In this abstract art tutorial, you’ll learn how to make a gallery-worthy piece of watercolor art! It may not look like the piece above, and it shouldn’t: abstract art is all about randomness and feeling. In the end, you’re left with a piece that conveys artistic energy rather than depicts a subject!
1. Prepare Your Supplies
First, cut out a piece of watercolor paper to the size of your choice. I decided to create a 5″x7″ piece.
Next, use a few droplets of water to moisten the following colors in a watercolor palette: a medium blue, a dark blue, a medium purple, a dark purple, and a black. As a side note, the palette shown below is a discontinued palette from Greenleaf & Blueberry. If you don’t have any watercolors, Sakura Koi is a nice palette to start out with! If you’re interested in learning more about watercolors, I recommend reading All About Watercolor Paints, an excellent guest post from artist and artisan watercolor maker Jess Hurd.
Once you have moistened the watercolors, let the water sit for a minute or two. Move on to the next step while it’s soaking in!
2. Moisten the Paper
Use a fairly large (size 6 or so) paintbrush to apply broad, random strokes of water to your paper. While the water should cover the lower half of the paper, you should leave some of the areas on the upper half dry.
The paper will most likely bubble up as you apply the water, but that’s okay! Once the piece dries, it will flatten out again.
3. Apply Watercolor Paint
While your paper is still wet, dip your paintbrush into one of the watercolors that you moistened. Touch it to the wet paper, and you’ll be delighted to see that the paint immediately blooms out!
Continue to touch all colors of paint to the paper until you have infused all the watery areas with color!
Once you finish your initial color application, go back and add more paint on top of your first layer. You want your dark values to be really dark here so the gold will show up well when you apply it!
Finish up by using a smaller brush (size 4 or so) to draw relatively thin, wavy layers of dark paint over what you already made.
Allow the watercolor to completely dry, then move on to the next step!
4. Apply Gold Ink
Now that your project is rapidly resembling a piece of chic abstract art, it’s time to polish it off with some gold ink! If you’re using Finetec gold, which is a fantastic opaque gold watercolor, you’ll want to moisten it with a couple of drops of water.
After you’ve given the water a minute or so to soak into the paint, use a brush to load Finetec onto your dip pen. If you’re not sure how to do that, no worries! This blog post will teach you. Next, draw a wavy line in the bottom left region of your abstract art.
Draw a few curvy lines coming off of the original gold line you drew. They should hug the contours of the original line.
Finish up drawing curvy lines coming off of the line on the left. Then, draw a long vertical line on the right side of the piece.
Continue to draw curvy lines until your piece looks something like the one below. Feel free to finish up your work by adding a few plain, wavy lines coming down from the left corner region!
Once you’re finished, take a moment to admire the piece in the light! Finetec has a gorgeous, interactive shine to it that is always different depending on what angle you observe it from.
Allow the piece to completely dry, then use it for one of the applications below!
First and foremost, this piece looks great in a frame! Abstract art can add a lot of color and energy to your home. It really brightens up a space!
You can also use your abstract art as part of a “happy mail” package. Add a couple of other paper goods to your abstract art and tie everything together with string … it’s a nice little surprise for any paper lover! The package below features an upcycled lion illustration from Inkstruck Studio, a watercolor fork drawing, and a Kaitlin Style half-circle “merci”. An elegant envelope featuring navy blue Janet Style calligraphy finishes off the creative package!
You don’t have to relegate yourself to making artwork with this technique: you can apply it to a number of different projects! For example, you could make abstract art bookmarks, place cards, or gift tags. This is also a wonderful concept to try out in a sketchbook or journal! Feel free to modify it to suit your likes and needs: instead of gold, you could use white or black ink, and you can always switch up the tones of watercolor.
If you have a few moments this weekend, you’ll really enjoy making this project! It’s gorgeous, quick, and fun to create for adults and children alike! If you have any questions (or creative modification suggestions), please feel free to contribute to the comments. I’m always happy to offer input, and I love hearing your ideas. 🙂
Thanks so much for reading today’s tutorial, and have a wonderful day!