It’s always fun to make seasonal art projects and, as its December, I’m going to share how I create this simple winter wreath with a holiday message! For this piece I’ll be using the Derwent Inktense pencils which are wonderfully vibrant in colour and easy to use – both wet and dry!
If you’ve been wanting to get into watercolours, the Inktense pencils are a great introduction because you can enjoy the control of a pencil and get the look of loose and lovely paints!
To get started, grab a piece of watercolour paper, I’m using 140 lb hot pressed. You can use any paper you like, but I find watercolour paper bleeds less and holds the colours better!
Sketch out a circular shape in the centre of the paper, and then mark a few smaller circles along the outline. These smaller circles indicate where the flowers will be.
Now that a basic wreath shape is mapped out, the hard work is done and it’s time to start drawing! I like to start with the leaves. Pick one leaf shape (say, small ovals) and sketch out some branches with oval leaves beside each flower (or circle).
Next, working in a different shade of green, choose a second leaf shape (say, long and thin like pine needles) and add more branches to the larger wreath. Continue filling the wreath in further; grab a third green pencil (or begin to mix colours) and add yet another leaf or branch variation.
Have fun filling in the wreath and don’t worry about getting things perfect! The wreath illustration looks nice when you let it get a little wonky. Mine is far from symmetrical!
Once you’re done with the leaf illustrations, grab a pink and red pencil and colour-in the flowers by drawing a thick spiral. The more ‘perfectly imperfect’ the spirals are, the better! You might also add some smaller flowers or berries to your wreath at this point. (I added a few tiny yellow berries for contrast). If you start with light colours on the base and layer, dark shades on top you can create a real sense of shape.
If you move your pencil in curves or circular shapes, you can also create a sense of shape and depth. With the flowers, leaves and berries done, take a step back from your wreath and look for any spots that may need a bit of filling in. Add more branches and berries where you like.
Once you’re happy with the illustration, it’s time to bring this medium to life! Get a glass of clean water, a small paint brush, and some paper towel for blotting. Take some water in your paint brush and apply it to your drawing. When the water hits the Inktense pencil medium it immediately turns it into a beautiful ink that you can manipulate and paint with.
I like to ‘paint’ each colour separately, starting with the green leaves and moving on to the colourful flowers.
Because you’ve already illustrated the wreath the way you like, you don’t have to worry about painting something ‘wrong’. Have fun moving the ink around on the page; let loose and see what the water can do for your wreath!
Allow your art to dry completely. Then, if you like, you can add a black outline to the flowers and larger leaves. For this step I used the Derwent Graphik Black Line Maker.
Finish your wreath with a poem, quote, or holiday greeting. Write the words in pencil first, then go over them with a black Inktense pencil. Using a tiny detail brush, carefully add water to the message. And that’s it!
Wreaths and botanicals are always a favourite subject of mine, and they’re perfectly festive and lovely at this time of year. You could make a small version of this for your Christmas cards, or create a beautiful hand lettered quote to give as a gift! Either way, I wish you happy holiday painting!
Shayda Campbell is an artist and YouTube content creator. She has over 150 art tutorials on her channel and new videos are released every Friday! http://www.youtube.com/shaydacampbell.