Brush Lettering Blending Basics - Blending with Watercolor | Kolbie Blume | Skillshare

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Brush Lettering Blending Basics - Blending with Watercolor

teacher avatar Kolbie Blume, Artist

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

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      What paint should I use?


    • 4.

      What paper should I use?


    • 5.

      Water brush vs paint brush


    • 6.

      Water control


    • 7.

      Blends + bleeds


    • 8.

      Monochromatic blends


    • 9.

      Multicolored blends


    • 10.

      Advanced multicolored blends


    • 11.

      Drop shadows


    • 12.

      Frequently asked questions


    • 13.

      Watch me paint in real time!


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About This Class

Love colorful watercolor calligraphy? Not sure where to start with blending colors? This is the class for you! In each of these videos, I go over all the resources and techniques I personally use in my watercolor blending. I also include a video on FAQs and a real-time example of one of my original designs from start to finish. 

This class is an intro course, exploring the basics and foundational knowledge I’ve found invaluable for watercolor calligraphy blending. Each class builds on the other and prepares you to paint your own beautifully blended watercolor calligraphy piece fit for any home! 

I recommend you have at least a bit of experience with the basics of modern calligraphy, as I don't include classes on basic strokes or techniques of using a paint brush vs a brush pen. But other than that, this course is designed for any level of expertise! 

For more resources on modern calligraphy, check out my practice sheets on Etsy

Meet Your Teacher

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Kolbie Blume


Top Teacher



If you're pretty sure you're terrible at art...'re in the right place, my friend. 



Hi there! My name is Kolbie, and I'm a full-time artist, writer, and online educator -- but up until a few years ago, I was working a 9-5 desk job and thought my artistic ability maxed out at poorly-drawn stick figures. 

