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Mixing watercolor and India ink

How to mix watercolor and ink
Inspiration / Painting technique / Step by step demonstrations

Mixing watercolor and India ink

Mixing watercolor and ink in a mixed media portrait can yield to interesting results. Here are the steps I took to paint this portrait of my daughter.

Portrait painting techniques : India ink, watercolor and watercolor pencils

This time I used Canson cold press as my paper (140 lb), I stretched it before starting to draw.

I did draw a rough outlines of the face.

Here I start painting with India ink, going from light to dark.

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.

Speedball Super Black Waterproof India Ink

“Super black” means its blackness will be very permanent and fadeless. Contains 100% carbon black pigment. Also free-flowing, non-clogging, and waterproof.

I did reserve a bit of the white with masking liquid in the iris highlight and corner of the eyes.

I start working in watercolor with a mix of 3 reds : scarlet, carmine and madder lake red, with a bit of emerald green for the darker reds.

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

I paint a loose background.

When I am happy with the painting, I go to the scary drip and messing up stage.

I let it dry, then will remove unwanted stains and add definition to the flower. I am then drawing patterns on the background with a watercolor pencil.

painting with watercolor crayons

Some Flowers bloom in Winter, India ink, watercolor and watercolor crayons on paper

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Comments (41)

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  3. […] Free portrait painting techniques : India ink, watercolor and watercolor pencils […]

  4. Wonderful painting! I love how the red really contrasts with the ink.

    1. Thanks Kerridwen, I am glad you liked it 🙂

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  16. Hello!
    I am a highschool art student and I REALLY like your work. I think you are the best watercolorist I have ever seen. I use watercolor sometimes, but I just get the cheap kind in the white box with the little ovals of paint. Do you use that kind or the tube kinds? Also, have you ever used anything other than water to mix with your paint? I recently did a painting using acetone (Fingernail polish remover) and water, and since acetone evaporates faster than water, the paint has really cool texture and alters the color a little. I really like your splatters, by the way!

    1. Hello absentzombie and thanks for your comment!
      I find that the quality of the paint is important if you paint on regular paper but not so much if you paint on yupo paper for example, but I am not spending a fortune on paint as I don’t need so many different colors. I usually paint with a mix of paint in tubes (Da Vinci and Winsor &Newton) for the basic colors and then I also use a box with pans from the “yarka” brand, they are professional quality and their price is reasonable.

      As for mixing the paint with something else than water, I use soap when working on yupo which has more or less the same effects as gum Arabic, because it makes the paint more manageable. On regular paper I mostly use water and sometimes I am spraying alcohol but your idea of using acetone and water is very interesting and I will give it a try. Thanks for sharing !

  17. I love this, jus beautiful. A very heartwarming piece.

  18. stephen coley (@stephencoley)

    Just discovered your website… Love the portrait. The messy bit is always the scary part, but always the most effective.

    I’m off to browse the rest of your website now 🙂

    1. Thanks Stephen, happy browsing 🙂

  19. Watching the process is so personal, brilliant stuff:) water colour is such a methodical medium, great to see you define each step, love it!

  20. This is just so fun and bright. Love the messy red
    How ever did you get the PIN under the picture?
    I’m missing something
    peace n abundance,
    CheyAnne
    http://cheyannesexton.etsy.com

      1. thanks, I figured out how to add the one through WP but yours is so cool because it’s under the image itself. I’ll go look

        1. Yes, I just saw yesterday that WP added it to their sharing options which is great.

  21. This is fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing your process!

    1. Thanks Lisa 🙂

  22. I like your portrait and I also think your a really good artist but I just don’t understand WHY do you do the messy part in the end? I mean like I just do t get it… Sorry if I am being rude or anything but here curiosity is killing me!

    1. Hello Maria,
      I cannot discuss a matter of taste , you are totally entitled to like it better before, but on my side I like the process of making the image less “clean” or “tight”, a bit less readable. Of course there is no right or wrong here as once again it is a matter of subjective taste.

  23. berene

    Sandrine, I really like the monotone black and white with the hit of red. And of course the patterns. Love the patterns! Your girls are growing up – it’s interesting how their lives are being documented by your paintings.

    1. Thanks Berene, I hope they will enjoy looking at those paintings later 🙂

  24. incaunipocrit

    Reblogged this on ATA MOTEK.

    1. Thanks for the reblog !

      1. incaunipocrit

        Thank you !!!! 🙂

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