Line and wash watercolor tutorial

Line and wash watercolor tutorial DEFAULT

Line and Wash – Watercolor Painting Anyone Can Do

If the idea of painting outside or while traveling is appealing . . . but intimidating . . . a great way to start is to try line-and-wash. Even if you think you are “not an artist” and have no experience drawing or painting. Even if you “can’t draw”, I encourage you to jump in and try this anyway.

The combination of a line drawing with a watercolor wash seems to give even rather crude, out-of-proportion drawings a sense of charm. Instead of trying to replicate a photo or an architect’s rendering, go for the expressiveness and playfulness of children’s book illustrations.  You don’t have to show your drawings to anyone!

If you keep drawing, your drawings will get better with practice, but that’s not why I urge you to do it.

The real benefit is that you will SEE and appreciate more deeply.

You will be amazed how little you’ve actually seen very familiar scenes and objects, once you start drawing them.

Don’t be discouraged that your drawings don’t “look right”. As you try to draw something, you actually learn more about how it really looks. So, the drawing itself is always a little behind your understanding. It doesn’t always capture everything you just discovered from the drawing process. If you draw it again, the drawing will improve.

But you’ll also learn even more about what you are seeing, so your new drawing will still be trying to catch up to your perception. Experienced artists know that the goal is not to make a perfect replica (not even possible, since your drawing is 2D and the world is 3D, plus time!).

The goal is to make a drawing “good enough” for whatever your purpose might be. If your purpose is simply to use the act of drawing to enhance your ability to see deeply, it doesn’t matter much what winds up on the paper.  “Seeing more deeply and fully” and “accurately rendering a scene” are two different purposes.

Nothing wrong with working on your rendering skills, but I urge you to do that in some other context. When you’re traveling, or sketching something from your garden, tell your inner critic to go have a cup of tea and leave you in peace.

If you want to keep a travel journal, but you feel self-conscious about “not drawing well”, try drawing as if you were entertaining a young child, instead of the jaded adults in your life. Focus on recapturing the eyes and sense of wonder of a small child.

Pen sketches brought to life with watercolor washes. Tutorials, lovely examples, etc. 2,849 Pins 10w

Examples of patterns

Line and wash sketches by Marinda Daly

Line and wash tutorials and demos

Examples of buildings and street scene sketches

Using reference photos

Continuous line and watercolors

Line and wash by John Lovett

Examples of water, boat and seascape sketches

Examples of people sketches

Example of landscape sketches

Examples of indoor scene sketches

Examples of night scene sketches

Example of flower, tree and plant sketches

Examples of bird, animal and insect sketches

Examples of rock sketches

Examples of light, shade and shadow

Examples of sketches on miscellaneous topics

Examples of still life

Miscellaneous line and wash sketches

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Line and Wash

Line and wash is a drawing and painting process in which defined lines are used in unison with washes of color or value. The lines are usually developed with pen and ink applications, applied with technical pens or traditional nib or dip pens. The washes of color are typically developed with translucent watercolor or ink washes.

This combination of media allows the artist to take advantage of the strengths of both mediums. The lines are used to define edges and details while the washes develop the color and value range.

Developing The Pen and Ink Drawing

The line work can be developed before watercolor washes, after watercolor applications, or both before and after. It’s entirely up to the artist. An advantage to applying the ink before the watercolor applications is that it allows the artist to focus on developing the color with defined edges in place.

In some cases, the watercolor applications could cover the ink lines partially. This is especially true if the watercolor applications are heavy and less translucent. Some may prefer that the ink lines remain more defined. If this is the case, it may be preferable to develop the line drawing over the top of a dried watercolor painting.

Pen and Ink Line Drawing

Some artists prefer to draw the contours of the subject lightly with graphite before developing the ink drawing. This practice sparks some controversy among some artists who argue that only ink and wash should be used.

Skipping the graphite drawing produces a looser drawing that some artists may prefer. In all circumstances, the approach that is taken by the artist should be one that leads to the greatest chances of success. If a looser drawing drawing is what you’re after, then maybe skipping the graphite sketch is the best way to go. If you desire a more controlled drawing, then there’s nothing wrong with loosely sketching the contours with graphite.