In my early 20s, I stumbled on mesmerizing Instagram videos with luminous watercolor paintings and flourishing calligraphy pieces, and ... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Welcome!: Hi there, my name is Kolbie and I'm here to tell you everything that I know about blending colors together in watercolor calligraphy. I would have to say that blending in watercolor for brush lettering is probably one of my very favorite things. Some might even call it my signature style when it comes to watercolor calligraphy. I'm on Instagram, this writing desk. You may have found this class through my Instagram or you may have stumbled upon it just searching through Skillshare. Either way, I want to teach you how to create beautiful pieces like this one, or this one, or this one. I love taking colors and blending them in different ways to get stunning results. That is what I want to teach you in this class right now. This class is all about the basics of watercolor blending. I will say you probably should have at least a little bit of experience with brush lettering or watercolor calligraphy before you start this class. Mostly because I don't go over basic strokes or the difference between a paintbrush and a brush pen or anything like that in this class, that is all in different classes that I'm going to teach. I'm only focused on the different techniques that are best for blending watercolors together in brush lettering. This is a basics class. Here, I do a thorough deep dive of all of the foundational knowledge that I think is so helpful to create beautiful blended pieces every time. When I first started lettering about two years ago, and watercolor lettering about a year-and-a-half ago maybe, I had no idea what I was doing at all. I just fumbled my way through and figured it out and watched other people try different techniques and try the techniques they were trying. Through a lot of trial and error, I have come to a place where I feel really comfortable and always ready to learn more. But I feel I have developed a signature style. I really want to teach you all of my secrets so that maybe you don't have to go through all of the growing pains that I went through. You can have some of the techniques that I wish that I knew about when I first started. Now, there's no substitute for hard work. That's something that I like to say a lot. If you want to get better, it's going to take a lot of practice. There is no secret recipe or method to get better. The secret is practice. I've spent hundreds and hundreds of hours over the last two years practicing this craft, and I intend to spend thousands and thousands more in the future. That's what I have for you. In this class, like I said, I go through all of the steps and processes that I think are basic and fundamental to the art of blending. Then in a future class I'm going to do maybe a little deeper dive into more advanced techniques, but this class is all about the basics. I hope you enjoy. Right now, I want you to think about your class project, which is going to be just a simple blended piece. I want you to pick any quote you want. Probably for this class, it would be easier if you picked a little bit of a shorter quote, but that's not necessary. But I want you to pick one quote that you want to design for your final piece. Then, at the end of the class, once we have gone through all of the techniques and you follow all of the prompts, you're going to have a beautifully blended brush lettering calligraphy piece. I would love for you to post it in the project gallery. I would also love to see your progress. Be sure to tag me, thiswritingdesk, if you post on Instagram and let me know if you have any questions. Without further ado, let's get started. 2. Materials: Hi there. In this video, I'm going to go over all of the materials that you will need to be successful in this watercolor calligraphy blending course basics. Over the years I've done this, slowly gathered insight into the specific materials that I like and it's not all intuitive. It took some trial and error, so I'm going to share all that knowledge with you right now. I hope that it's helpful as you're gathering your materials and getting ready to get started on your project. First and most important, in my opinion, is deciding what paintbrush you want to use. I'm also going to bring in a water brush because I know a lot of people like those. I have a video that talks about the differences between a water brush and a paintbrush in this course and my pros and cons with both of them. For the purposes of this video, I'm going to put down my water brush because I really prefer to use real paintbrushes. My go-to paintbrush is around Number 2 watercolor paintbrush. That's Size 2 in around that's the paintbrush it is. Round just means how the bristles on the brush are formed. My very favorite round Number 2 paintbrush is this Princeton Heritage Series. It has this red stem, I don't know if that's what you'd call it and it's synthetic sable hair, which means that this is not real hair taken from an animal. It's synthetic. I actually prefer for lettering synthetic sable hair to real sable hair paintbrushes. For those of you who have looked into professional art supplies sometimes sable hair are way more expensive and higher quality, but for lettering, I actually prefer synthetic because I think it holds its shape better and holds the right amount of water that you want for lettering, not too much, not too little. Round Number 2 Princeton Heritage is my favorite, but I have other favorites too. I really love this round Number 2 Utrecht Series 228 paintbrush. It has a black stem. I picked it up at a Blick art supply store. I live just around the corner from it, which is awesome. It's also synthetic sable hair and for me, it has done the best job at mimicking the Princeton Heritage Series. They are very similar in my opinion. I love using this one as well. Then just one more. This is a Winsor & Newton Cotman, which means it's in their student grade line, Cotman is Winsor and Newton student grade line, but I really love this one for lettering for all the reasons that I love the other ones. I think that the bristles hold their shape really well and it holds the right amount of water. I think this is really conducive to good brush lettering. Those are paintbrushes and you can pick up any of these at art supply stores or if you look on Blick online, if you don't have a Blick by you that's where I would recommend. Next most important is paper. I do a deeper dive into paper later on in this course. If you're interested in learning all of the reasons why I choose this paper, then check it out. But for the purposes of this video I'm going to say for lettering I prefer student grade watercolor paper cold press. That might surprise you that I'm saying I prefer student grade watercolor paper. I use professional grade watercolor paper all the time, but honestly, for lettering I think student grade has the right texture and is smooth enough, but also thick enough that it works for watercolor. Professional grade watercolor paper it's usually made of 100 percent cotton, which makes it a lot more textured and the brush catches on the paper a lot more often than it does on student grade watercolor paper, which is usually a mix of some cotton or wood pulp. Professional watercolor paper is great for landscapes and great for most other watercolor painting, but for blending and for lettering in general student grade, I think, is the way to go. I use Canson most often. I have both 90 pound, which I picked up off Amazon and 140 pound. Again, I go over those in my paper video more. But student grade Canson is what I use for most of my lettering. Next is probably the third most important thing, paint. I also have a video specifically focusing on paint and the different kinds of paint you can use. For a deeper dive into paint, go and watch that video, but for now, just know my favorite to use for watercolor blending is liquid watercolor and specifically this Royal Talens Ecoline watercolor line. These are dye based and they blend like a dream when you use them the right way. Those are my go-to. I use lots of different kinds though, so I'm not just a one paint person, but those Ecolines are definitely my go-to. Next step is tools for embellishments, like drop shadows, which is something that I have a video on drop shadows if you're interested in watching that. Most important is this pen right here. It's the Tombow Fudenosuke dual tip pen. It's a soft, small brush tip on both sides. One is gray and one is black and I use this pen for almost every watercolor blending piece that I do. Mostly the gray, sometimes the black, but they both work and it's probably my favorite brush pen. I also use fine liners or micron pens. I've been obsessed with this Pilot Fineliner lately. This is for more detailed work to get a really thin line, not a brush pen. Then last but not least, if you don't have a dual tip Tombow Fudenosuke, this is a soft tip Tombow Fudenosuke that's black and perfect for drop shadows as well or outlining or anything like that. Those are the main tools. Obviously, you're going to need a paper towel to wipe off your paintbrush and then I would recommend having two cups of clean water. One of those cups of water is going to stay clean and one of them can be your dirty cup, but I would always recommend having two cups of water so that you can always have clean water on hand. It's so important for blending to make sure you have clean water. It looks like that's about it for materials. Your prompt for your class project now is to gather all your materials and decide what quote you want to use, you want to letter. As you go through all the videos, I'm going to hone in on your preference for specific techniques and materials that you want to use. Then at the end hopefully, I know you're going to have a beautiful watercolor calligraphy piece to show all of your family and friends. Don't forget, once you've finished to post it in the project gallery and or on Instagram and tag me this writing desk. I hope this is informative. Watch all the videos, do all of the blending. I'm so excited to see what happens and what you come up with. Let's get started. 