Hello stamping friends! Today I have a tutorial for you that gives your watercoloring a bit of a different focus, the negative space. The negative space is the empty space around an image. Typically when we create a card that focuses on a lined image we put all of our attention on coloring that focal image. I thought it would be fun to do the reverse and focus all the attention on the background surrounding the focal image and add only light tints of color to the focal image. Let’s get started!
The first thing to think about with this technique is the focal image. I think it works best to use an image that isn’t too heavy in fine details. Inspired By Stamping has many, many sets that will work beautifully for this technique but for my card I chose to use the lovely orchid spray from Australian Nature I. I cut my Canson 140# (300G) weight paper to be slightly smaller than an A2 size card. Since the background is really what you are focusing on with the watercoloring you want a nice large card panel. You can use any type of watercolor medium I chose to use my tube watercolors that are Reeves brand. I also wanted to share with you that it is really worth investing a bit of money into a few good quality watercolor brushes. I have been using very inexpensive brushes and at my husband’s urging splurged and got a couple of Winsor and Newton watercolor brushes. I like to use sizes 4 and 6. Is there a difference in the brushes? YES!! I could hardly believe how much better the brush takes in and lets go of water as well as the paint. So much more control. So go get yourself a good brush or two 😉
This technique is well suited to a one layer card so you want to do all your stamping first. For my sentiment I used Big Hello. I like to use Versafine Onyx Black ink for all my watercoloring.
Next, you’ll want to decide on what colors you are going to use for your negative space. I decided to focus on blues with hints of yellow/green. So the point of this technique is to not color your focal image! Here is my very first light wash laid down. I knew I wanted to keep the sentiment area quite a bit lighter so it would pop once it was done. Go slowly and work in sections but to avoid really hard lines fade out all your colors so it won’t look like you worked in sections when it dries.
Here is my second wash. Just go slow and continue to build up color. I wanted to keep intensifying the color around the focal image of the orchids and butterflies so I just kept adding more and more layers. Let each layer dry so that you can really see how much color is there and again go slowly so you don’t start bleeding into your focal image.
After many layers here is my completed piece. I added very light tints of color to my orchids and butterflies so that they weren’t just stark white, but you could just leave them completely white too! To deepen my darkest blues I added gray into my wash. That really helped to bring in shadow tones. I especially focused on the darkest spots being around the orchids and fading out from there. I am sure there are many looks you could achieve with this technique!
Here is an up close shot. I love how you can really get a layered look. I do feel that you do get better layering and color overlap using tube watercolors versus markers. I think the pigment is a lot richer.
I hope you enjoyed my tutorial and will give it a try! I know I am personally head over heels in love with watercoloring so thank you for letting me share! Have a great day 🙂