Applying the Wash

The wash is usually applied with watercolor or translucent applications of diluted ink. If a grayscale image is desired, India ink may be diluted and applied to create a range of values. Just as with watercolor painting, ink is typically applied initially with lighter values, progressively becoming darker with additional washes.

Pen and Ink Ink Wash

Above image from The Secrets to Drawing Course

If a color image is the goal, then watercolor or colored inks can be used. Washes can be applied quickly and loosely or with a greater level of control. Here again, it is entirely up to the artist as to which approach they take. There is not a “right” way nor a “wrong” way to apply the wash. Looser paintings may appeal to some, while more detailed and developed paintings will appeal to others.

Surfaces for Line and Wash

Artists typically prefer surfaces that will accept multiple washes without degrading the quality of the line. This includes watercolor paper (both coldpress and hotpress surfaces), multi-media paper, Bristol paper, illustration board, and rigid surfaces such as gessoed masonite.

Most artists will find a surface that works best for their style after some experimentation. If a crisper line is desired, then a smoother surface such as Bristol paper, hot press watercolor paper, or illustration board may be the best solution. If multiple washes are to be applied, then coldpress watercolor paper, multi-media paper, or gessoed masonite may be the better option.

Mobility and Portability

One of the appeals of the process of line and wash is how quickly a sketch can be developed. A quick line drawing is easily created and washes of color can be quickly applied. A good amount of information can be captured in a short period of time. Because of its immediacy, the process of line and wash is suitable for drawing and painting on location.

The materials required are also light and easily stored away - not to mention that clean up is a breeze. Only an ink pen, a light travel watercolor set, a sketchbook, a few brushes and water is required.

Step By Step

Recommended Materials for This Tutorial

(Some of the following links are affiliate links which means we earn a small commission if you purchase at no additional cost to you.)

With the initial pen and ink applications in place and graphite applications erased away, we can begin the process of applying watercolor washes. Watercolor applications are light in the beginning but will become progressively darker and more intense with each wash.

Ultramarine is used for the sky. While the surface is still wet, colors for the distant trees are applied with Sap Green, Yellow Ochre, and Cadmium Red Pale Hue to encourage some bleeding. Various mixtures of these colors are used. In the field in front of the barn, Sap Green and Yellow Ochre are applied.

The barn receives a wash of a mixture of Cadmium Red Pale Hue and Alizarin Crimson. A darker mixture of Burnt Umber and Ultramarine is lightly washed over the roof of the barn and the silo. This mixture is also lightly applied on the shadowed side of the silo as well.

With initial washes of color in place, we can begin darkening values - increasing the contrast. Our mixture of Burnt Umber and Ultramarine is applied over areas of shadow. More intense versions of the colors used for the trees are also applied.

This process of increasing contrast and darkening values continues. This time with more emphasis on defining the shadows on the right side of the barn and silo. Since the light within the scene originates from the left, stronger and darker shadows are found on the right side of the barn and behind it.

Colors are also intensified as additional washes are applied. The barn receives several washes of a mixture of Cadmium Red Pale Hue and Alizarin Crimson. The trees and the field also receive additional washes of color. Additionally, shadows are strengthened even further.

After the watercolor painting has dried completely, we can revisit areas with additional pen and ink applications. In this example, shadows are strengthened with a bit of hatching. A fence is added behind the barn and a few more indications of grass blades are added in the field.

A few more branches are added to the tree closest to the viewer to complete the image.

Line and Wash Landscape

The process of creating imagery with line and wash is quick, clean, mobile, and quite enjoyable. It is perfect for work in the studio or out in the field - while combining the "tighter" characteristics of pen and ink and the looser qualities of watercolor.

How to paint in Line \u0026 Wash - a beginner's guide

Tips For Painting Line & Wash


The line & wash technique in watercolour can be a most attractive diversion from using paint alone.

