Time Required :
About an hour
Intermediate
Intermediate
You're somewhat experienced with the skills necessary to complete this project, but you haven't mastered all the elements, yet.

watercolor pencil holiday card

Brighten up someone's day by gifting this bright and cheery homemade Christmas card. Learn how to draw and paint these holiday cards with Winsor & Newton Studio Collection Watercolour Pencils.
Step 1

Cover your work surface with a disposable covering and fill a glass or cup with water.

Step 2

Cut a 10" x 14" [25.4 cm x 35.5 cm] sheet of watercolor paper in half to measure 10" x 7" [25.4 cm x 17.7 cm] in size.

Step 3

Score the backside of the watercolor paper with a #2 pencil, and working on the backside of the watercolor paper, draw a small dot marking the 5" [12.7 cm] mark on the middle of the paper and on each long side of the paper. Then, using a ruler and a #2 pencil, draw a horizontal line to connect the three dots to mark the middle of the paper where the greeting card will be folded in half. Place a ruler along the line and while pressing down on the ruler with one hand and using the other hand to control the butter knife, use the non-sharp side of a butter knife and moderate pressure to score the paper by running it along one side to the other.
TIP: This will create a nicer looking fold line when the project is finished, but do not fold the paper along the scored line now. This will happen at the very end to make it easier to work on top of the paper.

Step 4

Working on the bottom half of the right side of the watercolor paper, freehand draw the lights and lettering using a #2 pencil or click here to download an outline to use as a guide. The outline can be transferred onto the working paper by using a lightbox or a well-lit window.

Step 5

Use masking fluid and a toothpick to draw thin lines for the highlight on the right side of each light. Do this by placing only the very tip of the toothpick into the masking fluid and lightly place the tip of the wet toothpick onto the bottom of each highlight, gently moving the toothpick upward to deposit the masking fluid in a thin line. To create some movement from bulb to bulb, feel free to skip over parts of the highlight with the masking fluid or make some parts of the highlight thicker than others. Now apply a thin line of the masking fluid just above each of the two horizontal lines that are in the cap of each light. Do not apply masking fluid to the lines that were drawn when drawing or transferring the outline but place the masking fluid just above the graphite lines to function as a highlight.

Step 6

While the masking fluid is drying, use an illustration pen size 0.5mm to carefully draw over the outline on only one of the two strings. The other string will be created using a watercolor pencil. Using the illustration pen, size 0.5mm, carefully draw over the outline for the lettering. For thicker parts of the lettering, using the photo as a guide, use an illustration pen size 1.0mm.

Step 7

Using the black watercolor pencil with a sharp point and normal handwriting pressure, carefully draw over the outline for the other string of lights using a hatching stroke. Maintain an even point by rotating your pencil every few strokes. Try to go over each section of the string only once to maintain an even string width. Wet the Winsor & Newton Cotman Round #0 brush with water, wipe off excess water on the rim of your glass, and then apply the brush to the string where watercolor pencil was just applied.
TIP: A Hatching Stroke is performed by making a line or series of lines that run in the same direction. To perform this stroke, draw a line, pick up your pencil, draw another line that runs in the same direction and repeat. 

Step 8

Using the black watercolor pencil with a sharp point and slightly heavier than handwriting pressure, outline the entire left and bottom sides of each cap, only the left half of the top of the cap, and the two horizontal lines within each cap. Using the black watercolor pencil, with a sharp point and normal handwriting pressure, add color to the left 2/3 of each cap, leaving the right 1/3 without pigment. Wet the Winsor & Newton Cotman Round #2 brush with water, wipe off excess water, and work one cap to completion before moving on and working on the next cap. Work from light value to dark value on each cap. Begin by moving your wet brush in a back and forth manner, first to the right side of the cap without dry pigment and then move the wet brush toward the middle of the cap with dry pigment. When the dry pigment in the middle of the cap is activated with water and turned into paint, the paint will start to bleed and move into the wetted right side of the cap to create a light gray value. Continue working your brush toward the left of the cap, and once all dry pigment is dissolved, stop moving your brush on the cap and start working on the next one.
TIP: In this step, it may be hard to work around the masking fluid applied previously. Try to avoid the masking fluid as best as you can, but it is okay if some of it lifts in this step.

Step 9

Use the finished picture as a guide to know the color of each bulb, or create your own color pattern. For each bulb, the color used in this step are as follows:

  • Orange Lights: Orange
  • Green Lights: Lush Green
  • Red Lights: Red
  • Blue Lights: True Blue
  • Yellow Light: Yellow
  • Purple Light: Plum 

For each color listed, use the sharp point on your pencil and rotate it every few strokes to maintain an even point. Use either a scumbling or back and forth stroke to apply the color, using normal handwriting pressure. Begin by applying a single, even layer of color to each bulb. Then, apply a second and third even layer of color to each bulb in the same manner you applied the first layer.
TIP: A Back and Forth Stroke is performed by going back and forth repeatedly with pencil. To perform this stroke, place your pencil on the paper and move it in a back and forth manner, either up and down or side to side, without picking up your pencil. A Scumbling Stroke is performed by making a series of circular strokes. To perform this stroke, make a series of overlapping circles and coils without picking up your pencil.