3. What paint should I use?: In case you haven't guessed it by my initial layout here, this video is going to focus all about the different kinds of paint that you can use in your watercolor blending for modern calligraphy. When I first started, I was so overwhelmed with the different options that I had with paint because it just seemed like there were many choices and I had no idea where to start. I think I just picked up some of the cheapest tubed watercolor, and which these are not them, but I just picked up some of the cheapest tubed watercolor I could find and I got going. But I have since learned that amongst all of the different kinds of paint, the most important factor when it comes to specifically watercolor calligraphy and blending is that the paint is in liquid form. Obviously to me, the easiest way to get the paint in this liquid form is to buy liquid watercolor. When I do watercolor lettering, liquid watercolor is definitely my go to. But there are different ways to get to this liquid form, even if you don't have liquid watercolor and we're going to talk about that a little bit later. But for right now, I'm just going to push these different kinds of watercolor to the side for right now. Before we get to that, there are two different types of liquid watercolor that you need to be aware of for watercolor lettering. That is, there is dye-based liquid watercolor, which means that the color is chemically infused into the liquid. When it dries, the color doesn't really lose any vibrant, it needs water to activate it but the liquid is what the color is. If that makes sense, I'm sure there are a lot more technical terms, but that's what dye-based means. Pigment-based watercolor is when the watercolor comes from a pigment, which is more traditional kinds of paint. That's what you see in pattern-based watercolor. That's what you see in tube-based watercolor. That's what most watercolor artists paint with partly because dye-based watercolor is not light fast, which means that when it is in contact with the light, so if you create some piece and it sits in sunlight for a long time, then the colors will eventually fade. Not like into oblivion, but they'll start to fade and not be as vibrant. But pigment-based typically, if you buy professional watercolor that is pigment-based, like Winsor and Newton, or like Dr. Ph. Martin's, it is light fast and archival, so it can stay for a long time. Also, the difference between dye and pigment-based is dye-based is not archival. It can sting your skin, which is annoying, but when it comes to being on paper, when you spill water on it, it's going to start to bleed everywhere. But pigment-based, it's more likely to stay and to keep its shape no matter how many layers of water you put on top of it, and that all depends on the different kinds of paint that you use. But that's just a basic rundown of the difference. Now, it seems I've given this list of pros and cons, and you'd think that based on that, you might always want to use pigment-based, but that's not always true. Specifically if you want to get really sharp blends and bleeds, and we talked a lot about blends and bleeds in a different video, but with all of the pros of pigment-based, dye-based is by far superior in terms of getting the most immediately vibrant color and having them bleed together and just push colors out of the way, and I'll show you that in a little bit. Just to give you an example of the different kinds of paint you can use of liquid watercolor you can use that are both of these kinds, I think by far, one of the most common paints you'll see is Ecoline by Royal Talens and this is dye-based liquid watercolors. Again, dye- based means that the color is infused in the actual liquid. Ecoline is dye-based and honestly I would have to say Ecoline is probably my favorite of all of the paints that I use to color with. Oh, my gosh, I didn't close that all the way. Well, there you go, folks. That's real life for you. But I use Ecoline probably the most often of all of the paints that I use for this specific lettering and blending. But there are other different kinds of liquid watercolor and I think the best one that I've found that's pigment-based is Dr. Ph. Martin's Hydrus. Dr. Ph. Martin's puts out a lot of different kinds of liquid ink and watercolor, and the Hydrus line is the one that is pigment-based. Just to show you an example, don't mind my spots there. I did this line, dye-based, with Ecoline, and I did this line, pigment-based, with this Dr. Ph. Martin's Hydrus, just to give you an example. Both of them look really good. I diluted the pigment-based a little bit when I put it into the well over here because it had a lot of pigment in it. Unless you want really thick paint strokes, typically with pigmented watercolor, you need to dilute it a little bit to make it the right consistency for lettering, even if it's already in liquid form. But with dye-based, you don't really ever have to do that in my experience, unless you want a lighter shade. Let's get down to actually using both of these options. As I mentioned before in the paper video, I'm using Canson watercolor paper and the thickness is 90 pounds. It's a little thicker than card stock, we've already gone over this. I just want to give you a little example of what these different paints are going to look like when you blend with them. Or rather, I think this is where in your project it would be good for you to experiment and determine the kind of paint that you want to use. Here I'm going to use some Ecoline, and just do abroad little swatch there. This is red pastel, or pastel red, and then I'm going to get another color, I believe this is red violet, and just barely touch it. See how that pastel red just jumps right in to the red violet, and now let's see what happens. That wasn't red violet, that was light rose. This is red violet. This is me blending with dye-based Ecoline. Now I'm going to do a little bit of blending with Dr. Ph. Martin's. I'm going to start out, and this is again, the Hydrus line which is pigment-based, which I've diluted a little bit with water. I've put maybe one or two drops in this well, and then I've put maybe three or four drops of water and along with it. I believe this color is gamboge, and I'm just going to mix it with a deep red rose which I've diluted the same and see pigment-based watercolor doesn't quite jump into the other colors as well as dye-based. To get them to blend, you have to do a little bit more manual work. But it still works, it's just not quite as easy of a blend as dye-based. Let's just show that one more time. I've put this like a yellow ocher, I'm going to color it, down on the paper, and I'm going to do the same thing. Instead of the color like up here, it just immediately pushing a color out of the way like dye-based does because the pigment is so strong. They more blend like water blends together, which is not bad. You just have to do a little bit more work on your part to make it look maybe the way that you want it to. That's a little demonstration of dye-based versus pigment-based and really quickly, I want to talk about all the other different kinds of watercolor that don't automatically come in liquid. I'm sure there are even more than I'm bringing up here, but the two most common, I think, are tubed watercolor and pan watercolor. I think both of these work really well. They work just as well for watercolor lettering, it really just depends on your preference. But the key again is you have to make them in liquid form, and not just liquid like making a little puddle in the pan, but making them liquid enough to really seamlessly write the letters that you want to write, and I think we're going to talk a little bit more about that. I talked a little bit more about that when we go over water. The key here here to make them liquid and with that, you really just need a well. I'm just going to demonstrate here with a pan really quickly. I'm going to take a little bit of color here and put it inside this well. For the record, this pan watercolor is Prima marketing watercolor confections. I have a lot of different kinds of theirs and I've just all mixed them together. But see, when I take some of that pigment in the pan, because pan watercolor is typically pigment-based, and then I add some water to it, it will be the right consistency that I need. It won't be quite as vibrant as when it's completely pigmented, but when it's completely pigmented with no water dilution, it's also really thick and not quite pasty, but it's not easy to write letters with. You really have to get it this liquid consistency in order to do your calligraphy. That's how you blend with a different paints and I hope this was really informative. Again, I think my favorite paint to do watercolor calligraphy and especially blending is liquid watercolor particularly this Ecoline watercolor. But there are so many different options and I know that you just have to figure out what works best for you. The most important thing again for the third time is to get it this liquid form. It has to be liquid enough to be able to easily form your letters. Next on your project is to test out some different kinds if you have them, or just test the watercolor that you do have to get it to the right consistency so that it can blend easily like this. Thanks a lot. 4. What paper should I use?: Hello, everyone. Today, this demonstration is going to focus all about paper, and the different kinds of paper that are going to be conducive to the best watercolor lettering and blending you can do. As you can see, I have several samples of different kinds of paper that I use frequently. I'm going to talk to you about what are my favorite kinds and what I would recommend specifically for watercolor lettering blending because that's what this class is all about. I will say, this is more going to be a brief overview of what I know about watercolor paper, and hopefully, we'll have more of a demonstration in anything. But in a future class, or in a class that's not my watercolor blending basics class, I go much more in-depth into the different kinds of paper and why they matter, so be on the lookout for that if you're interested. But for now, I just want to focus really on two different things to do with watercolor paper. The first is, there are two different kinds of watercolor paper that I use specifically for lettering, there are actually three different kinds, in general, but I don't really talk about the third one in this class. The two that you need to focus on are hot press watercolor paper and cold press watercolor paper. Just to give you an example, this is hot press, it's really smooth because it's been compressed with heat so that the materials in the watercolor paper are packed really tightly, so the paper is really smooth. Cold press, the materials are not packed quite as tightly and it has a little bit more texture as you can see, or tooth is what we call that on the paper. You can imagine that it has little teeth poking out trying to, [LAUGHTER] I don't know, catch your brush. I use both hot press and cold press for watercolor lettering. I will say that hot press is not really good for any other kinds of watercolor projects. I've tried to do landscapes with it and it doesn't have quite the absorbent quality that cold press does. But when it comes to lettering because you're not necessarily putting down a big wash of watercolor, hot press can be really useful. Like I said, I use both hot press and cold press. I also use mixed-media paper, so it's possible to use that, but I will say that mixed-media paper buckles more easily than watercolor paper does. Even thin watercolor paper like this, Canson XL 90 pound watercolor paper. I do use this, but probably only more for practice than anything else. I've also been asked if Bristol watercolor paper is the same as hot press. This is not watercolor paper, Bristol paper is traditionally used for drawing, cartooning. To me, they have been pretty similar, but I know that the makeup of hot press watercolor paper is different slightly than Bristol paper, so hot press is probably preferable but Bristol also works. That's up to you. You also might have noticed these numbers on here. What these numbers mean, it's the thickness of the paper. I feel like that's pretty self-explanatory, but 140 pounds just means that when there's a big block of this paper, meaning 500 sheets of a block all glued together, it would weigh 140 pounds. One hundred and forty-pound watercolor paper is pretty typical from what you'd see on Amazon or art stores. Probably the weights vary, but 140 pounds is probably the most common that I've seen next to 90 pounds. The highest you can go, that I've ever seen is 300 pounds, but that's really expensive. The upside of 140-pound watercolor paper is it's cheaper, [LAUGHTER] but it does tend to buckle a little bit more than 300-pound watercolor paper. That covers the basics that I want to talk about mostly, but there's one more thing that I've gotten, and we're going to go into demonstrations in just a second, but I've been asked, if you need to get "Professional watercolor paper" like artist-grade watercolor paper in order to do watercolor lettering. The answer is no. You see Canson XL and this piece of Strathmore paper are both technically student-grade watercolor paper, which means that they are not 100 percent linen and they're not 100 percent cotton. Also makes them a lot cheaper than paper that is 100 