Indeed, it has provided many artists - both professional and amateur - with an outlet that has seen them joyfully produce minor masterpieces solely with this method. You can add as much or as little pen work as you wish. 

Some artists use just a few flicked lines of ink here and there to give emphasis to certain elements.

Others develop the art into a whole study of line textures and patterns, with the addition of just a few pale tones to add a small splash of colour to underscore the pen work.

For those who have never tried pen & wash, or have struggled to get going with it, this blog post sets out some of the basic principles, including

  • What equipment you need to get started
  • Some of the skills to practice
  • One or two of the more popular approaches

It’s not an exhaustive résumé of the craft by any means, but if you’ve always fancied having a go and didn’t know where to begin, then hopefully this should give you enough pointers to have a reasonable stab at it without costing you a fortune in materials. 

Here’s a simple example of line and wash:

Note how the upper drawing of the cliff and tree stands absolutely fine as an ink drawing in its own right, with cross hatching alone being used to emphasise value.

In the lower, coloured version, several plain washes have been added to enhance the image and complement the line work. However, these are essentially flat washes with no variation of value or colour in them, relying on the copious amounts of pen work and cross hatching to achieve this.

Here's another example:

We can see that the artist has used loose washes of watercolour, varying in values and adding spattering, to create a group of vibrant poppies.

Notice here that the pen work is much less obvious, with a few streaks and squiggles representing the folds in the centre of the flowers and helping to link them and define their contours and form. A different pen and wash style altogether, but equally effective.

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Materials & Equipment

So you fancy having a go? Great! Let’s start with the tools you need. 

Watercolour Paints

Well, watercolour paints certainly - just the normal ones you may well use already. If you haven’t got any watercolour paints, then just get three primaries. They’ll take you a long way and at the same time, you’ll be honing your skills in colour mixing, using a limited palette like this.

You may, of course, have a full cabinet of watercolours, but in case you haven’t, three primaries such as Ultramarine Blue, Yellow Ochre and Permanent Rose will be fine for starters.

However, don’t get hung up about the colours you do or don’t have available. Tonal value is much more important, and the dark pen work that’s part of the picture will really help you appreciate the impact of this vital element in any painting.


For loose paint work (because that’s what the pen & wash technique encourages) have something like a number 6  and number 12 Round and/or maybe a 3/4 inch or 1 inch flat.

Part of the fun of pen & wash is not keeping within the pen lines so it’s OK to be as cavalier as you like and let the paint run amok, with the pen work pulling it all together.

Just a mention though that Indian Ink can clog the brush ferrule eventually, no matter how diligent you are in cleaning it. So I'd use a cheaper brush if you intend to use Indian or Acrylic Ink for any washes, reserving you best brushes for the watercolour paints.


And for your surface, a hot pressed watercolour paper is often recommended. This is to allow some freedom for the pen to slide over its surface with loose, impressionistic strokes. However, there’s no reason why you can’t use a cold pressed watercolour paper, or even a good quality drawing paper (cartridge paper as it’s known in the UK).

Bristol board (a very smooth, very heavy drawing paper) is also good. In fact, any reasonably smooth surface is OK to start with, as long as it’s thick and able to take watercolour paint without cockling and distorting too much.

For that reason, you’re best avoiding printer or photocopy paper, though it’s fine to practice on with your pen. 

Have a look here at the different effects the cold pressed and hot pressed papers have on the paint’s ability to blend. Note in the image below, the way the cold paper on the left has allowed the paint to granulate.

The smoother hot pressed paper on the right allows for easier use of the dip pen. Drawing paper, incidentally, generally acts in a similar way to the hot presed paper.

Pens & Ink

There are two types of pen, in essence.

One is the traditional dip pen with a pointed nib:

The other is one of the many technical pens available:

Both have pros and cons. As for ink, most artists use waterproof ink such as Indian ink to avoid it bleeding into the watercolours. However, as we shall see later, a non-waterproof ink has its advantages!