Step 10

Apply second color to the lights. For each bulb, the colors used in this step is as follows:

  • Orange Lights: Mandarin
  • Green Lights: Midnight Blue
  • Red Lights: Black
  • Blue Lights: Black
  • Yellow Light: Caramel
  • Purple Light: Royal Blue

For each color listed, use the sharp point on your pencil and rotate it every few strokes to maintain an even point. Use either a scumbling stroke or back and forth stroke to apply the color and use normal handwriting pressure. Begin by applying a single, even layer of color to only the left side of each bulb (the opposite side of the highlight) to create a line that is only 1/16" [0.15 cm] to 1/8" [0.31 cm] thick on the entire left side. Then, apply a second, even layer of color to only the orange, green, yellow, and purple lights. Black is a very influential color, so only one, even layer needs to be applied to the red and blue lights.

Step 11

The dry pigment on the lights will be activated with water to become watercolor paint. Work one light to completion before moving on to the next light. Start by wetting the Winsor & Newton Cotman Round #6 brush with water, wipe the brush only one time on one side, and then apply it to the right side edge of the bulb that sits to the right of the highlight. Move your brush in an up and down back and forth manner to dissolve the pigment and create a smooth watercolor paint. Rewet your brush and then blend the rest of the bulb in the same manner, working from the light value in the middle toward the dark value on the left side. A good amount of water on each light is necessary so that the kosher salt has enough liquid to work with in order achieve the right effect. If the paper is too dry, the effect from the salt will be minimal, so use as much water as you can while still maintaining control with your brush.
TIP: If the dark color on the left side bleeds too much to the middle, you can brush it back to the left side with your wet brush.

Immediately after finishing one light, pick up a generous pinch of kosher salt with your fingers (about ½ Tbsp.), and then carefully deposit it on top of the wet lightbulb. Carefully deposit it from a low distance to prevent the salt from splattering the wet paint. Work from one light to the next in the same manner listed above, always depositing kosher salt immediately after activating the dry pigment on each light and making sure to clean your brush in between each light. After every light has been finished, allow the watercolor paint to fully dry for 2 hours before removing the kosher salt or masking fluid.

Step 12

Once the paint is fully dry, turn the greeting card upside down to remove the loose kosher salt. For the kosher salt that sticks to the paper, use a paper towel and a gentle back and forth scrubbing motion to remove the remaining kosher salt. Use a new piece of paper towel to rub away the masking fluid by using a gentle back and forth motion over the masking fluid wherever it was applied. At this time, an eraser can be used to lift any graphite lines that are still visible from the original outline. Finally, fold the paper in half along the scored line to finish your greeting card.

Step 13

Add your own personal holiday greeting on the inside of the card using an illustrator pen. Once completed, the card can be inserted into an envelope and given to the recipient!

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Materials

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Materials
 

    Products

  • You’ll Need: 1
    Item # 10241132 

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    Item # 10410868 

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    $2.99
    • Color: White
    • Size: 54" x 108"
    • Color: White
    • Size: 54" x 108"
    • Color: White
    • Size: 54" x 108"
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  • 921769263
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    Item # 10597033 

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    • Color: Black
    • Size: 0.5 mm
    • Color: Black
    • Size: 0.5 mm
    • Color: Black
    • Size: 0.5 mm
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    Item # 10597038 

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    • Color: Black
    • Size: 1 mm
    • Color: Black
    • Size: 1 mm
    • Color: Black
    • Size: 1 mm
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Tools

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Tools
 

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  • You’ll Need: 1
    Item # 10064749 

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  • 845162643
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    Item # 10269097 

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    $5.49
    • Color: None
    • Size: 2/0
    • Color: None
    • Size: 2/0
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    Item # 10269103 

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    • Color: None
    • Size: 2
    • Color: None
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    Item # 10269105 

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    • Color: None
    • Size: 6
    • Color: None
    • Size: 6
    • Color: None
    • Size: 6
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You’ll Also Need
  • Winsor & Newton™ Studio Collection™ Water Colour Pencil Tin Set (10556832 or D206121S)
  • Winsor & Newton Watercolour Paper Cold Press 10"x14" (D255578S)
  • #2 Pencil
  • Toothpick
  • Butter Knife
  • Paper Towels
  • Disposable Cup
  • Water
  • Kosher Salt
  • Disposable Table Cloth
  • Computer
  • Printer
  • 1 - Winsor & Newton® Art Masking Fluid (SKU 10019868)
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