percent fabric. This piece of Arches watercolor paper is professional grade. While I do love it for my landscapes, for my lettering, I don't like it quite so much because my brush catches and I'm going to demonstrate that a little bit more. But for now, the answer is student grade, in my opinion, is the best for lettering specifically. Really quickly, we're going to do a little demonstration. I mostly want to show you the difference between [NOISE] hot press and cold press, and then I'm going to show you what I mean about Arches. Here I have a Canson XL, a 140-pound watercolor paper. This comes from, I'm sure if you've looked into it at all, a pad like this, they sell them on Amazon, at art stores, it's very common, it's pretty cheap watercolor paper, which I like because I actually really like using this for my lettering. This is Fabriano Studio, which means student. The Fabriano student line is student-grade hot press watercolor paper. I've used this for lettering also, but I just want to show you the difference between how the paint comes down on it. With Canson, I'm just going to do a quick a. If you've never used watercolor paper before, the benefit is that it's way more absorbent and it's made so that the watercolor can stay on top of the paper a little bit longer, it stays wet a little bit longer than on normal paper, which makes it perfect for blending, see? I'm already doing some blending here. This is Canson 140-pound student-grade watercolor paper. Now, I'm going to do the same thing on this hot press watercolor paper, which is still watercolor paper, but it's not quite as thick and because it's compressed, it's not quite as dense or absorbent. If you watch, it still stays pretty wet because, again, it's watercolor paper, but it's not absorbing quite as vibrantly into the paper as it does on cold press. It dries a little bit more quickly in some places depending on how much water and paint you put on it. I don't know if you can see this, but you can see the line here, I have to rub that out a bit. You can see the line from where my stroke was before because it just dries a lot more quickly. Honestly, I think sometimes dry marks are cool in watercolor lettering, so that's totally up to you, but this is just a demonstration of what the difference is between hot press and cold press. They both work, I've used both of them, and I've been very happy with the results of both of them. I probably go to cold press a little bit more than hot press, but they both will work. Lastly, I want to show you the difference between this student-grade watercolor paper and my professional-grade watercolor paper Arches when it comes to lettering. I'm going to just do the same thing to show you. Here's an a. Now, it's pretty smooth. My paintbrush went down pretty smoothly. Now, here, you might not be able to catch it on camera, but let's see what happens. See, my paintbrush is catching a lot. See here here where it's not quite even and up here where it's not quite even, that's where my paintbrush, the bristles caught in different spots. Let me just put this up a little bit more. It's not quite as easy to get that smooth line on the letters. Let's see if I can focus in. Do you see how it's bumpy? I was using the same pressure and the same technique on this paper that I was on this paper, but it's just a lot more bumpy because it's more textured. That's awesome when it comes to landscape watercolors which I love to do also. But when you're trying to form letters, it's much better to have paper that is smooth. But you don't want it too smooth because you don't want it to buckle. In my, whatever professional opinion, student-grade watercolor is the way to go for lettering specifically, I'm not going to say that for every watercolor because that would be dumb. But for a watercolor lettering, I have found that it's a lot easier to form the letters. That's it for now. My prompt for you, for your project, is to test out the different watercolor paper you have, or if you don't have watercolor paper, I would suggest you buy some. You can honestly get pads like Canson on Amazon for sometimes $6 or $7 for 30 sheets. There are cheap options out there. You don't have to go for Arches, which is a lot more expensive, and like I said, not really conducive to lettering anyway. There you go. That's my brief overview on watercolor paper, specifically for blending, and hope you enjoyed it. 5. Water brush vs paint brush: Hello everyone. This video is just a quick, deeper dive into the difference between a water brush and a paintbrush. Here I have a Pentel Aquash water brush in fine. This is the smallest that I can get in Pentel Aquash and this is a Winsor Newton Cotman Round number 3, watercolor paintbrush. Both of these are excellent choices. In my materials video, I go over all the different kinds of paint brushes I use, and I think this is a good one. I use lots of different kinds. As far as water brushes go, I mostly only use Pentel Aquash. I have used other ones. You may ask yourself, honestly, what's the big difference between a paintbrush and a water brush? I mean, physically, obviously, a water brush has this, I don't know what you would call it, cartridge container. I'm sure there's a name for it that drips onto the actual paintbrush itself. So that's the brush with the bristles. It's a real brush. This is filled with water to reduce the times you need to go back to your water cup here. Water brushes are also excellent for traveling. If you are just dying to watercolor on a plane or on a train or on a mountain or somewhere else that is not conducive to bringing a cup of water, a water brush is a really good choice because, again, you just have to squeeze down here. I'm going to pull my hand down because I don't know if you can see where it has drift onto the thing, but the water just drifts right onto the brush. If you squeeze too hard, so look, if you squeeze too hard, it'll drip onto your hand like it's doing right now. You don't want to get too much in there. Your brush is ready to go. One thing to note about the water brushes is because it already has water into the brush, when you try lettering with it, I've already dipped my lettering, my water brush into the pot, you can control how much water you want to put onto the letter. When I first put this letter down, I'll try it again, it was a little bit dry and not diluted. See how I have this little white thing here. But no worries because I just squeeze a little bit, put a little bit more water on there and I get it to be more of the consistency that I may want for my brush. I'm not really sure what this letter turned out to be, [LAUGHTER] a mix between an L and an E. That's how I would do it with a water brush. One, I will say I know a lot of letters who love to use water brushes, and I think they come in handy for a lot of different things, but honestly, I really prefer to use paint brushes. Here's why. The water brush, when I first showed you, first of all, the paint wasn't the right consistency on the first go, I had to go and redo it, and that might just be truth time here my technique with a water brush. I think if I push down on the water like I'm doing right now, when I first put it down, it probably would've been the right consistency. But I've also found that when I push down before I dip it in the well, it dilutes the paint a little bit. It's just up to you what you want to do. But I will say, water brushes can be really convenient for lettering, especially if you need to put water really quickly in a spot to make sure that your blend happens the way that you want it to. In order to get rid of the pigment, you just take your paper towel, which mine is completely full of gross things, and push the water down at the same time as you just wipe it off here and it should be good to go. One other thing to note about water brushes is, if you dip them in the well too long, particularly with dye-based paint, sometimes the paint will go and dilute the water. That's really just something to be aware of. All these things have their pros and cons. I use a paintbrush way more often than I use a water brush. That's why for all of my videos, I'm using a paintbrush, so I'm just really going to quickly show you what I mean. I've just found with a paintbrush, I'm able to get it the right consistency in the way that I want it every time. But that, honestly, I think is a personal preference, it's totally a personal thing. A lot of my friends who regularly do blending like this much prefer a water brush. There's just a quick rundown. I hope this was helpful. Feel free to ask any other questions you have. I think that in terms of your project, the most important thing is to decide, do you like water brush better or do you like a paintbrush better? I think they're both super handy to have, so I would definitely try both and have both in your reserve of art supplies because they both come in handy. I am glad that I have both in my supply. There you go. Let's see which one you choose for your project and your lettering. Can't wait. 6. Water control: Okay, friends. This is just a quick video to talk about something that I have had a lot of problems with and have figured out some solutions and I get a lot of questions about it. I think that how much water you use and have on your paintbrush, and honestly how much paint and watercolor you have on your paintbrush matters so much for lettering. I'm going to show you why. You can't have too little because if you don't have enough paint/water, then you don't have enough paint and moisture in order for a conducive blending. If you see, I did that. I didn't have quite enough water on that first stroke and it dried almost instantly. When I try to blend again over here, it doesn't blend. You see. I have to go in and make it blend and make it so I can't see that stark line. Even then, it just looks like I have a pink l and orange e, and that's no good. We definitely know that not having enough water might be one of the problems you're having if you can't get your blending to do exactly what you want it to do. Now another problem is having too much water or too much paint. I'm going to do an e right here and see honestly having that much paint. That's a really fatty e. I'm going to do an e with so much paint and so much water right there. When I try with ego lines,[LAUGHTER] they just do what they want to anyway. But you see how I put down the orange for the next stroke. Instead of blending or bleeding seamlessly, I get this puddle right here. Because the liquid is sitting on top of the paper not going anywhere. I have to get some of that off before I can actually make it do what I want it to do. Now that I've taken off some of it, I can blend it more easily, and there now that looks like a more beautiful and not muddied word, I know it's not a word. The dangers of having too much water or too much paint is that it's going to pool and it's not going to blend it's just going to sit there in a blob and when it dries, it doesn't always look like you want it to look. Really, what you're looking for is enough water and enough paint so that you can see that the letter is wet all the way through, that there's moisture all the way through. Because unless there's moisture throughout the whole letter, it's not going to blend the right way. I talked a little bit more about this in some of my other blending videos in this class, but you need to make sure that there's moisture all the way through and especially at this very end. Honestly, the way that I do that is I dip it in the well, and then I scrape it on the side. You don't see many puddles. It's wet, which is what I want all the way through, but it's not pooling anywhere and it's going where it's supposed to go. I might be pooling a tiny bit, but it's enough that I can blend it without needing to pick the paint back up again. There you have it. That's just a little video talking about one of the most frequent problems I've seen people have when they feel like they just can't do watercolor blending. Most frequently I see this where you don't have enough water. This can also happen when you're using pan watercolors, or you're using honestly just watercolor that's not in liquid form. That goes back again to what I was talking about in a different video, which is your watercolor needs to be liquid. For watercolor lettering, if you're using pan watercolor, I recommend you getting a palette like this and putting some of that pan watercolor in a well, and then putting water in it so that it is a nice liquid consistency. But even when you have liquid watercolor, you need to make sure that it's either diluted with water or that you have enough paint and it's the right consistency, so it gets you to the strokes that you want every time. Not too much, but you definitely need enough to make the whole color wet and moist. Great. For this prompt, for your homework, I need you to practice. For these kinds of practices, it's good to see if you can get the mistakes down as well as you can get the correct techniques down because then, you will be able to recognize some mistakes when they happen. All right, happy practicing. 