Simple Watercolor Backgrounds for Hand Lettering & Modern Calligraphy | Alisiah Hug | Skillshare

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Simple Watercolor Backgrounds for Hand Lettering & Modern Calligraphy

teacher avatar Alisiah Hug, Just a girl lettering her worth in Him

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (45m)
    • 1. Introduction & Materials

    • 2. Mono-Color Fade

    • 3. Mono-Color Layering

    • 4. Two Color Blend

    • 5. Using Tape

    • 6. Add-on Techniques

    • 7. Textures

    • 8. Own Your Mistakes :)

    • 9. Flattening

    • 10. Project

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About This Class

In this course, I will be showing you some basic ideas and techniques that you can use to create simple, yet eye-catching watercolor backgrounds. As a hand letterer, I am always looking for new ways that I can create backdrops for my pieces, especially ones that are easy.

I have made this class breaking down some easy, fun watercolor techniques including:

  • Mono-Color Fade
  • Mono-Color Layering
  • Two Color Blend
  • Using Tape (to create negative spaces for lettering)
  • Using Textures
  • Add on techniques (incorporating a straw, water spray bottle,
  • Owning your mistakes (and turning them into a new piece)
  • Flattening warped watercolor pieces

And I hope you can use and combine them to create some vibrant backgrounds for your hand lettering pieces!

For painting:

  • Watercolor paint (anything you happen to have-from a child's watercolor palette to higher end watercolors). I personally really enjoy working with Ecoline liquid watercolors, and that is what I primarily used in this class.
  • Watercolor paper
  • Paint brushes & water
  • Embossing heat gun/hot air gun (Optional, but useful for drying watercolor in between layers)
  • Straw
  • Water spray bottle
  • Washi/Painters Tape

For Flattening (you may notice that your watercolor paper becomes warped)

  • Page protector or other clean surface to put your paper down on
  • Damp washcloth
  • Random flat heavy objects you have around

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Alisiah Hug

Just a girl lettering her worth in Him


Well, hey there! My name is Alisiah (uh-lissie-uh) and I am lefty hand letterer. I went to school for teaching, but along the way I fell in love with hand lettering and I am here on Skillshare to combine the two. My heart is to share impactful messages through hand lettering. Modern calligraphy is more than pretty writing, it is a platform from which to impact others. In my work I want there to be a message, some meaning behind the piece. For it to be a conversation starter, a reminder of encouragement, a tool to lift others up and empower them. I also love dreaming, planning, and creating resources to serve Christian women that brings together my skills, experience, and passion.

After college, I really struggled to find my identity. I had put so much worth int... See full profile

