Top Tips for Painting Beautiful Pen and Ink Watercolor Flowers

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Working with pen and watercolor is a really satisfying and fun way to make art. There are really so many things you can create using this combination of media but in this article, I will be talking about pen and ink watercolor flowers – which is one of the subjects that I just love to paint!

I am absolutely in love with nature and find a lot of joy in illustrating the natural world. There is just such a variety of beautiful flora and fauna to be seen and I get so much pleasure out of capturing the essence of the subject in my art.

Some examples of my pen and ink watercolor flowers.

Pen and Ink Watercolor Daisies

daisies with a hand painting their petals purple
pen and ink watercolor daisies painted in purple and green
Layering washes of different greens to build up the background, and a soft blue for the sky.
a painting of purple daisies in a green field

Pen and Ink Watercolor Tulips

finished tulips painting
Layering washes create interesting color combinations and variety in your artwork.
finished tulips painting
Detail of the pen and ink watercolor combination.

How To Paint Tantalizing Tulips – Read this post for more in-depth tips on how to paint tulips!

Pen and Ink Watercolor Poppies

Painting of Red Poppies in Watercolor and Pen
I added pen on top of my greenery at the end to give it a bit of structure.
Painting of Red Poppies in Watercolor and Pen
Detail of pen and ink watercolor poppies.

Pen and Ink Watercolor Cherry Blossoms

Pen Drawing of Cherry Blossoms
Cherry Blossom Pen Drawing
watercolor and pen drawing of cherry blossoms
I used washes of watercolor and gouache here.

How To Paint Gorgeous Cherry Blossoms – Read this post for more in-depth tips on how to paint cherry blossoms!

Pen and Ink Watercolor Magnolia

unfinished painting of a magnolia in pen and watercolor
This is a looser flower painting which I did quite quickly to get an impression of a magnolia flower.
painting of a magnolia in pen and watercolor
I used very light washes of watercolor to give you a sense of the purple of the petals with a yellow accent.
painting of a magnolia in pen and watercolor
Details of Magnolia pen and ink watercolor.

Pen and Ink Watercolor Hellebore

Pen drawing of a hellebore flower
Pen drawing over pencil of the hellebore (Lenten Rose)
detail of a petal of a hellebore flower watercolor and pen painting
Building up the subject matter with layered washes of watercolor that I allowed to dry in-between. This helps lighter colors like the yellow to shine through the deep purple of the flower.
Deep purple Hellebore watercolor and pen painting

Pen & Watercolor Flower Tutorials

Here are some other easy pen & watercolor flower tutorials for you to explore:

[How to Draw a Hibiscus in Pen & Watercolor]

[How to Draw a Lotus Flower in Pen & Watercolor]

[How to Draw a Lily in Pen & Watercolor]

Here are some answers to important questions my students have asked me about using pen and ink and watercolor.

Do you ink before or after watercolor?

This is really about personal preference. If you ink before you watercolor, it is really important that you use a permanent, fast-drying ink or pen. I use either the Faber Castell Pitt Pens or the Sakura Micron Pens.

Its always a good idea to test out each of these methods before you begin on a final artwork. This will help you decide on which method is best for your style of art making.

I often draw the ink outline first and use it to guide my watercolor painting. I will also often go back over my watercolor with my Pitt Pens at the end to finish off aspects of the painting.

[Related article: Gouache vs Acrylic Paint | What’s the best paint for you?]

How do you use watercolor ink and pen?

[Related article: In-depth Tips on How to use Pen Ink and Watercolor]

You can either paint washes of watercolor first and then go over it in pen. Make sure it is completely dry before you work over it with the pen.

You can also draw the outline of the subject matter first using your permanent Pitt Pens or Micron Pens and then color over the outlines using your watercolor.

It’s important to understand that when you are working in this medium the pen and ink suggest the texture, form, shape and value of your subject matter.

There are no rules about what the “right” way to use this medium is, but you should explore varying the amount of pen mark making you use, and the weight of the lines.

Each of us has our own innate individual artistic style and so it is really important that we spend time playing and experimenting to discover what feels right for us.

**This page may contain affiliate links to products I have used or recommend. If you purchase something from this page, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.**

What pens to use with watercolor?

I would suggest using a good quality pen that dries quite quickly and is permanent and archival so that it doesn’t fade with age. I recommend the Faber Castell Pitt Pens or the Sakura Micron Pens.

You can also use gel pens like the white Sakura Gelli Roll Pens which are great for adding white highlights to your watercolor once it has dried.

How do you draw a flower with watercolors?

Start by drawing a pencil outline of your chosen flower. I like to use a 2B pencil because the lead is soft and dark enough so that I don’t have to press too hard on the paper – this can leave indentations on the page and can be visible in your watercolor painting.

Once you have completed your pencil outline, you can choose whether to first paint a watercolor wash, or rather go over your pencil with pen.

You will then use the second medium over the first in order to complete your flower painting.

When it comes to your pen drawing, you can choose whether to draw in a sketchier manner and leave your forms open. Or you can draw your subject matter using tight, clean, and solid outlines.

Sketchier pen drawing often leads to a more organic and naturalistic art work, whereas using solid outlines can give your artwork more of a stylized design element.

When using watercolor paint, it is good practice to start with light washes over your subject matter and gradually build up the color. Using layers of watercolor wash will help you deepen your shadow areas and create areas of interest in your painting.

Can you watercolor over micron?

Yes, you can. Micron pens are permanent and archival and don’t bleed when painted over with watercolor. Give your pen drawing a couple of minutes to completely dry before you paint over it.

Can you erase pencil under watercolor?

If there is a lot of pigment in the watercolor you are using then it is impossible to erase the pencil from underneath it.

I would suggest using a kneadable eraser to remove the majority of the pencil outline or mark before you begin painting over it with your watercolor paint. The reason I recommend using a kneadable eraser is become you can gently dab away the pencil mark without too much force and you have more control over that you are removing.

How do you fix a mistake in watercolor?

Always have a sheet of kitchen paper towel or tissue close by. If you have added too much of a color, or too much water, it is quite easy to blot it off the paper by gently and quickly touching the area with your paper towel/ tissue.

Can you use watercolor and gouache together?

Yes. This is a combination that works really well because gouache and watercolor are from the same family of paints.

Gouache tends to be more opaque than watercolor and so it is useful to combine the two when you are looking to paint more solid flowers with fleshier petals – like the hellebore flower.

[Wondering How to Find Your Art Style? Read this blog post!]

What materials do I need to paint my own pen and ink watercolor flowers?

List of the exact materials I use in my artwork:


I hope this article has inspired you and given you some ideas for your own flower pen and ink watercolor paintings. I will be updating this article regularly with more pen and ink watercolor flowers examples for your creative inspiration 😊

2 thoughts on “Top Tips for Painting Beautiful Pen and Ink Watercolor Flowers”

  1. do you have on line classes. I don’t draw but I do love to watercolor line drawings.? Wondering if you have longer classes? Thanks
    I love your work

    • Dear Desiree, Thank you so much for your lovely response! I am so glad that you enjoy my process and feel inspired to create your own! I am currently working on a Watercolor and Pen course which will be available for you to sign up online soon. If you sign up for my newsletter then I can let you know as soon as it’s up and ready! Wishing you a creative weekend 🙂


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