7. Blends + bleeds: Today we're going to focus on or rather right now if you're watching them all at once. We're going to focus on the difference between blending and bleeding. Really, they're just two different ways of blending color together. But I think you may have heard these terms, and been curious about what the differences. I want to spend a quick couple of minutes to show you what the difference is. Look at my ink-stained hands, [LAUGHTER] sign of a watercolor calligrapher. To put it simply, blending is probably the more traditional blending where the gradient gradually goes in to another color. Where it's not like you see, there's the exact spot where it started to be another color, it's more gradual. Whereas bleeding, as you can see here, it just erupts. It's trying a little bit more obvious in this e, right here, where it's this pastel red, there's a coral red color and then there's just a cloud of pastel red right here amidst all of the pink as opposed to up here, all the different colors just gradually blend together. The easiest way to get bleeds I have found is with dye-based liquid watercolor, like Ecoline. We've already talked about the difference between dye-based and pigment-based liquid watercolor. Dye-based watercolor is the easiest to get bleeds. Blending, almost always you have to do a little bit of manual work to get it to be that gradient anyway, no matter what color you use, no matter what paint you use. Let's put this into action. I'm going to show you a bleed. I'm going to do a little swatch of this pastel red right here and the key to bleeding colors into each other is not to have too much of this first color, but not to have too little either, so it's not wet. I mean, it has to be wet, but you don't want it so wet that it just blobs. You want it just enough so that when you touch the next color to it, it just bleeds into it like that. With dye, I've actually found that, especially with Ecoline, I've found that the lighter colors bleed a lot more easily than the darker colors, but not always the case. You just have to try it out. But see this blend is definitely more bleeding because the color plumes into this other color. It's like forcing its way in as opposed to blending with it. It's saying, "This is my space now, you can move over here." That blend can look really cool too. This is from a different video, but like if you see this, how this blue pushes into the green, that's a bleed. Blending is more smooth, and sometimes it requires a little bit more work. If I'm going to pass these light rose, right right, and I'm going to put in this pastel read. It naturally wants to bleed. You see how that's bleeding. In order to make it a blend, I'm going to pick up a little bit more of this light rose and just work it a little bit. When you're trying to blend lighter colors into darker colors to make sure that you don't just completely overtake the lighter color with the darker color, you always want to go light to dark as much as possible. It looks like I've put just a little too much water, so it's starting to puddle a little bit. I'm just going to push this out a little bit more, so the water has a place to go, but now I'm going to pick up. See blending just as a little bit more work when you're trying to get it exactly right. Especially if you're trying to get him specific way. I'm trying to always go light to dark. Let's try that in a letter. The best letters to bleed into are one you can go into, in calligraphy, you always end on an upstroke so that you can more easily go into the down-stroke. To bleed, to make it something bleed into the next letter it is a lot easier when you have a thick downstroke to go into it. Let's try this b going into this straight l with no loop. I'm going to pick my lighter color, and I'm going to draw or form my b. I want to make sure that there's enough liquid and paint in this little loop right here. Not too much so that pulls out, but I don't want it dry either because then it won't work. Now I'm going to get my pastel rose and just go down. I barely touched this little part. Sometimes you'll see where the paint has pushed the pink out of the way, it pulls up here. If you don't want it to be so concentrated in that area, you can just get a little Q-tip and make it not quite so pigmented. But that is a demonstration of a bleed. That's what a bleed looks like. The best way to get that bleed to happen, like I said, is to just barely touch this spot where you're going to go into the next letter so that the paint can do its thing. For blending, we're going to do the same thing at the b and l. I'm going to start with the rows though. For blending, you have to pay a lot more attention and work a little bit more quickly to make sure the blend and the gradient is really smooth and not as dark as it was before as in the bleed. See how this color naturally wants to bleed into this b, but we don't want that right now, we want to blend. I'm just pushing this rose into the pastel red a little bit. But I also talked before about how in order to make sure that the lighter color maintains its place, so it's not completely overtaken, you want to go from light to dark. I'm going to use a little bit of pigment from this l too and push that into there. Blending, like really seamless blending, if you only want to do blending, sometimes it's a little harder, it takes a little bit more work. But I'm going to call that good and see it's not quite as dark. The pink goes a little bit lighter before it turns into this pastel red. There is a basic rundown of blends versus bleeds. Now you try. I want you to pick one word out of the quote that you chose and try blending and bleeding. Now keep in mind you don't have to only pick one method for your piece. In fact, I typically do both blending and bleeding in all of my watercolor pieces, but it's important to know the difference, especially if you're going for a design that you really want to utilize one or the other. For your project, pick one word of the quote that you selected and practice both blending and bleeding and a mix and make sure to show your progress. I would love to see it. Either post it on our discussion board or post on Instagram. I would love to see it and highlight the great work you're doing. Happy blending and bleeding everybody. 8. Monochromatic blends: Are you ready to get started on some monochromatic blends? Now that we've talked all about the different techniques and materials that I think are important for the basics of watercolor blending, let's get started on one of my favorite methods. Monochromatic just means one color, but lots of different shades, or it can be one base color and different tones of that color. Basically, it just means if you are choosing to do blue, you stick with lots of different kinds of blues. We're going to talk about two or maybe like three-ish different methods, but mostly one is using all paint and one is using paint and water. Here I have my trusted eco lines and if you want, monochromatic blending can be like ombre blending. If we do ombre blending using only the paint, then that is starting off with light and then getting darker, which I have mixed up my colors. That's not how it's going to be, but that's okay. I'm just really quickly painting using my eco lines in blue. This is what I mean by monochromatic blending using only paint. See, I dipped into the paint every time. As opposed to diluting the paint with water and to get a more ombre. Now that I have the paints all lined up together, let's see if I can do that. What I'm going to do is start with the lightest. Then while I'm still in the light, I'm going to really quick dip it in the next shade and maybe get a little more light in there. It's just a shade lighter. This is really similar to when you make color palettes. You're just trying to get at the next highest shade possible. Now I'm going to make it just a little bit lighter. I'm still in the middle color. I'm using three colors here. Now I'm going to dip in the middle color and then barely in the darkest color, maybe a little bit more of the darkest color. Then I'm going to dip it finally all the way in the darkest color there, that is definitely more ombre than the top. That's a method of monochromatic blending using only paint. Both of these demonstrate different kinds. If you will, recall back to the blends and bleeds video, this ombre word has used bleeds a lot in several different places, and you'll also remember I talked about how lighter colors sometimes tend to bleed more than darker colors in my experience with eco lines, and that's definitely true here. While this ombre is a more natural gradient, that we have manipulated the color to make it be exactly what we wanted to be. Both are really fun ways to do monochromatic blending. This way requires a little more manipulation and a little more thought. It's just you put down whatever color you want and make sure that the color is wet enough to take the blend. Another really fun way to do monochromatic lettering is using one color. I'm going to choose this ultramarine light, right here, using one color and some water. I really love using water to dilute colors and to make them do different things. That's exactly what we're going to do. I start by dipping into the well. I'm going to paint water here. I'm dipping into the well and then next time instead of dipping into the well, I'm going to dip into my water like it's my well of paint. I didn't wash off my paint, I just dipped into the water like it was my paint. What we're doing is re-wetting the brush and therefore reactivating the remaining paint that's on here. It's lighter. See, I'm not dipping into my paint, I'm just dipping into the water, and it gets lighter and lighter as you go. It works just as well, since watercolor is activated with water in order to get it to do what it's supposed to. There you have it, it's pretty cool. I really like doing this bottom method because the water can dry and really cool ways. I also liked this top method because it's a little more hands-on and sometimes more vibrant. But there are my two favorite ways to do monochromatic blending. Your task now for your class project is to similar to when we did blends and bleeds, is to pick one word from your project and try out some monochromatic blending. Try out all these different ways, whether it's using paint and going back and forth between three or four different colors of paint, or just using one color and using water. Paint up here, water and paint down here, and both are really fun. How about it? I can't