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1. Introduction & Materials: Hello and welcome to simple watercolor backgrounds for hand lettering. My name is Alicia, and I am a hand lettering, an abstract artist, and I will be showing you a variety of backgrounds and techniques that you can use to create some fun background that you can use to spice up your hand lettering for this. 2. Mono-Color Fade: in this lesson, I will be showing you how to do a model color fade where the bottom is more saturated and darker than the top. All right, let's get started. So for this, but I'm just using a regular water color palette and I'm going to use a purple, purple pink. And when I do it, I like to put the water down first. So that way, the watercolor kind of spreads around a little bit easier. But that's just personal preference. Right now, I'm gonna take some color, gonna start at the bottom with a darker and try and get it lighter towards the top. Just keep adding more water and more water color. Right now, I kind of have a light fade from top to bottom. And you could leave it like that if you want just a light fade. But I I'm gonna show you what it could look like if you add a little bit more saturation to the bottom. So it could be a more stark contrast if you wish. Right now it looks a little streaky, but as it dries, that tends to go away a little bit. - And now I went to grab my hair dryer and use that to help dry quicker. If you don't have one, you could just let it air dry. I really enjoy using the heat. Trier helps kind of blend in a little bit. So it's not not too streaky, just really going over to try and get get it all, Dr. But sometimes those edges take a little longer. So I think I'm gonna grab a bag and try and dab that off a little bit. Dab off some of that action access. Then I'll grab the dryer again, trying. Get those finished up. All right. And here we have our model color fate. 3. Mono-Color Layering: in this piece, I'll show you how to create a layered landscape. Look with a single color, where it looks like there are different ridges and hills and it looks like it's coming closer and closer to you and get starker at the bottom. All right, let's get started. So for this lesson, I'm gonna use liquid watercolor. You can continue using the palate if that's what you have at home and again, I'm going to get the background. What? Because I like how the color spread out better. I want to take my brush and get a little bit of that liquid. Kind of. Just spread it out. - I'm going to get the top A little more water, so that's a little more diluted and a little lighter in color. At the top have some of the extra on the edges, so you may notice that your pieces work, but I will show you how to fix that. Later on, Rights, we're gonna grab the dryer again and dry this first layer, and I'm kind of blowing it down towards the bottom of the peace of the more saturated color stays towards bottom and a lighter at the time We'll probably have to data those hedges again right now. I'm gonna go. Like I said, tab off the edges. Now I'm going to start that second layer. I'm gonna grab a little bit more, and you can make whatever kind of shape you want in the layer. It doesn't have to like this. It could be more peak like a mountain or like a valley, whatever you want. So I'm gonna make sure I spread that color. I'll be low that line, grab the air dryer again and try and get it nice and dry red on that edge. I dried after each layer. Thought it creates that darker line. I'm gonna go to the next layer doing kind of peak, look again, spreading that color all the way to the bottom of my piece so that the bottom is getting darker and darker and darker. All right, we'll use the dryer again to drive right along that border where I created my layer. I'm kind of keeping the bottom a little wet still, because I'm gonna be adding more more blind to it so it doesn't. You don't necessarily have to dry the bottom. I kind of just drive along that edge of every layer and drying realignment, and there you can make as few are as many layers as you want. That's when I kind of do like a hilly like rolling hills a little bit. Get making sharp. Bring that color all the way to the bottom. Every layer gets a little more saturated because it's building on top of the previous layer . But I will dry that edge again so you could leave it like this. I think I may add one more layer nice and dark. Now I'm gonna take my dryer, miss home, going to dry the whole thing to stand off that extra if it's not, if it's not drying, all right, and here we have our layered single color piece. 4. Two Color Blend: in this lesson, I'm gonna show you how to create a blended background using two different colors. Let's get started. All right. So I have two different colors. I have a lighter one, and I also have a darker colors. You could choose to different colors, but I like the way they blend better with one lighter and one darker. So I'm gonna get my background wet again. I wanna make sure you switch out your water in between. I forgot to this time, but purple will be fine with that. I have right now that I have the background coated. I'm gonna start with my letter color. I would have do a light layer of it across the whole piece, the top and the bottom. I like to have the lighter color on the whole piece because I like the way it kind of connects with a darker color when it's underneath. You could just keep it on the top half and have the other color on the bottom of that team . So now I'm going to grab my darker color. I'm going to add a layer of it on the bottom. E grabbed a little bit more water than I could blend the edge right there. Now when you see air dryer again to to help lend them and just drive a piece of it. So I didn't completely dry it. I just wanted to help. Kind of blend the colors, get a little bit drier, a little bit more of the darker color way back to the top and add some more of my lighter color. Take a little more factory rated. I'm gonna tip it to kind of let the letter color bleed down into the bottom. No, I will dry again. - All right. So you could leave the peace just like this. This is one way to do it. I'm going to add on a little bit, like in the last lesson how we created these layers kind of mountains. I'm also gonna do that with this piece a little bit, so this you could leave like this. This is one option. Add a little bit of the darker color. Sometimes it's fun to kind of Children around and let the colors kind of create that kind of water falling texture. So I drive it a little bit, then gonna add a little bit more because I don't love the way this looks yet e grand more. My lighter color could help blend them better read up on the edge. I felt it again, using my dryer, Gonna dry at the edges And right along that ridge there will be a kind of darker line, creating some contrast with top with again Sometimes if there's a little too much water may not all dry and may need to grab a rag. I'm just gonna dab off the extra with my rag and here's my two color blended background. 