″ piece in your home — or use it as a greeting card or postcard — you can download it for free by clicking here.
I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to Gaby for writing today’s blog post, and of course a big thanks to you for reading. If you’d like to follow Gaby’s work, take a look at her Instagram page. 🙂 Have a great, watercolor-filled weekend!