wait to see what you come up with. 9. Multicolored blends : Hello, for this lesson, we're going to talk all about multicolored blends. As you can see, I already have a word laid out for you. Laugh, one of my favorite words. I'm basically just going to go step-by-step through my blending process when it comes to multicolored blends because I know sometimes it can be tricky and you're not exactly sure how artists have attained the result that they have. I'm going to go step-by-step with you. What I do to achieve blends like this, I will say before we start, the more colors you use, the harder it can be. There are different methods to achieve different colors. The two biggest methods or differences in artists that I know of is whether or not they quote-unquote double-dip their brush into different pots. So that means I've dipped it into this purple and then I lay it down and before I wash my brush, I dip it into a different color. I do that sometimes, but I also do it the other way. So I have a video talking specifically about double-dipping. Go check that out if you're interested in hearing more of my thoughts on that. Now, I'm going to dive right in. First, I'm going to choose this light rose color. For my first color, I like to get a decent amount of paint. We talked about in the water video, how much paint is too much, and you just have to test it out for yourself, each brush is different even. That's a practice thing, but I like to have enough. So that lays down a good amount of color so that I can see that it's wet. Sometimes I have to tilt my head down and get to a different level to see how wet it is. But all of the letter has to be wet for me in order for this to work. The next key thing, when you are specifically blending calligraphy and wanting to blend different letters together is putting most of the moisture where the next letter is going to be because that's where it's most important for the colors to blend together. Almost always, that's going to be this little tail upstroke right here leading into the next letter. I'm going to dip really quickly and move on to my next letter. Now see I didn't quite get enough as much paint as I wanted. This could also be the paper. Sometimes paper has inconsistencies in it that leads to resistance and you might need to go over that and fix that manually. So I just added a little bit more paint here. Now, I'm going to try to fix what's happening in this L. So it's pooling and not in a way that I really like, this is bleeding technically, it's bleeding into the L, but I'm not sure that I like how that looks. I'm going to do a little bit more work to make it blend. What I'm doing here is dipping my brush into the water and just going over the letter so that the whole letter's wet again. This is a technique I go over a little bit more in the Frequently Asked Questions video. But just so you know, that's what I'm doing. I can get a little bit more of an even blend and there to me that definitely looks a bit more even. Now I'm going to look down at this a, to make sure it's still wet. And it mostly is. I'm going to get a different color and put down the next stroke. And I know that it's still wet because it's definitely bleeding into this purple but it's also stopping so the purple isn't going anywhere. Which I think means this is a little bit dry. Which is okay. I don't mind leaving it like that. I've mentioned before that I like having a combination of blends and bleeds. I did the second stroke of the A, and now I'm going to get a different color for the U. It's bleeding right there and I think similar with this L, I want it to be a little bit more of a blend and not have this color pool so much at the top of that U. I'm just going to move it around and make it blend the way that I wanted to and even putting a little bit of this color. It's like I'm dipping into an inkwell right here because there's so much paint and moving it over here. You don't have to do that. That's just what I'm feeling right now. There we go on that and actually instead of dipping into paint right now, I think I'm just going to dip into water, similar to how I did in monochromatic blending because there was a lot of paint on this U that needed to go somewhere. So rather than add more paint to it, I just added water so that it went somewhere and it's a little more diluted than it was before because that's what water does. But I still really like the outcome. It's a different shade of purple than anything else. That looks great. All right, now I'm not going to clean off my brush quite yet and I'm going to dip into this ultramarine light again. You might notice when you do this that sometimes the upstroke line stays. It depends on the paper and it depends on the quality of watercolor you have or the kind of watercolor you have. But you can scrub that out. That's what I did. This looks like, see watercolor is so different, it's such an interesting medium because it doesn't always act the same. And it looked like I didn't use quite enough watercolor before, so the G started to go a little dry. So that's when I added a little bit of water to it to make it wet enough, so that when I dip back in the purple, it will be fine and blend right in there. Now I'm moving some of this moisture into this G and I'm double-dipping really quickly to make it a more red-violet color rather than just pink. But now I am going to wash out my brush and finish off like that. Then color still even blends in a little bit over here. I'm just going to carefully go over it. Now, this takes practice. The first time that I tried doing this, especially going over letters in places where I have already gone over them. I know it's tricky to get it in the right spot, but it really just takes practice. There's my multicolored blend. I hope hearing my step-by-step process was really helpful for you. Check out my next video when I tackle lots of different colors and we're going to go a little bit into color harmony on that video as well. But for your homework prompt this time, you guessed it. Take one word from your quote that you selected for your final project and test out some multicolored blends using these techniques and figuring out what works best for you. Believe me, once you get to the end of these videos and you've tested out all these techniques, it's going to be really fun to push out your final project. All right, thanks a lot for listening. I can't wait to see what you do. 10. Advanced multicolored blends: Let's continue with our multi-color blend practice. But this time we are going to add in lots of different colors. I'm going to talk about what to do when you're trying to blend colors, like four or more colors into one piece. It can be a little tricky. Before we start, I'm going to talk just a little bit about color harmony. Now, color harmony is, it's a whole big science that you can Google your heart out and learn so much about. I've learned a lot about it from a lot of different sources. I particularly liked Jenna Rainey's explanation of color harmony in her Everyday Watercolor book. Not paid, I just like the book. I don't even know. We're not friends or anything, so I don't know that she even knows that I own it, but it's a really awesome book and she talks a lot about color harmonies, so I'd recommend reading up on that. But for the purposes of this video, I'm just going to say it really matters when you're using lots of different colors, what order the colors are in. That's a really simple way of figuring out how to combine colors that might not be quite so good together with other colors that are good together. The most important thing to remember when you're trying to figure out what colors go together and what colors don't, in my opinion, is the rainbow. I am going to demonstrate to you what I mean by choosing when and where to put colors and why it matters. I have just so many colors here. I don't know if you can, I'm going to move the camera a little bit so you can see, but I have lots of different colors here and not all of them go together. For example, let's put down some light orange right here. Some nice bright light orange. This orange would probably go really well with this light rose. Let's see. I think those colors work pretty well together, though the orange, it looks like it's a lot stronger than the rose. But when I try to mix the orange with, say this light green over here, what color do you think it's going to be? This goop green muddy color? That's not super appealing and we don't want that to show up on our lettering. We're making a mental note that orange and green probably should not go together. What I want you to do when you are doing lots of different colors in a lettering piece is to figure out which colors can go side by side and which colors really can't. That's just doing a quick test. Even you can do, let's put purple down right here. This is blue violet and on one side, I'm going to put this green and see if that works. I'm not going to lie to you. I actually like purple and green together though I think some people might not. Then on the other side, I'm going to put this blue and see if that works. It's just testing to see what colors you think work well together and what colors don't necessarily work well together. With purple and green that depends on the color. The shades that you get to see. Even with this lime green, this light green and this blue violet, you still get that muddy color that's not the best looking for blending. I'm making a mental note that I really don't want to put that blue violet and that light green together. This really is the process for making the most of your multicolored blends that are four or more colors. I'm just going to get going and I'm going to let letter you are enough. That's one of my favorite phrases. I'm going to start with this orange right here. I'm going to use orange for the Y and next up is this light blue. But I'm not sure if light blue is going to go well with orange. Instead what I'm going to do is switch and use this light rose that I know works well. It looks to me like, since orange is such a strong color, it's turned this rose into a darker orange and so I'm going to keep putting a rose here. Just look at how strong that oranges is. It just goes through all of these different colors. Next up, I'm going to do this light blue. Looking at these colors that I have ahead of me, I know that red would work well with blue and blue and purple would work well with blue and also green would work well with blue. Since I don't really want two blues together in this multicolored blend, I'm going to go with a green here. I want it to look like it's blended. I don't know if you notice, but the green stopped up there. I want it to be a little more blended and look a little more seamless to get this in-between minty color that's showing up right here. What color will go well with green? I think of all these colors here, blue is probably my best bet. I'm going to use this darker blue instead of the lighter blue and see what happens. There we go. The green is bleeding into this blue right here and I'm okay with that. I think that looks pretty cool because it's made this turquoise color right here. I like that effect a lot. Now, the color that I haven't used yet is purple. I'm going to put some purple down. When you're doing multicolored blends, you can do all of them different colors. But it's also important if you want them to have a theme, to tie the colors together and use the same colors in a phrase. I'm going to use this light rose right here because I know that that goes well with purple. That purple is just coming into and then what color do I know works well with this rose? I know the orange does pretty well. Before I had orange first and rose second, but now I'm doing orange second and rose next. What color goes well with orange? It looks like I've