Tuesday, May 10, 2016

{Spotlight Project} Maria Discovers "Faux" No-Line Watercoloring

I would love to no-line watercolor like the pros, but it's not happening. I shared a story on my blog about a card that totally inspired me to attempt no-line watercoloring which was an epic failure. And which caused me to give it another try with what I'm calling "faux no-line watercoloring". Great name, eh? But it was my salvation. Here's my card.

And the epic failure (can you say "bleeding"?) which I made into a card anyway ...

Gathered my supplies - Daler Rowney watercolors in tubes, embossing powder in white (didn't use the yellow, just like I didn't end up using the Distress Inks!), Versamark, Smile, and watercolor paper, a paintbrush, water and my loo roll for dabbing up excess water.

Here's where the "faux" comes to play. I heat embossed my images to watercolor, knowing I was going to iron the embossing off when finished, leaving a totally flat surface on my panel as well as a cool white outline around my images!!!

Masked the heat embossed lilies and stamped the wispy branches in Archival black.

 I planned my sentiment. Are you like me and you usually forget this step?!?!? I had originally planned to heat emboss the large "smile" in yellow, but wasn't sure it would fit correctly between those branches so at this point I decided to use a die cut "celebrate" with the fabulous secondary sentiment "it's your day" from Smile. I thought the die cut would make the card a bit more elegant too.

Started watercoloring, ever so thankful for the heat embossed outlines! They help you stay in the lines. They eliminate the need for painting the outline. They create some natural shading as the pigment pools in the valleys. Yippie! My first layer was a scarlet tone applied with the wet-on-wet technique.

Gave the four middle lilies another layer of scarlet and then I went back in with a layer of violet especially in the shaded areas. With watercolors, lighter layers and more of them seems to yield nicer results. In the second photo only the lilies on the left have the layer of violet.

 After all lilies got the violet layer, I watercolored the stems using two green tones.

 When the flowers were dry, I used a larger brush and Pumice Stone Distress Ink (pardon my palette and the leftover inks from the epic failure) to watercolor the background since this was what attracted me to the inspiration card in the first place! Applied water to areas around the lilies and then dropped in the greige color. In the second photo everything but the lower right corner has been "greiged", some areas a bit darker than others.

 When everything was totally dry, I ironed off the heat embossing! Jennifer M. has a great video for this technique. Added some splatters of a Perfect Pearls mixture, some sequins and my stacked die cut. Voila!

Ready to give "faux no-line watercoloring" a go? Remember if you try out any of the techniques from our Spotlight posts and hook your project up at our Spotlight Project Showcase  you have a chance to win a $15 gift certificate (random drawing) OR your choice of 5x7 stamp set + a Spotlight Project guest designer spot (randomly drawn from the Top 3 picks).



Products Maria used in today's project:


  1. I haven't tried this technique yet, but thanks for sharing your experiences! That calla lily stamp is just beautiful!

  2. This is a great tutorial - thanks for the instructions, and a wonderful card too!

  3. Love the results you achieved from this technique. Love how the background color wash, makes the flowers leap off the paper:)

  4. Bet you are so happy with this result...practice makes perfect and this is one fabulous card. Loving the technique thanks for sharing x

  5. Been there, done that... for crafters it's the result that counts and you got there, so it doesn't matter what method you used as long as it worked for you! In my opinion, your card (and colouring) is lovely!

  6. I appreciate seeing "epic fails" from designers. Your card concept and finished product is lovely. I've never tried ironing off the embossing.

  7. Just gorgeous! I love the 'un-coloured' combined with the pretty pink lillies


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