Today, Little One is going on a hike with her little friends!  Babysitting her tiny little relative from Japan and bringing baby bunny along too.  They came across a colourful grotto and wondering what it could be about.  Don’t worry, it’s not too dark and scary in there at all.  They’re properly being looked after by their friendly guide.  And how sweet and happy they all look!  So of course, when I created a special effect with my watercolours,  the grotto expedition came to mind…

Special Effects with Watercolour

I began by stretching and taping down my watercolour paper and let it all dry.  Then I got hold a bottle of some rather runny masking fluid and splattered some dots all over the paper.  Once I let that dry, I brushed on some watercolour, making random patterns using Dr. Ph Martin’s Hydrus Liquid Watercolors in red, orange and yellow.  I finally sprinkled some table salt on top of the paint whilst wet.  It is important that the paints are still wet when sprinkling salt and completely dry before removing them for the trick to be effective!

I let the salt harden and dry for a couple of hours.  It’s quite a hit and miss when it comes to salt sprinkling, but this time I have to say I was rather lucky!  Can  you see where the salt has been?  It takes practice to do it and I hope I have by now mastered the knack of it!  Oh and don’t forget to remove the hardened masking fluid too!  What fun that is as well, as you peel it from the paper.


Drawing Little One and Friends

I was determined again to include some kawaii characters in this piece.  Perhaps I was in the mood for it and seeing all the cute white round dots from the masking fluid patterns amid the bright colours, it was definitely fit for some anime drawing!  This time, I wanted to experiment using some India Ink.  This type of ink is quite strongly pigmented which makes it a lovely media to work on top of watercolour.  Besides, it’s waterproof so does not bleed or drag along with the underlying water-based paint.  The ink I used was the extensive range by Dr. Ph Martin’s Bombay Ink.  Rather than a brush, I used a bamboo nib which gives a wonderful “calligraphy” result.


I originally considered gouache, but I’ve used them already and was curious to experiment with something new!  Here, I began by penciling in the outlines. and halfway through tracing them over with India Ink I realised I had forgotten to take a photo of the pencil sketch.  But here you go:


Colouring in with India Ink

Using the nib and ink was not difficult, thanks to my school days when we were taught to use a fountain pen and master the use of dipping the pen in the ink bottle.  Good old times!  Unfortunately, I went overboard with Little One’s hair which, though annoying, gave me no choice but to continue and improvise.  “So her hair got messy because it was windy outside”, suggested my boyfriend to console me.  To colour in the clothes, hair and bunny, I merely added a few drops carefully on the area and spread it around with my ring finger or pinky.  I think that gives a more interesting dimension than a brush would in terms of resulting in a deliberate uneven coverage.  As a finishing touch, I glued on a pair of flower shapes I had made on some origami paper using a craft punch.  And now!


Apart from the little catastrophe with the hair, I very much enjoyed this challenge.  Combining watercolour with India Ink is something new to me, and it’s always fun to try something out.  Amazingly, it worked out beautifully.  I’m also pleased that the salt trick with the watercolour turned out as I wanted, and now I know what to do in future.  In addition, I am happy how the colour scheme blends the characters and background together.  And looking at the painting, the girls and the bunny really look like they’re having a wonderful time!  And how about some close ups:


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