Thursday, 9 September 2021

No-line watercolouring: step-by-step tutorial


Hi Tea-timers, it’s Jayne from the DT with another step-by-step tutorial for you! This month we’ll be looking at no-line water colouring and I’ve even made a video for you, in case you’d like to see it in action!

You can watch the video here: 

For today’s card, I’ve used the Sundae Sweeties set, but you can use any image you like. If you’re new to no-line colouring, I’d recommend starting small – don’t try and take on a huge image or scene on your first go, or it might be a bit overwhelming! The Sundae Sweeties set is a great starting point as you can make a card with just one image and the areas are quite big to colour, so not too much fiddly detail for your first go.

Here’s what else you’ll need:

·         Watercolour paper (I use hot pressed, which has a smoother surface and I find is better for picking up the detail on your image)

·         Watercolour paintbrushes or a water brush

·         A pale coloured ink to stamp your image – I use Antique Linen Distress Ink but there are plenty of “no-line” inks available

·         Watercolour paint or water based markers (I’ve used Karin Brush marker Pro)

·         A slick surface to apply your colours to, or a paint palette

·         A clipboard or similar to tape your paper to (this helps to stop any warping from the moisture)

·         Masking tape / washi tape

·         A stamping tool (optional, but helpful)

·         Black ink for your sentiment (I use Versafine Onyx black)

·         Gems/embellishments (I used Beauty from Lucy’s cards – similar to these)

·         Foam tape

·         Card base (I used Soft Smoke from T4TD)

·         White gouache or acrylic paint, black paint

·         Acrylic block

·         Black fine liner pen


1.       Cut a piece of watercolour paper down to just smaller than A2 size. Stamp your chosen image onto the watercolour paper with Antique Linen distress ink.

2.       Tape your paper down to your board.

3.       Using a clean brush, apply a small amount of clean water to the area you are about to paint. I started with the cherry.

4.       Apply your colour in the areas where there would be most shadow on the image. For my card, I imagined the light source was above and to the right, so the shadows would be to the bottom-left.  

5.       Get some clean water on your brush and tease the colour you’ve applied outwards, towards the light source. This will dilute the colour so you have a nice transition from dark to light. Don’t worry if the colour transition seems quite subtle at this stage!

6.       Move on to your next area – make sure to move to a section that doesn’t touch the bit you’ve just coloured while it’s still wet, otherwise the colours will run into each other.

7.       Once an area has dried, add another layer of colour over the top if you’re not yet happy with the shading/colour. In my image, I went back to some areas several times until I got the depth of colour I wanted. You can use a heat gun to help speed up the drying process if you want.

8.       If using water based markers, you can also apply the colour direct to the page, then pull the colour outwards with clean water – I tend to do this with lighter shades where it is hard to get a decent saturation of colour otherwise.

9.       Once my image had dried, I added in the detail of the eyes and mouth with black fineliner.

10.   I like to “ground” my images, so they’re not just floating on the page. To do this, I added a light wash of cool grey at the base of the sundae glass. I then added a very light wash of pale blue around the rest of the image, to give the appearance of sky.

11.   Next, I added some texture and interest by flicking both black and white paint spatters lightly over the image. Grab an acrylic block, pop a blob of gouache or acrylic paint onto it, then water down a little. Using your paintbrush, lightly flick some of the paint off the edge of the acrylic block over the image. Bigger brushes will produce bigger spatters, as will holding your block closer to the page. Repeat with black (I used watercolour paint).

12.   Peel off your masking tape (away from the image, in case it tears the paper).

13.   Stamp your chosen sentiment, then add some gems or embellishments.

14.   Finally, adhere your image to a card base with foam tape (this also helps straighten out any warping from the moisture when painting).

If you’re interested, these are the colours of Karin markers I used:

·         Flake: Henna

·         Chocolate sauce: Sepia

·         Ice cream: Almond

·         Cherry: Red / Grass

·         Cat: Warm Grey / Cerise

·         Sundae glass: Arctic Blue

·         Ground: Cool Grey

·         Background: Arctic Blue


I hope you found this tutorial helpful! As always, please do share your creations with us, we love to see what you make!

And don’t forget that discount code T4TJAYNE10 will get you 10% off your entire order in store.

Have a fabulous, crafty day!

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