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Watercoloring, My 10-Step Process

It's been about two months since I started to work on the watercolor pieces that will make up the summer collection I plan to release in two months.

Spending so much time painting has led me to come up with a process to keep myself sane and organized because I get very easily overwhelmed. I know that artists get the rep that they're messy but I don't label myself as an artist mostly because I feel I have such a long way to go to get to where I want my art to be. And because I haven't earned that "artist" badge yet, I have to keep myself tidy lol

This is a breakdown of how I do that:

1. Set Up and Sketch

In my tiny studio apartment there isn't a ton of space to be messy or to keep a lot of stuff so I confine my creative space to my desk. When I get ready to start a new project I take out my sketchbook and a pencil and I pencil out some ideas. For inspiration I prop my phone up and display something similar to what's on my mind to paint.

2. Choose Colors

After I have a solid idea of what my piece is going to look like I move on to choosing my color palette. I have trouble distinguishing between reds so I try to stay clear of those if I can lol I like bright, contrasting colors. To aid in this part of the process I use a color wheel I printed out a while back. Then I swatch colors on a piece of watercolor paper to see how they look together. This is probably the longest part of the process, mostly because of my color issue.

3. Existential Crisis

This is an important part of the process. I allow myself to nap and play solitaire on my phone because I am afraid that when I start to paint it will be lame and no one will like it. Friends, I'm not even kidding when I tell you that I go through a whole existential crisis before I sit down to paint. Sometimes, I don't even paint for weeks after step 2.

4. Snap Out Of It

After all that, I sit down at my desk once again and get back to it. I look back over my sketches and the color palette and I think "okay, I can work with that."


Painting involves me outlining very lightly with pencil what my piece will look like. I choose my brushes, set up a cup with water and lay out some paper towels for cleaning and drying the brushes. Then I paint the first layer in very light watercolor, then I add another layer and another until it looks like what I had in mind.

6. Reward Myself With Dance Party

I then dance. My go to is "I Want to Dance with Somebody" by Whitney Houston. A classic.

7. Scan, Edit, Export

When the paint is dry as bone, I scan it at 300 dpi and open it up on Ps. I tweak the colors, remove the paper background and play around with it until it's to my liking. Sometimes i make it into a pattern and sometimes I leave it as a stand alone piece. Once it's done I export it as a PNG.

8. Try It On Different Objects

The product design process is my favorite! Seeing something I painted, on a mug or a comforter or a journal gives me all the HAPS! Usually, when I start painting I have an idea of what kind of object I want the piece to go on and sometimes through the product design step, I discover what else it would look good on.

9. Add Product to Shop

Adding the products to my shop is the most nerve racking part of the process. Once it's live in the shop, everyone can see it. I leave it there without telling anyone for a week. It is a secret.

10. Then I tell you Guys and Y'all Buy It!

This last step is sooooooo AMAZING! You all never disappoint in showing up and supporting little old me and my watercolor designs. Getting that email notification about an order going through makes my days! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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