Pen #1 - Dip Pen


  • Can create artistic and variable width lines (see photo below).
  • Can use easily interchangeable nibs to give further variation in line size and character.  
  • Can be used indefinitely with the relevant ink - or even thin acrylic paint.
  • One pen holder and a few interchangeable nibs do the same job as, but much cheaper than, several technical pens.
  • Any colour ink can be used, or even thinned acrylic paint (e.g. for use in airbrushes).
  • If the ink dries on the nib, it's relatively easy to clean it, or very economical to just change it.


  • Can catch on paper surfaces - especially if pushed rather than pulled - with any ink being splattered onto the picture being almost certainly non-erasable.
  • Can have a ‘scratchy’ feel, especially with fine nibs.
  • Takes a little longer to dry than technical pens, because of the variation in the lines and therefore the extra ink laid down on the paper.
  • Unprotected nib needs to be carefully stored. 
  • Nibs easily damaged in use - keep several spares!

Do practice on scrap watercolour paper before you try to produce a picture using the dip pen. Its ‘scratchy’ noise and feel takes a little getting used to and you need to learn which way not to drag the pen to get splatters everywhere!

Indian Ink is pretty dense and staining so cover any parts of your clothes or furniture that you don’t want to be speckled with black dots…. You can see from the shape of the flexible nib catching in the paper surface in the photo above how easy it is to unintentionally add texture where you didn’t want it!

Pen #2 - Technical Pens


  • Smoother feel than the dip pen on a wider variety of surfaces.
  • Easy to move the pen in any direction without spattering.
  • Ready to go, with an ink reservoir in the barrel. Remove the cap and draw.
  • Can be pushed as well as pulled in any direction to create marks.
  • Gives a consistent width of line and usually, the flow of ink.
  • Pens usually in black ink but available in a selection of primary and secondary colours.
  • Easier to carry with the nib protected by a cap.

Note the circular lines and those that go up and down in a tight wavy pattern. This is not as easy to reproduce with a dip pen due to it’s overwhelming desire to splatter on the upstroke!


  • Only one size nib with each pen so difficult to create the variation of width in one line. 
  • Requires several pens with different nib sizes for variety in line work, therefore costly.
  • Not as characterful as the dip pen. 
  • The consistency of ink flow makes it a little more difficult to get a hit and miss line.
  • Once the ink reservoir is empty, you're normally not able to refill it. You'll need to replace the pen.
  • If the ink dries in a technical pen, it's not easy to get it to work again. 

Traditionally, the most popular ink with line and wash is black Indian ink, selected for its density and completely waterproof properties once dry. In addition, several manufacturers provide waterproof drawing inks in a good range of colours, compatible with the black Indian ink. 

Furthermore, modern acrylic inks, designed for use with an airbrush, are also waterproof when dry and provide a wide range of colours (though they’re probably not quite as dense as the Indian ink - which may be an advantage or a downside).

In fact, I often use brown ink as I find it gives a good strong line but is a little less stark than the pure black. As ever though, try various inks and see what works best for you.

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Pen First Technique

There are basically two approaches to line and wash...  

The first is to create the picture with most of the pen work completed and to add the paint afterwards, quite loosely, using the pen lines as your scaffolding.

You can emphasise further tonal value with the pen if you wish, by adding some cross hatching for shadow areas. However, keep this loose and spontaneous and don’t try to be too precise with your marks. 

Now when you add the paint, don’t fret if the colour runs over the pen line into an adjacent area. That’s all part of it and it’s what radiates a freedom of expression.

What you definitely want to avoid, if you draw the image in ink first, is to add the paint too carefully in between the pen lines. Do this and it will look laboured and tight and before you know it, you’ll have a ‘painting by numbers’ piece of work.

Have a look at the stages in this picture of a group of walkers trekking up a country lane. I’ve started in the photo below with a pencil sketch, which makes it much easier to go over with the pen (see the following photo). 

The only detailed area is the walkers and even these are mostly sketched outlines. The rest is just a set of impressionistic lines for the trees, rocks and fencing: 

I’ve deliberately used a dip pen for the most part, though a fine technical pen proved better when I sketched some of the distant trees.

