Creating Spring Calligraphy with the Inktense Paint Pan Set and Shayda Campbell

Hello! My name is Shayda Campbell and today I’ll be using the Derwent Inktense Paint Pan Travel Set to create a floral watercolour piece that’s perfect for spring. This is a simple afternoon project that anyone can do (and be successful with!) The Inktense Paint Pan Set is easy to use and it’s compact enough to put in your pocket and pull out whenever creativity strikes and you just have to get your paint on!

A floral piece like this one is a wonderful project for the beginner watercolour artist. The forms of flowers and leaves are so common that you can abstract them as much or as little as you like and they will remain recognizable to your viewer. So you can free yourself of the stress of ‘getting it right’. You don’t need to worry about painting a perfect flower; instead you can focus on the way the brush feels in your hand. And as you paint leaves and vines, think about the pressure that you apply to the paper. In one moment you use only the lightest touch, just the delicate fine point of the brush; in another moment, you smoosh the belly of the brush across the page forming large leaves and petals.

Alright. I’m done with the painting poetics. Let me show you how this piece comes together. First, I started by mixing up a lovely dark green. The paint set comes with a palette in the lid as well as a water brush, so you really do have everything you need at your fingertips, no matter where you happen to be. I used the water brush to mix my colour and then I began my piece by painting some leaves on the page. I started with larger, basic leaf shapes and filled in the perimeter of my piece, leaving the centre blank.

Next, I added some more detailed botanical shapes. I used the palette to mix a slightly warmer green and painted smaller, finer leaves in different shades to create some visual interest.

After I had created a perimeter of greenery on my piece, I mixed up a deep violet and began to add some floral shapes. If you are attempting a flowery watercolour like this one, keep in mind that the shape of a flower is a very vague thing. A flower rarely looks like the four or five petal icon that we see so often. A good swoosh of your water brush across the paper will produce an organic shape that will almost certainly look more like a real flower than that familiar set of petals. Adding the details of a stamen and/or a stem will help your organic flower to come to life.

I decided to expand my colour palette a little further and finished my botanical painting with a few light pink flowers and leaves. (Again, I left the middle area blank and just filled out the border).

Finally, I used black paint and the water brush to write ‘Bloom’ in a brush script in the centre of the piece. The water brush is a great lettering tool. You can easily add pressure for a thicker stroke or lighten your pressure to get those thin, delicate up-strokes. The water brush also makes it easy to attain that pretty watery translucent look in each letter. I tried to make my letters opaque at the top and lighter towards the bottom. Having water in your brush makes it easy to add the right amount of water to the form of each letter and I think the result is quite pretty!

I hope you’ll give this springtime floral painting a try. The Derwent Inktense Paint Pan Set has quality pigment watercolour pans that you can carry in your pocket and take just about anywhere! I’ll be using mine on the seashore this summer. But until then, I’ll be hanging my ‘Bloom’ on the fridge and just hoping for spring!

Shayda Campbell teaches ‘perfectly imperfect’ watercolour painting, illustration and bullet journaling on YouTube at See more of her work at and