already used rose. I'm not sure if I want to use rose again next to the orange. I know that blue and orange are complementary colors so I think they might look okay together, but instead I'm going to go for this purple right here. To be honest this is going to be a little bit of an experiment. That just bled into the purple and I'm digging it. I don't know if this is helpful for you at all, but as you have seen in this video, I just mess around with these colors and figure out what I like the best. Based on what I see and what I like, that's how I decide what to keep and what not to keep. If there is a secret to blending with watercolors in different color, it really is to pay attention to your colors and to test things out and experiment and not be afraid to try out different colors and different methods. I feel like we're about done with this lesson. There's my multicolored watercolor creation with lots of different colors that might not go well together. Not every color goes well with all of the different colors. We found out that orange blends into purple, but the orange blends in really the best of all of these colors with the pink. Don't mind my husband's sneezing in the background. In order to make these colors all work together, it really is about matching them with their complementary colors or not complementary in the color science definition, but finding out what works best and putting those colors together so that they can all go seamlessly. There is the lesson on multicolor blending with four or more colors. Now that we've had all three lessons on the different kinds of blending, your challenge is to one, experiment with four or more colors and if you decide to have your final project be that, then to start working on your final project. But ultimately is to decide what blending you want to use for your final project. Is it monochromatic? Is it multicolored? Is it super multicolored with four or more? That's totally up to you. Figure out what works best for your quote and I can't wait to see what you come up with. 11. Drop shadows: One of the most common questions I get is, oh my gosh, how did you make your lettering look like it jumps off the page? How did you make it look 3D? My simple answer is drop shadows. A drop shadow is when I draw like a shadow on my letter, on my word. I have to tell you, figuring out how to do drop shadows did not really come naturally to me. It wasn't until I imagined having a like sun beyond this side of the paper shining down on the word, and like seeing where the shadows went, that I finally figured it out. I remember watching videos of people doing shadows, and thinking to myself, how do you know where the lines are supposed to go? That's my trick, is to imagine that there's a sun right here. I'm going to draw a little sun. The shadows go like that. I'm going to show you four different methods I have for drop shadows, four methods. My most common method for drop shadows with watercolor lettering is to use my Tombow Fudenosuke dual tip pen. This is a soft tip brush pen on both sides. One side is black and one side is gray. I most often use this gray side. I mentioned this in the materials video that I do, and now I'm going to show you how I do the drop shadows. If the sun is coming this way, that means the shadows are always going to be on this side. If there's some shining here, there's not going to be a shadow there. That's going to be on the opposite side. I'm going to remember to draw my shadows on the opposite side of the sun. There always has to be this thing blocking me from the sun. The reason that I use brush pens is because they're flexible and the shadow isn't necessarily going to be the same thickness throughout. If you'll notice like when I did the H on top, I just did like a little thin thing and then I got thicker. I'm just O's are tricky, but here's again, I'm doing it thin on the top and then thicker when I get to the side, and then thin on the bottom again. That's just so much easier to do with brush pens. I'm doing this drop shadow on my first word here and almost done. That is how almost all of my lettering you'll see on my Instagram account is using this method with the gray shadows. I think it just honestly makes it just like pop off the page. It's really fun. What gray is usually my method of choice, I've also done it with using gray watercolor as a drop shadow. I will say that with this dye watercolor that I used, that means the paint is going to bleed a little bit more into the shadow, which can be cool, that can be really cool. Maybe I'll do a video about that another time. But for now, I would say the safest part is to use this small tip, Tombow Fudenosuke, the dual tip with the gray end. If you want a gray drop shadow. I've also tried doing it with Tombow, dual brush pens with their bigger brush pens, they have lots of different shades of gray. I'll pull one out right now. I know a lot of people who use like this brush pen to do shadows, and obviously, this is too big for this word, but honestly, even for bigger words, I like to use the Fudenosuke because I think it's a little bit more manageable and just looks cleaner. I would recommend using the Fudenosuke. The great thing about the Fudenosuke pen is that it also has a black tip, which you can use to do shadows as well. I'm going to show you what this looks like with a black shadow. You have to be a little more careful with black because it's obviously you can see it a lot easier than you can see the gray. With the gray, if you mess up and put the marker in places you weren't intending to, which is a whole lot easier than you might expect to accidentally drawn places you weren't planning to, the gray just blends in, but the black rarely sticks out. If you accidentally do too much like right there, I could easily have gone just a little bit further and paint it over this stroke which is drawn over that stroke, which is not what I wanted. You have to be really careful when you're doing black because it's a lot easier for it to look a lot more messy and make your lettering not quite as clean as you want it to be for a final product, but when it's done, it definitely pops off the page. I think using a black brush tip pen was the first method that I used. I learned how to do drop shadows, so I think that works really well. Building off of the black. One way that I like to utilize this black drop shadow even more to make a word pop even more, is to first outline the word in black. I'm not doing a shadow right now. I'm literally outlining this word in black. It's going to take me a couple of minutes. I'm glad that these Skillshare videos are real-time because you can see exactly how long it takes. This is after years of me practicing. I did not go this fast when I first started doing these methods, believe me, it took me way longer and even now, when I'm going too fast, that's a lot easier to make mistakes, like just happened right there. That's okay. Got to keep going. That's one thing I'm going to say, it wasn't planning to necessarily say in this specific video, but if you make a mistake, not the end of the world, that's okay. The beauty of art and its craft is A, you can have lots of different methods to make it look like it wasn't a mistake. B, even if it was, I think if your art was perfect every time there would be no use doing it. I think that making mistakes is part of the process and part of the beauty of any art, really. There you go. I forgot to do that last stroke. Now that I've outlined it, sometimes I used to just leave things outlined all the time, but one day this was by accident. I accidentally made one of my strokes thicker than I was supposed to and I realized it looked like a drop shadow. What we're going to do is after you've outlined in black, go over again with the same color, black, and add-in drop shadows. It really just makes it pop out that much more, is just a step up from regular black drop shadows. I'm sure other people knew about this method long before I did, but I remember feeling super proud of myself for realizing the power that I had by myself it came, I learned about it through my own experimentation. That doesn't mean I was the first person to ever use it because heaven knows, I definitely wasn't. But it's really fun when you are experimenting and you figure out cool things all by yourself, even if they've already existed long before you started doing this. I just think it's really a neat experience. There's still a little black line I don't and how to fix that, but we're just going to call it good. That's my third, method of drop shadows. Now, my fourth method, and this is not all of my methods by any means. So my fourth method is adding more of an outline drop shadow. Now what I mean by that is, I'm using a fine liner. This is a pilot fine liner pen or you could use a micron pen or anything like that. Instead of putting the shadow right next to the letter, I'm going to put just a little bit outside the letter. It's almost like the drop shadow is actually in white and the black is just outlining it. This is really tricky. It's a lot harder to do than regular drop shadows, and it's a lot easier to mess up because the key is to make the outlines the same thickness and I am still really bad at it if I'm being honest with you. I'm sharing this method with you so that you can practice just like I practice because the result can be pretty cool. I am the only time I'm having the outline touch anything is when it's touching another outline. It's never ever touching the letter. There you have it. It looks like it's just outlined in white there. Those are my four methods of drop shadow that I'm sharing with you for now, and they are how I make my watercolor lettering just really pop off the page and just really ties everything together I think. For your final project, this is going to be your last homework, is to practice drop shadows. Now, I want you to do your drafts and really just do your final project with your quote now that you've learned all the techniques and all of my different thought processes. It's your turn to really put down your quote on paper and figure out how you like it best, how you like, how it looks better, and everything like that. It doesn't matter. Honestly, what matters the most is that you love what you do. Keep going until you find that sweet spot. Can't wait to see your projects. 