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add colored pencils to your watercolors

How to add zentangles to your watercolor paintings

I sometimes like to revisit a subject I already painted and work on it with a different medium. This time I did a different version of a flower painting I had done a few years ago with acrylics and pastels, I wanted a softer version of the flowers and perhaps adding some designs in the background. So I though about drawing some zentangle patterns on top of the watercolor painting.

acrylic and mixed media painting of green mums

Green Mums,
Acrylic and mixed media- previous version


You might also be interested in :Green Mums, acrylic and mixed media flower painting tutorial

green mums watercolor and mixed media on paper with zentangles

Green Mums, the new version with watercolor and zentangles Available- Click here to buy

Here is a step by step tutorial showing the steps I took to paint this Watercolor and Zentangles flower painting.
Material list:

  • Hot press Arches paper 140 lb, stretched on a foam board
  • Watercolor paints: Cadmium Lemon Yellow, Permanent Red, Burnt Sienna, Purple, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Payne’s grey.
  • Brushes
  • Alcohol
  • Bright blue colored pencil

painting a loose watercolor background and rough outline of the flowers

I started by a rough outline of the flowers and did prepare a mix for the background with Lemon yellow and Ultramarine blue and Permanent Red in a tiny bit of water. I then added alcohol instead of water to dilute this wash.

watercolor visual textures when painting with alcoholPainting with alcohol instead of water will make the wash dry faster and form interesting textures.

Painting the watercolor flowers

experimenting with granulating medium on the flower stems

I also want to experiment with granulating medium and am adding it to the paint I will use for the stems. It also adds a nice textural effect.

painting flowers with watercolor before adding zentangles

Here I painted all the stems.

painting the background flowers with watercolor wet into wet

Then I start working on the background flowers, painting them wet into wet so the edges are not too defined. I want only the two front flowers to have more defined edges.

painting wet into wet on the green mums

I am also painting the flower on the upper left side, using techniques of wet into wet painting and glazing.

background flowers are painted, light watercolor wash on flowers

Here the background flowers are painted and I did lay a very light green wash on the three flowers left.

painting the flowers with more defined shapes by layering watercolor washes

When painting the two main flowers, I am trying to describe more detailed shapes, by layering watercolor washes dry on wet. That way I can paint more precisely as painting dry on wet with watercolor will allow you to have more control on your wash edges.

wet on dry, wet into wet and glazing with watercolor to paint flowers

Working on the watercolor background:

I am painting the flowers, using techniques of painting wet into wet, wet on dry and glazing.

layering watercolor washes on the background

Then I want to tone down a bit the yellow of the background and have it a bit more greyish. So I am going to paint another wash diluted in alcohol, using the same mix of yellow, ultramarine blue and permanent red, but this time I am using more blue and red.

layering watercolor washes on the backgroundAdding another layer to the background.

layering watercolor to paint a textured background

I want to add a few specks of Cobalt blue.

adding drops of cobalt blue watercolor using a dropperSo I am splashing a mix of Cobalt blue in water, using a dropper.

spraying with a spray bottle

Then I am spraying a bit of water in some areas, using a spray bottle.

moving the watercolor paint with fingers

I find it fun to move the paint with my fingers sometimes 🙂

Adding zentangles to the watercolor flower painting:

outlining an area on the painting for zentangle patterns

I am then drawing a few pencil lines to outline an area where I want to add a few zentangles.

drawing zentangles flowers with colored pencils

Then I am starting to draw zentangle flowers using a bright blue colored pencil.

zentangles flowers with colored pencil on watercolor paper

I am drawing simple Flower designs., directly with the blue colored pencil on the watercolor paper.

stripe of zentangle flowers on watercolor paper

I am staying more or less in between the lines I previously drawn with graphite.

green mums watercolor flowers and mixed media on paper with zentangles

The finished painting: Green Mums, watercolor flowers with zentangles on paper


How to add zentangles to your watercolor paintings
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  • Lynda Murtha

    I just love following your work. I love the little tips you give along the way and the pictures you take of your work are great. Thank you!

    • Thanks Lynda, This is very nice of you to take the time to make this nice comment 🙂

  • Jeanine

    You’re so great to take the time to take photos at each step of your process and share your great ideas with us all. It must be so time consuming. I don’t know how you do it all.
    I love both of these pieces of art. They have a nice feel to them. Quick question on the mums you painted in this most recent work. Did you paint them from a reference photo? Or from live flowers? The reason I ask is due to the wonderful details of the petals, indicating the depth with the darker paint etc. I love the way you made them look. I find this particular type of painting diffiuclt to achieve without making it look like just a mess without any organization.

    • Thanks Jeanine 🙂 For this painting I worked from a reference picture. I also like to work from life whenever is possible.

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  • Judy

    I love this piece of yours! and your tutorials!
    Hoping you could answer a couple questions. Where can I buy granulation medium in canada? and what kind of coloured pencil did you use on this piece?