I’ve also added a little hatching on the figures and on some of the trees and stones to give shape and shadow:

In the third photo (below) I’ve erased the pencil lines to provide a cleaner image. This will be more apparent when you produce your own work, than it may appear in the photos: 

Following that, I’ve added some quick washes of paint. I just used Ultramarine, Permanent Rose and Yellow Ochre. 

In one or two areas, especially around the walkers, the paint has run together. This is fine as it unifies the group of people.

I’ve added a few tonal values in the stones and on the figures with paint, but for the most part, I’ve relied on the dark pen lines and a fair amount of hatching.

If you look closely, I’ve added a few more pen lines over the paint, especially in the figures, to add further density of value.

Some of the values in the grassy bank in the left foreground are pretty similar, but the pen work has helped to separate them somewhat.

I’m not suggesting that using a pen allows you to give tonal values a miss altogether, but the dark lines of pen work do help you out here and provide a useful safety net if the paint values are lacking somewhat.

Broken Lines

Notice in the image above how the pen work is free and loose, generally following the original pencil drawing.

Lines are deliberately broken, giving an immediate energy and vitality to the work. With pen and wash think only about ‘sketching’ your lines in a hit and miss style that exudes movement that an unbroken line simply wouldn’t provide. 

Look at the two quick pen sketches below: 

One is made up of solid, similar width lines, whereas the other is full of broken sketchy marks. The sketchy version exudes more movement and energy, whereas the one with fully drawn lines appears somewhat heavy and static - almost cartoon-like.

Do remember to produce your drawing lightly in pencil first as well. There’s much less chance of making a mistake when you add the pen over the top of it that way.

If you feel confident enough to go straight in with the pen, fine, but be careful. Remember, once the ink is on the paper, it’s on for good and it can’t be easily erased.

Even pro artists give themselves the safety net of a pencil drawing first! You can leave the pencil in if you want, but I prefer to erase it to leave a cleaner ink drawing.

Then you can add the paint. 

Paint First Technique

The alternative technique is to paint your picture as normal, having drawn the outline lightly in pencil, in the conventional watercolourist’s way. Once this is dry, you then add pen work to underscore certain parts of it and to assist the tonal values you’ve added. 

In the next photo, I’ve sketched in the picture in pencil, as before, and then gone in with the paint.

I’ve added more tonal value in the paint this time, so therefore you’ll notice somewhat less pen work, as less is needed to emphasise darker values or define one shape against another.

However, look at the way the pink coat has run beautifully into the old man’s overcoat:

I thought I’d also do a third version of this in a much freer style (but still starting with paint first).

If you look at the following photos, you’ll see it’s a somewhat looser (for me) rendition, allowing the paint to really run together in the background and grassy areas along the lane.

Again Hot pressed paper has been used. Note too, the way the paint has enjoyed itself, riotously mixing between the figures’ coats and trousers! 

However, even a loose painting needs areas of clarity to work and this is where the pen and ink contribute to the overall impression:

Even though I’ve added only a relatively small amount of line work to maintain the loose atmosphere, if you compare the ‘before and after’ pictures, the pen work adds a lot more punch.

Most of it is in the foreground grasses, trees and rocks, with hardly any in the far field or wall. This keeps the focus very much in and around the figures, though I’ve resisted any temptation to put cross hatching on them, instead just defining the odd arm or leg a little better. 

Make Your Lines Count

If you imagine beforehand that each line you draw is going to cost you £1.00 or $1.00, then you’ll want to make every one count and not just add them here, there and everywhere for the sake of it!

In fact, this is a great principle for painting anyway - so whether it’s a pen line or a brush stroke, each one is doing a specific job.

If you’ve heard the phrase, 'the confidence of the brush-stroke’ this is what it’s all about. The best artists don’t waste energy on unnecessary brush strokes. They make each one mean something and their work is all the better for it!

Remember also that pen work is subject to aerial perspective, just like any other element in a picture.  

To recap, aerial perspective is the illusion that colours become paler and cooler into the distance, and objects become less detailed and distinct.

So concentrate most of your heavier pen work in the foreground and around the focal point and use fewer, smaller and feinter lines as you move further into the distance in the painting. This principle applies whether it is a landscape, a still life, figure painting, portrait or indeed any subject. 

Using Non-Waterproof Pens

A lovely variation on pen and wash is to use non-waterproof ink or pens and to create a monochrome picture. The wash or colour, in this case, comes from the diluted ink in the pen line.

After drawing the image loosely with the pen, take a medium sized brush, say a number 8 round, and with clean water, go over some or all of the lines. Immediately, they will bleed into a most attractive tonal variation, which can be left as is or encouraged with a little more brush work here and there. 

Don’t flood the picture, a damp brush is often sufficient to achieve the most beautiful effects. You will often find that many inks once dampened and allowed to dry, are ‘fixed’ and cannot be re-wetted, similar to water-soluble coloured pencils. 

A particularly effective method is to draw your picture outline with an inexpensive black felt-tip pen... 

You’d be amazed at what colours suddenly emerge when you dampen the black line with water. I’ve seen blues, purples and even golden browns appear as if by magic depending on the makeup of the pigments in the pen. It’s a little variation on pen and wash that’s well worth playing with as most people have a cheap felt-tip pen or two knocking around their home.

In the example below, I’ve used a fine pointed blue felt tip and a 1/2 inch flat brush to maintain horizontal ripples and waves, giving a satisfying linear appearance to the finished piece, while contrasting with the round outline of the boat.

I’ve added cross-hatching in the shadow areas for increased tonal strength. 

What Else Could You use?

Now, of course, you can go further and use a quill pen with ink instead of a metal nib to give you even more character in your line work. These are available from art stores, usually in the calligraphy department, where you’ll find a further selection of nib styles and shapes.

And if you haven’t got a dip pen or technical pen available, try an ordinary black or blue ballpoint pen. 

Or you could find other simple items in the home with which to experiment, such as the sharpened end of an old paintbrush or a wooden coffee stirrer, or even a cocktail stick or a dried-up ballpoint pen. 

And if you haven’t got Indian ink or ready-made acrylic ink handy, mix some ordinary dark coloured acrylic paint with water to a milk-like consistency and use that instead. It won’t be as dense as Indian Ink, but once dry, it won’t be lifted by the watercolour if you put a wash over it at the end.

So go on. Have a go! I’m certain you really will enjoy it!

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Wash watercolor tutorial line and

Line and Wash Watercolour Technique - Great for Beginners

Line and wash is a watercolour technique that combines a line drawing with a watercolour painting. Since a lot of the structure of the painting is established by the line drawing itself, often all that is needed from the paint is a little wash of colour - hence the name, line and wash.

Let me show you the sort of effects you can get with line and wash watercolour techniques - yes, there are videos! 🍿🎥

I’ll also tell you about my favourite pens to use in line and wash paintings and explain why line and wash can be a great watercolour technique for beginners.


Line and wash is a rather relaxed way to approach watercolor painting, in my view.

The two media help each other out, each contributing their own strength. For a new watercolour painter, this can be rather helpful.

It gives you the chance to practice laying in colour washes without needing them to tell the whole story of the painting on their own.

A little colour outside the line is perfectly okay.

In fact, I even prefer it that way. 🤔


Line and wash is a technique I often turn to in my sketchbook. It can be particularly helpful if your subject has fine details that can be difficult to render in loose watercolour.

For example, a bicycle - while not impossible in watercolour, of course, is a bit easier to create when you have the fine tip of a pen to employ.

One of my favourite past series is called Blossoms and Bicycles and was created with line and wash in a watercolour sketchbook.

Would you like to see more of my Blossoms and Bicycles series? This link will take you right to it.


Similarly, I sketched my family on a little vacation in one of my small sketchbooks. Being able to include little figures drawn with a pen made it feel far less daunting.

I think there is also something to be said for the repetition that occurs as a natural part of the line and wash process.

