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
Pen and Ink Watercolor Tulips
Pen and Ink Watercolor Poppies
Pen and Ink Watercolor Cherry Blossoms
Pen and Ink Watercolor Magnolia
Pen and Ink Watercolor Hellebore
Pen & Watercolor Flower Tutorials
Here are some other easy pen & watercolor flower tutorials for you to explore:
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?
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.
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What pens to use with watercolor?
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.
What materials do I need to paint my own pen and ink watercolor flowers?
List of the exact materials I use in my artwork:
- 2B Graphite Pencil
- Kneadable Eraser
- Faber Castell Pitt Pens
- Sakura Micron Pens
- White Gelly Roll Sakura Pen
- Windsor and Newton Watercolor Pan
- Himi Gouache Paint set
- Soft Bristle Brushes
- 300gsm Cold Pressed Watercolor paper
- Artists Masking Tape
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 😊