12. Frequently asked questions: All right. You've made it. You've made it to the Frequently Asked Questions video, which means you are almost done. The last video is a real-time video of me doing my final project along with you. This is the last place really where I'm going to talk about specific techniques for you. I have compiled a few questions that I get asked a lot and I'm going to do my best to answer them for you. Number one is, how do I keep my paper from buckling? This is tricky. I know that some people think that as long as you have watercolor paper, you're going to be fine, but that's not the case. Even if you have watercolor paper, the papers natural tendency is to expand and buckle, which is what it does when it warps when you put water on it. Unless you get really heavy paper, like we talked about, the most common paper is 140 pounds and even this is going to buckle. If you look at my Instagram videos, if the heaviest paper, if you get a 300 pound or more weighted paper, you probably won't have a problem with buckling, but that paper is really expensive. The best ways to keep your paper from buckling is to either keep it on a block. If you buy blocks of paper instead of pads of paper, blocks of paper mean, it just means that it's all glued together. I don't have one to show you right now because I don't typically buy my paper like that. But if you keep it all in a block of paper, then it'll prevent the paper from buckling. But if you don't have a block, I would use painter's tape or masking tape to tape it down to the table. Now it's still going to buckle. Don't be nervous when it buckles because it's going to, but if you use tape, it won't buckle quite as much. If you leave it there taped to the table to let it dry, it should minimize the buckling. But I am going to say too, if you're going to frame your piece, buckling is fine. It shouldn't show if at all in the frame once you've put it behind the glass and it's firm in the glass. I have for example, here is a framed piece that I have and it buckled when I first painted it. But because it's in the frame, stays in the frame, it doesn't buckle. It doesn't show that the paper is actually buckled. Honestly for lettering, you will be just fine. The other way to make your paper not buckle is to stretch it and that requires getting your paper wet and putting it on a stretching board and waiting for it to dry. That's a little more extensive. I think it depends on the project that you have. But especially if you're going to frame whatever piece you're working on, I think it's totally fine to just stick with what you have. Number one is done. Number two, what happens when my paint dries too fast for me to actually blend something? We went over this in one of the videos. I think it was multicolor. But the trick to making sure you can still blend when your paint dries too fast is to re-wet the letter completely. You can't just re-wet part of it. You have to re-wet all of it with just a little bit of water, not too much, but a little bit. Then you should be able to continue blending. It's tricky because you have to go over water in the exact spots that you initially formed the letter and that can take practice, but I know you can do it. That's what you do for that. Washing my brush in-between strokes. This is something I talked about in multi-colored lettering, particularly with four or more colors. That video. As I mentioned in that video, this is a personal preference thing. Some people call it double-dipping when you dip your brush in one well of paint and then dip it in a new color without first washing your brush off. Sometimes you can get really cool color combinations by doing that, but you do run a risk of diluting whatever the second color is, because inevitably a little bit of paint from your paintbrush is going to come off into the next well of colors. It's a personal preference. You need to know the risks. You also need to know that I've double-dipped for a while and I haven't had any problems. I double dip really fast and that's what I do. The next question, what's the secret to getting better faster? I have so many people message me, asking me what I did to develop this skill and if there is a special class or a secret or anything like that, and honestly, the answer is there is no secret. The secret is practice, practice, practice. I practiced so much when I first started and I still do. I practice every day and for hours a day. If you want to get better at this stuff because I'm self-taught, I didn't take any classes, I watched some people do it and then I figured it out. If you are watching this class, you're already a step ahead of the game from me. You can probably get better even faster than I did, but it's just practice. There you have it. The frequently asked questions. If there are more, feel free to message me and keep working on your projects. I'm so excited to see what you guys come up with and watch the last video for a real-time showing of me working on the same project that I gave to you guys. Thanks a lot. 13. Watch me paint in real time!: On this beautiful sunny morning, I am going to take you from start to finish through one of my calligraphy blended pieces. This is a real-time video, and it's more like a bonus to this whole course. Hopefully, you've gotten to the end of it by now and you've started to create your own piece and this is just so you can see what I do from start to finish. My quote is bloom where you are planted, and I've chosen some of my favorite color combinations here. This is forest green, Prussian blue, and turquoise from E coli. Let's get started. I honestly don't always have a plan. When I start these things, I just do what feels right and after a lot of practice, I have learned what I like to do and what I don't like to do in terms of blending and in terms of composition. What I'm doing now is just putting those techniques into practice. I wish I could say this is exactly what I'm thinking. But what I'm thinking is, I really love how these colors blend together and I want to see them blend more. Let's see if you can spot some of the techniques that I'm doing. That's a nice bleed blend over here and right now I'm doing all the colors in the same order. This blue is pooled and this green is stopped. Right now I'm going to see if I can blend that just a little better because I don't want it pooled anywhere. I would really like it if it blended more seamlessly so there is no hard stop. That looks good. Now, let's move on to the next word. Sometimes I do it by stroke, not by letter, that's what I did there. You'll notice just talking about the double-dipping thing that I've talked about in the past, sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. It really just depends. Like I did that time, I didn't wash off the green before I went into the turquoise, but I'm washing off the turquoise right now. It looks like this is starting to dry a little bit. It's in the sun. Whenever you paint in the sun, the paint dries faster, which might seem obvious, but good to know. I'm also running out of room here, so I want to be conscious of where my letters are going. I know that a lot of people draw in pencil before they even put their letters onto paper and I think that is so commendable and I do that sometimes, but I have to say I don't always. [LAUGHTER] Perhaps there will be another course on composition, but for me, it's just trial and error. Sometimes I mess up and have to start over, so maybe I should use a pencil more often. Now I'm continuing on. That green overtook the turquoise a bit, so I'm going to use turquoise again after I've washed off the green. Sometimes you'll notice I just barely tip the colors so it starts to go in to the next letter before I form the stroke. I do that if I want to make sure that the colors blend together instead of just bleed. I mean, it still bleeds and I have to go in like I talked about in the blending and bleeding video. If you wanted to really blend, you usually have to manually make it blend. But I found that adding the color before going down on the stroke sometimes helps. To be completely honest, it looks to me like the composition I'm using here is not going to be centered. See, there's no room for planted right there. Sometimes when this happens and I don't want to start over, I just make it off-kilter on purpose. We're going to put planted down here like this. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, we'll just have to see what happens this time. But I do love these colors together. I think blue and green, especially for spring are just so gorgeous, and the ego line. Blues and greens are so vibrant and pretty, I love them. I'm just continuing on and it looks like it's gotten a little dry up here, so that's what I'm doing, making it not so dry so that it blends together. I have my words down. I actually like this off-kilter look that I have going on. Now you can either wait for it to air dry, or if you have a heat tool like this embossing Darice heat tool that I have and I use frequently, you can do that. I'm going to hurry and dry this piece. If you don't want to hear this heat tool, then go ahead and turn off the volume for a little bit, but I'm going to keep talking. It shouldn't take too long to dry [NOISE] using this tool because when you're lettering, you don't really use that much ink. But you don't want to use the tool in one spot for too long, otherwise, it could burn the paper, which is definitely not what we want. Sometimes though you get parts of a paper that are pooled like this little p right here it's pooled and so that's why I go back and forth a little bit. This might not be the best technique, but it's the one that works best for me. Then I also do the back because, I mean, the water seeps through the whole papers, so if you heat the front and the back, then it dries it completely and it helps to keep it safe [NOISE]. I think that's about good. Next is the drop shadows. I'm going to use my trusted Tombow Fudenosuke and I'm going to do gray for the drop shadows. Like we talked about with the drop shadows, it's pretending like the sun is right here or right here if you want it to be on the other side, but wherever the sun is, the shadows need to be on the opposite side of the letters. I'm doing my go-to on this side and drop shadows can take a while if you do them right. If you rush them, they can get messed up, which is why I like to use gray honestly, because gray isn't quite so obvious when you put them where they're not supposed to go. But I'm just slow and steady doing my drop shadows here. Doing them so they are actually like shadows. Maybe you can start to see it, but when you put drop shadows in, it really just makes the lettering pop and jump off the page. I've gotten so many questions from people who asked me how I make my lettering look like it's 3D, how I make it look it just like jumps off the page, and this is how. Using shadowing techniques and drop shadows is the way to get letters look like they're 3D. There are a lot more complex and extensive techniques than the one I'm using right now, but this is a basics class and this is the easiest way that I've found to get my brush lettering to pop off the page, especially if it's blended letters, which as you know and should know by now, is one of my very favorite ways to do brush lettering and to make it look gorgeous. Almost done. Got the first row, now I'm just starting on the second row. Sometimes when you use gray, the gray picks up, especially when you use dye-based liquid watercolor, the gray picks up the paint because this pen is water-based and dye-based watercolor easily rehydrates. When the ink, which is water-based touches the dye-based watercolor, it thinks it's water and so it reactivates and blurs a little bit and blends into the shadow which I think sometimes can look really cool. I don't know if you've noticed that in your own work, but that's what happens with mine sometimes. I am just finishing up here, being careful but also going fast. I did not go this fast when I first started just so you know. Drop shadows took me a long time to learn. I talked about this in my drop shadows video, but when I first started doing drop shadows or watching other people do drop shadows, I was like, what the heck, how do they know where to put those shadows? That's why I came up with the analogy of the sun, like, okay, if there are shadows, that must mean that if you pretend like there's a light source, then it's easier. I'm such a visual person, so that's exactly why that works for me. I even do a little diagram of it in my drop shadows videos. Go check that out if you're interested. Just about done. There you have it. That is just a simple method for brush lettering watercolor calligraphy using all of the blending techniques that we've learned in this course. Now, I cannot wait to see all of the work that you've done, please. Please, post your projects to the project gallery so that I can see and everybody else can see all the hard work that you've done. Also, tag me on Instagram if you decide to post it on Instagram because I'd love to see all of your progress and the hard work that you've done. Thank you so much for joining me in this class, and I am so thrilled to see the art that you are going to contribute to the world. Thanks again. See you next time.