Ain't No Ninny

Where Creativity and Everyday Life Collide

Grungy Word Bubbles in Watercolor


I love watercolor paintings (done by someone else, of course).  I always make a muddy mess of watercolors when I paint.  But I want to learn, get better, maybe even paint something recognizable someday.

To start down that path, I am taking a couple of online watercolor workshops taught by Tammy Garcia of  The workshops (Watercolor Playground and Painted Paradise)  are not free but they are very reasonable for the amount of material Tammy provides.  And the course material will remain open until January 2015 so there is plenty of time to watch, practice, watch, practice some more, and watch again before the videos are closed.  The workshops start with the real basics, such as which types of watercolors, brushes, paper should be purchased, and end with you knowing how to mix, blend, design, and execute real paintings.

I am halfway through the first course (having learned how to mix and blend and separate paint.  The video I watched this week teaches us how to create grungy watercolor word bubbles using watercolors, a fineline pen, and Neocolor II crayons.

This was my first attempt:


The colors I selected for the bubbles and the Neocolor II crayons surrounding the bubbles caused some muddiness.  I forgot that red + green = muddy brown.  I also used a black Gel pen for the flower names inside the bubbles and the ink was just a little too harsh for the watercolors, I think.  Further, the painting looks a little clunky.  More practice needed!

This was my second attempt:

In this one I used only yellow, blue and green Neocolors for the grunge look between the bubbles (and more water to tone them down).  And I used a Staedtler Fineliner marker for the words inside the bubbles.  Overall, I like this second attempt better.  It is softer and more consistent.  Yes, it is colorful and, yes, it is grungy.  Mission accomplished!

The good thing about watercolors is that you are never completely in control.  That leads to all sorts of surprises (both good and bad).  But if you are not satisfied with a painting project, you can always cut the paper up and use it as colored collage paper for a mixed media project . . . which I am likely to do with these.  And I plan to practice this exercise again, and the next, and the next.

Until tomorrow, I hope there is a rainbow in your skies and loveliness in your eyes!


Author: aintnoninny

I write poetry and fiction; create doodle art; do genealogical research; take photographs of the world around me; think about odd things; hike the red rocks; and obsess on food.

2 thoughts on “Grungy Word Bubbles in Watercolor

  1. I love your grungy bubbles. I think even experienced watercolorists make mud at times. I’m not among the experienced so often make mud. I’ve found that allowing one colour to almost dry before adding the next helps and also avoiding having complementary colours next to each other.

  2. Thanks, Laura. When you are first starting out in a craft it is easy to be critical of one’s efforts. I appreciate your encouragement.

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