You start off with a pencil drawing. nothing too detailed, is my approach. The pencil lines let you place the main elements in the composition. You can draw out your whole scene in pencil. The fact that it is erasable makes it feel a bit easier.

Take care when you erase though. If you are intending to add watercolour to the sketch you will need to avoid damaging the paper for the best results. I choose a kneaded or gum eraser when I want to be as gentle as possible with the paper.

By the way, if you want to know more about my favourite watercolour supplies, I have an entire class all about that. It’s free, and you can sign up here.

Once you are happy with the pencil sketch you then select your pen and go over your final lines with the ink. You can choose whether to add more value (darks and lights) using pen lines, or whether you want to do all that work with the watercolour paint. I talk more about this (and my whole process) in the video at the end of the post.

Once the pen lines are in it is time to erase any of the remaining pencil lines. It is important to do this before you start painting as it is impossible to erase pencil once you have covered it with a layer of paint.

Use the watercolour to add bright splashes of life and colour to your line drawing.

You can see another line and wash series that I called ‘Berries and Seeds’ by clicking this link here.


You can of course use only the pencil to create the line drawing and put watercolour washes over the top.

I’m not a fan of pencil, but you might be.

The only thing to watch out for is that the pencil doesn't move too much with water. The graphite in a regular pencil  is not water soluble  per se (but you can buy water soluble graphite).

Even so, the pencil usually smudges into the watercolour wash. I don’t love that, personally. No, I like clean, bright, transparent colour.

For this reason line and wash is usually done with a waterproof ink pen.

You can of course, use a water soluble pen for a line and wash technique - either accidentally or on purpose! (You’ll see what I mean in the video that is coming next … 🤦‍♀️)

Moody Line and Wash Watercolour Sunflower Demonstration

Here is a line and wash using a watersoluble pen.

The pen I used in the line and wash painting above is a Pilot GTec 2. I was so enjoying using it because it has a crazy fine point on it. Of course, I had forgotten that it was not waterproof!

I decided to press on and complete the painting anyway. In the end, I didn’t mind the moody feel it created. It certainly wasn’t what I had in mind for these bright sunflowers but quite nice, all the same.

Using a water soluble pen creates a different mood altogether but can create a lovely effect.

When I am doing this on purpose, I prefer the effect with a coloured water soluble pen because I find the black can have a dulling effect on the colour. Just like a pencil can, but more so, the black ink creates shades of colours. This can be atmospheric. It’s nice for a change, but I do prefer vibrant colours most of the time.

Let me show you what I mean in this next demonstration.

Line and Wash Watercolour Sunflower Demonstration

Here is the sunflower I painted next, having remembered that I prefer a waterproof pen.

This is a much brighter sunflower painting using the line and wash technique.

In the demonstration above I used my Platinum Carbon Desk Pen. It is one of my favourite drawing tools because it gives you a nice varied line quality. It is a fountain pen but it comes with a cartridge - no mess, no fuss. (If you’ve been around here before, you’ll know that’s pretty much a studio rule for me 😉)

An alternate pen that I recommend is the Uniball Eye. It is a regular old office pen from the office supply store. You really can’t go wrong with this I think. It is inexpensive, waterproof, available in different colours and has a range of  fine tips that are robust enough to cope with my occasionally heavy hand. For this reason I rank this pen above many of the ‘artist’ pens, whose expensive tips don’t seem to last for too long in my studio.

If you haven’t given the line and wash technique a try - I highly recommend that you do.

And if you are in the mood to try new things you might want to see this next. It’s a step by step tutorial using the line and wash technique with Brusho.

How-to-paint-Brusho-flowers-step-by-step-tutorial yellow.jpg

One of these might be useful…


Monochromatic Line and Wash - Watercolour Tutorial - Joanne Boon Thomas

Of woman she was. '' Soooo, my friend. Come here.

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Not your nephew came, but Lenka's niece. The boobs you have put on, Lenka will have smaller ones. You will be my housekeeper. I still have skirts and blouses. Apron you yourself It so happened that by the age of 13, all the household chores passed to me.

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