It’s Spring! I have yet to see a butterfly in my gardens, but I’ve got butterflies on my brain. The other day I was playing in my journal, and I painted a picture of a butterfly. As is usually the case, I take certain liberties with nature and tend to be whimsical, but I suppose that’s the way I see the world! Here is the picture I painted in my journal.
Of course, Pixie always wants to color or paint my drawings, so I drew one up for her, and am including one in our free coloring pages. These can be used to color or paint. I like to use my watercolors and Pixie likes to use watercolor pencils, but you can certainly use crayons or markers,too. If you would like to watercolor a butterfly, you can cut a piece of watercolor paper 8 1/2″ x 11″ and run it through your printer or trace it onto watercolor paper. I intentionally made the lines light, so they could be traced over later. Here is the design printed on watercolor paper. The pattern can be found HERE.
And here is my finished painting framed.
Many of you have mentioned that you want to try watercoloring but don’t know where to begin. Before last summer, I dreamed of watercoloring but just couldn’t get started. Trust me when I tell you that I know I’m no great talent, and because of that I probably have no right giving instructions! If you are an accomplished watercolor artist, simply be amused and kind 🙂 I’m just a newbie, sharing my adventures with my friends 🙂 So, for what it’s worth, here’s how I went about painting my butterfly. If you’ve been tentative to get started, I hope this helps to inspire you to start painting!
I began by watering down some purple paint. I wanted it very translucent. I used a wet brush with clean water to wet just the area of one wing. I then applied the purple paint, using a crumpled paper towel to pull away some color by dabbing it. I wanted the colors to be uneven. Start light. You can always add more color. Note: don’t worry if you go over the lines or leave a little unpainted. It actually makes the watercolors look better! You can be messy 🙂 Also, we have an inkjet printer, and the ink can run a bit when you get the lines wet. Laser printers usually don’t have this problem. Don’t worry about it. You will pull some of the ink off when you dab you paper, and the rest of it works into the paint. Unless you were trying to get a very light color, you probably won’t notice it at all when you are done.
I then did the same to all four wings.
I then layer on some watered down blue paint, follow by gold paint, pulling some color away with a crumpled paper towel as I went along. Remember, start light and you can always add more color. Do the body and head in the same manner.
After the butterfly was dry, I wet down an area of the painting making sure not to get the butterfly wet. I did about a quarter of the page at a time. When you wet an area first, the colors glide across the surface, and prevent brush markers and blobs of intense color.
I then add yellow paint, using a paper towel to pull away color. Notice how spotty the paint is.
After I painted the entire background yellow, I went over it again with gold, pulling away color with the paper towel. Again, notice the uneven finish. I then used a deep purple, and the back of a paint brush, and added dots to the wings.
After the painting was dry, I used my Pigma Micron 01 pen to add detail. I VERY LIGHTLY went over most of the black lines, allowing my pen to skip across parts.If you look closely you’ll see many of my lines are broken. I then added antenna, lines on the body, and a little shading on the head, tail and bottom wing tips.
The painting looked a little boring, so I decided to add some flowers. To do this I simply mixed up a few different shades of orange, and carelessly painted blobs of color over the page. Notice the different intensity and concentration of color. When the orange was dry, I went around and added blobs of green for leaves.
To define the flowers, I added 5 petals near the edge of the orange blobs, and a partial circle in the inside. Notice folks… not even close to outlining the flowers. There’s orange paint everywhere!
Next, I added a simple leaf shape around the green.
Finally, I went through and add a single line detail to the leaves and 3 dots to the center of the flower.
And that is all there is to it. Taking it step by step, you’ll see it is easy to do, and you certainly do not need to be neat! Again, I am NOT a watercolor instructor. I’m just sharing with you what I did, and hope it is a starting point for you or your children to get started with watercolors. Enjoy! And if you paint one, feel free to share a photo, along with your experience, in our comments. Would love to see your work!
BTW… it’s amazing how much better your work looks if you mat and frame it 🙂
Coloring Page can be found HERE.