Monthly Archives: July 2012

Script Letters and Botanical Borders

Week 2 of the “Drawn and Decorated Lettering” Class

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Handwriting is something I actually enjoy. From an early age I wanted to write like my grandmothers with all the sweeping lines and flourishes they put on letters. This week’s post is my attempt to build script letters and embellish words with botanical borders.

You need a fairly steady hand to make nice crisp lines. One way of achieving this is to rest your pinky finger on the paper to keep the line at a uniform thickness. It takes a bit to get used to, if your fingers are too close you can smudge your work or restrict the motion of your hand. It thought it felt odd at first but I’m starting to get the hang of it, like anything it takes practice so that’s what I’ll be doing.

Materials: Canson 140# CP watercolor paper, Winsor & Newton watercolor paints

Happy Writing!


Block Letters and Pebbles

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I have always been fascinated by letter forms, doesn’t matter if it’s an ornate drop cap in an old book, a hieroglyph, a new font recently designed for the web, whatever the form to me it’s a work of art. So I am now trying to learn this art form in the Drawn & Decorated Watercolor Lettering class by Val Webb.

I just completed the first lesson on the basics of altering block letters. It was a blast, especially the pebble exercise. Basically you fill your paper with random sized ovals and then fill them with as many variations of a single letter as you can imagine. Once all the letters are sketched you paint the pebble.

This was a great exercise for me because it shows I need to continue to work on my color blending. I have a tendency to mix the paint on the paper instead of letting colors blend naturally. I’ll be practicing more letters this week and I’m already looking forward to the second lesson!

Materials: Strathmore 400 series 140# CP watercolor paper, Winsor & Newton watercolor paints



Blue Parakeet

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I decided that the parakeet from my last post needed a friend so I drew a blue one. This little bird is also a miniature – gotta love technology, the scan makes him so much bigger than his 3.5″ x 1.5″ size.

They do make quite the colorful pair (hint: click the thumbnail to see them side by side).

Materials: Strathmore drawing paper, Faber-Castell Polychromos and Prismacolor pencils




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I’ve spent the last several months focused on botanical drawings so in order to mix things up I have revisited another favorite subject – birds. I wanted to draw something colorful so this little parakeet was just the color fix I needed. Not to mention I got to try out a few new pencil colors.

I also knew that it was time to stretch my art muscles and do something small. With botanical studies I tend to draw to scale which is a great skill to master but it’s also good to practice rendering details at a smaller scale. This drawing measures 3½ x 2½ inches. This was such a fun piece to do. I can understand why people like painting miniatures.

Materials: Strathmore drawing paper, Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils