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Fun painting activity: Watercolor postcards with Spirograph visual texture

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Fun painting activity: Watercolor postcards with Spirograph visual texture

Watercolor doesn’t have to be serious and technical all the time, have fun experimenting with watercolor , Spirograph and zentangle designs on ARTiful, painting demos.

You might also like: Fun summer art activity: Watercolor Ombre Postcards

Here are some techniques you can try with watercolor, mixed media and spirograph.

First postcard

watercolor postcard with Spirograph visual texture

Here are the steps you can take to paint this postcard with Spirograph visual texture

tape the postcard on your table

Start by taping the postcard onto a small board with masking tape so it will be easier to work and you will get cleaner sides when the painting is done.

 You can use a wet sponge on the side of your painting to clean and dry your brush in between colors.

Paint the background first, with a wet in wet technique, letting the colors blend on the paper. You can use a wet sponge on the side of your painting to clean and dry your brush in between colors.

paint the background mixing watercolors wet into wet

I used Cobalt Blue, Cadmium Lemon Yellow Sap green and a bit of burnt sienna. You can mix the colors wet into wet on your paper

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

Yarka St. Petersburg Professional Watercolor Pans

Same palette of traditional colors the great masters used a century ago. Liquid-poured means semi-moist pans respond instantly to a wet brush. 24 pans in plastic case. Also individual pans. – Master Set

add drops of alcohol ot your washes for visual texture

If you want to to add visual texture and complexity to the background, drip alcohol onto the watercolor wash.

Wait for the wash to dry.

adding Spirograph patterns to the background

Next step is the fun part with an Spirograph

adding spirograph patterns to the watercolor background

Add a few patterns, here I used  with the green pen that comes with the set and try a few ones with a white gel pen, they don’t show very much.

paint the negative space with acrylic ink

Then draw the outline of a tree with a pencil and paint in white all the negative space using white Copic White ink and a brush.

negative space painted in white

All the negative space has been painted in white, some of the Spirograph design are still visible through the paint, which I find is a nice effect. You could also use acrylic paint to paint the negative space. If you want to, you can add a bit of color to the background.

adding a wash of watercolor to the background

Here I did  mix a very light yellow-green wash from Sap green and Cadmium Yellow and am painting on top of the Copic white. I thought copic white was waterproof but it actually isn’t so I am careful not to disrupt the under layer of white when painting over with the green wash.

adding a wash to the tree

I also want to unify a bit the colors of the tree, so I am glazing it with a mix of Burnt Sienna and Sap Green.

 drawing patterns with sharpies on the tree

When everything has dried, add another layer to the design and start drawing patterns with a sharpie.

crochet looking pattern on watercolor tree postcard

You could look at zentangles designs to find inspirations for your pattern.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

Copic Original Markers

There’s nothing like the Copic double-ended marker for expert blending, painting, and tone control. Use them for fine art projects, calligraphy, and more. The broad nib offers coverage for larger areas. For detailed work, flip over to the fine nib.
watercolor and acrylic patterned tree postcard

The finished postcard

Drawing mandala like designs to make your own postcard

mandala like patterns on postcard fun painting activity

Here is the second postcard,  made using the same techniques, except watercolor has been mixed with with acetone and the design is a bit more simple.

painting with acetone or alcohol

You can dilute a watercolor wash in alcohol or acetone instead of water, they will have a similar effect but I find that the smell of acetone is stronger and that it also tends to increase pigments granulation.  You need to dilute the paint in a bit of water before adding the acetone as acetone by itself won’t dilute the paint.

painting a a wash with acetone

Start by painting a wash with a few colors, acetone is giving a bit more body to watercolors than would water by itself so the paint seem to move more slowly on the paper.

dripping acetone on the wet watercolor wash

Dripping acetone on the wet wash seem to have a similar effect from what you could obtain with alcohol, only a bit more subtle.

Spirograph drawing on your postcardbackground

When everything is dry, draw a few patterns using your Spirograph set, with a pencil this time, you can add a few tiny designs like here I added flowers with my white gel pen.

Start drawing your design with a fine point sharpie.

drawing a mandala design with sharpie

This time I just go for a simple circular design.

working in concentric circles to make a mandala design on a postcard

Work in concentric circles. When you are done,you can adjust the colors if you want to. Here I wanted a bit more blue so I am painting a wash of blue on top of the designs.

light cobalt blue watercolor wash

I did add a Cobalt blue wash in some circles only to add variety.

fun painting activity mandala patterns

The finished postcard.

Feel free to share picture of your postcards in the comments!

5/5 - (2 votes)

Comments (21)

  1. Vicci Gates

    My group did a version of the tree.
    Thought I’d share. Thanks.

  2. […] You might also like: Fun painting activity: Watercolor postcards with Spirograph visual texture […]

  3. hendjd83035300

    I’m hooked. Finished 2 postcards & ready to move to canvas.

    1. Excellent:) Have fun painting!

  4. […] Layered Marks […]

  5. Kaye Mero

    I signed up for your newsletters, but am not receiving them. I love your work and would like to receive your newsletter and get the download. Unfortunately, the website tells me I’m already signed up and won’t let me get the download or take my information for the newsletter. Can you help?

  6. nancy

    Your technique is very interesting.

    1. Thanks Nancy 🙂

  7. froebelsternchen

    fantastic sharing Sandrine – thanks a lot!
    I try out new techniques on ATCs or tags or I trys it in my Art Journal…

    1. Thanks froebelsternchen 🙂 Let me know how it goes.

  8. Kathryn

    Love the process ! Have just had a class on clouds so the less favourite ones are about to be spirographed!

    Thanks for a great technique and I hope it works on yupo as well!

    1. Excellent, thanks Kathryn, let me know how it turns out 🙂

  9. Chris Ruys

    You are very generous in sharing your process. I look forward to your emails and wish you continued success.

    1. Thanks Chris 🙂

  10. Wonderful tutorial and exciting techniques. Thank you for your generous sharing…

    1. Thanks Jane, I am glad you liked it.

    2. Thanks Jane 🙂

  11. This is very cool Sandrine! Way to go!

  12. Louise

    I like to way you use Spirograph as a background to your own graphic design. Great idea!

    And to answer your question, I prefer to work on small size when I try new techniques or medium. Postcard to 8×10 size usually.

    1. Thanks Louise 🙂

  13. Nicole

    I love when you post about your experiments…..beautiful postcards

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