5. Using Tape: in this lesson, I will show you how to create a piece using some tape to create that negative space where you could let her on and then having a colorful, blended background and including some spatters too. All right, let's get started. So I'm using three different colors. You could use as fewer as many cars if you'd like. So I'm gonna grab some of my washing tape. Now, I want to do three rows of tape. You could use the tape it any way you want. You could do one thick stripe across the middle. You could do, um, little pieces in different areas. You can decide how you would like your tape pieces to be. So I'm just like I said, I'm going to use three rows way. Now, let's get started. I'm gonna start beginning my background. What again? And I'm using loose. I'm not too concerned about my water not being totally clean. So I'm going to start with some red, and I like to get the background. What cause it makes the colors kind of just almost flow on their own a little bit. And I like the appearance of that. I just got a little bit of red all around. Add some yellow, getting them to blend a little bit. - Grab my last color and fill in the rest of the gaps. - Right now, I'm going to grab my heat dryer. Dry the colors. If you don't have one, you can just your dry and dab off some of the access, trying to make sure it's nice and dry along the teeth edges again, making sure the edges of the taper nice and dry. Right now, I could leave it like this, but I'm gonna add another technique. Just some, like paints, batters dipping in the blue. And I'm just kind of hitting the brush, and it creates kind of a splattered look. You could add spotters to any of the techniques have already showed you kind of, um, I'm gonna try it again and to have off any of the extra again. If you want. You could let a dry a little longer, and then once you feel it's dry enough, you can start peeling off the tape, all right, and now we have our background with the negative tape spaces, and you could turn it any direction. You wanna have it. You know you could butter on it 6. Add-on Techniques: in this lesson, I'm gonna show you how to create a color blended piece using some add on techniques, including a straw, uh, brush for splattering and a spray bottle spray bottle with water. All right, let's get started. So I'm using three colors in this one. You can use, however many of hunger if you'd like when you're doing color blending. No, it's important to make sure that your colors they blend well, cause some colors when they blend the can Idriss turn too brown or not a pretty color. Let's make sure you like the way that your colors blend. And I know that I like the teal green and yellow together. So I'm gonna start with my teal just kind of let it spread around using the spray bottle. He's a little bit of spattering, so you can really, like, play around and see what techniques you like, what kind of textures you find interesting. So now I'm gonna add some green at a few splatters of green. I added a little bit more of the water with a spray bottle. Nobody use a straw to kind of help blend it. Now I'm using blowing through the straw and also kind of tilting the paper. I'm gonna grab some yellow. He's a strong and to kind of blow and blend the colors. He's just a little bit more from the spray bottle so that it adds just a little bit more water to help them blend. I'm just gonna go back and kind of filling these edges. You could leave a white edge if you want, or you can go all the color to the edge using the show again to kind of blow it and blend it. I'm using my paintbrush. I kind of do some splatters, blending a minute with a straw, having a little bit more water again. Nobody is the heat dryer to drive this layer quick. Now, you could leave it just like this. If you're satisfied with how this looks, I'm gonna show you a few more techniques. So once it's dry, then you can spray the water bottle again and one you spray the water on the dry piece. It kind of lightness and create sees cool kind of splotches. I'm gonna try it again to kind of keep the spot. Is there right now. I'm gonna go back with my brush. And when you use the green and do some more kind of flattering this time, now that the backgrounds dry, they'll stay more like the little dots and sort of blending in with the other colors. All right, so I'm gonna dry it again. I would use the bag today about the extra you could just let it air dry if you wanted up to you, right and no. Now we have our finish blended kind of splattered piece. Help. You can enjoy these techniques and kind of blend him into your other other pieces as well. 7. Textures: this loss and I will show you how to create a textured piece. And I'm using leaves and different natural items. You could play around with different elements, So I just gathered a bunch of different kinds of leaves and some flowers that you could play around with other objects that you think would make a cool texture. So basically, I'm just gonna dip my leave into the watercolor that I've put it, put it into, like, a tray so I could actually dip it. Better way. We won't look exactly like your item, but I think it kind of creates a fun texture in the background. I think I'm actually gonna had some tape, like one of our earlier techniques just right across the bottom, creating a nice little negative space that I could let her on. Later. I'm just gonna get the leaves and the color again. I'm just gonna keep repeating laying these pieces down. You could play around with holding your leaf down longer and seeing if that changes how the texture looks. Where is putting it down quicker? Leaving it longer. Seeing how that changes the appearance way, you know, I'm gonna dry it quick data from the extra. Sure, it's nice and dry around the tip line. When you feel it's dry enough, you can take well. If you use tape, you can take the tape off. Now I have a fun piece that I could let her on. 8. Own Your Mistakes :): Sometimes when you are creating a piece, it doesn't always go as planned. Had a different idea in mind for this particular piece. So instead of getting rid of this video, decided to show you so right there, I spilled all that red looks a little bit like blood, but it's just water color. Um, and I wasn't sure whether I should just kind of scrap it, but I kind of just started playing with it, Kind of owning that mistake and seeing what I could turn it into. Yeah, Your peace doesn't go exactly how you planned. Maybe try just messing around with it and seeing what you could make if it's are. If you feel like you already messed it up, you have nothing to lose. So I decided to kind of bring in the water spray texture dry a little bit. So I sprayed it with a water bottle like it did in the other technique. I'm gonna drive that again. And as it's drying, it kind of looks like a fun, fiery lava sort of peace. So sometimes you just have to embrace the mistakes and see what you can turn it into 9. Flattening: So you may have noticed that while you're painting your pieces kind of warped and are kind of not flat anymore, So I'm gonna show you how you can flatten it, so I'm going to use, like, a binder sleeve page protector binder slowly. So I'm gonna put it face down on that to protect the front of it. Now I have a damp little cloth rag. It's not super wet, Just a little bit damp. I'm gonna rub in one direction across the back of my paper. You can see a little bit of witness that shiny nous It's gonna go all the way across the back to make sure it's nice and will coated, but not overly wept. I'm gonna place it there. Don't always start laying flat things on top of it. I'm gonna put just some heavy things. So I put a clipboard down to keep it flat that I'm gonna ab just a book. You know, my dad like a box or something as well just to make sure that it's something heavy enough. So as you can see, I just have a few layers on top of it. You know, I'm gonna let sit for a few hours or overnight. Whatever it works for you. I don't want to take off all of the heavy things Now, as you can see, they are much flatter now. So hopefully this helps In case you are paper ended up warping. And if it doesn't totally flattened, you might just need toe. Keep it under the heavy things for a longer amount of time, so hopefully that helps. 10. Project: Thank you so much for joining me and simple watercolor backgrounds for hand lettering. I hope you found some inspiration some different techniques that you could just play around with and hopefully creates a really fun background. And now for the project, simply create a background using anyone or combination of the techniques that I have shown you in this course. You could just create the background. Or you could also add some hand lettering and share that with us as well. Thank you so much for joining me. And I hope to see you in the next class. Bye.