AspireColor Watercolor Brush Pens Tutorial: Holiday Ornaments
Updated: May 18
By Anita HartCarroll of VeryCreate.com
A big thank you to Anita for creating this beautiful step-by-step tutorial with our new AspireColor Watercolor Brush Pens Set! We hope you enjoy it! Anita includes great tips and techniques to get the most out of your new watercolor brush pens.
Working with AspireColor Watercolor Brush Pens is a joy and so fun! I love how vibrant and responsive they are. The enclosed watercolor paper is great as well. It doesn’t pill up for very wet washes and reacts to the ink colors beautifully! Just slightly textured, it is perfect for dry brush effects without being too coarse for fine details.
All you need to create this fun holiday ornament painting is the AspireColor Watercolor Brush Pens Set (which includes a wonderful watercolor tablet), a fine pencil, one coated paper plate for a palette, and a paper towel for blotting.
I prefer to blend my watercolors with a soft sable round watercolor brush pen size 6, but you could opt to use the included empty watercolor pen.
I always pull out one sheet of the same paper that I’m going to paint on to use as tester page to sample strokes, colors and adjust the amount of water I’m using to get the perfect watered down color.
Step One: Download and Trace Ornament Pattern
Download the pattern and darken the lines so that you can trace over it. Tape the pattern to a window and layer one sheet of AspireColor watercolor paper over the top, centering. Using a fine, very, very light pencil, draw in the pattern directly on the watercolor paper, making sure to use the lightest pressure possible. Avoid erasing if at all possible, to keep the paper in pristine shape.
Step Two: Mercury Glass Indent Ornament
Assemble these colors: Lemon Yellow, Mango, Ginger, Red Orange, Black, Rustic Brown, Cerulean Blue, Magenta
Paint lightest to darkest on all ornaments, as ink watercolors stain the paper and once applied, you can’t remove it.
Using Lemon Yellow, paint the gold ornament, making sure to leave the whitest areas empty. You don’t need to fill in color solid, like a coloring book. Instead use a dry brush application or a light stroke application and liquefy the paint with a bit of water, making sure you leave the white areas alone.
Darken areas with a second layer of color.
In center indentation, draw in spokes of the glass with Lemon Yellow, making sure to leave some areas white. Do the same on the same with Mango on the left side of the indentation.
Add Magenta, (just a tiny star shape) in the center. Add tiny blots of Cerulean Blue on the right side spokes.
Add Mango to the left rim of the indent, and with jagged tiny lines, on the right side. Layer on Ginger for left spokes.
Add Peach to lower left bulb and right inside indentation, leaving some spots white.
Using Rustic Brown, paint left rim of indent and a few spokes in center. Paint right side of the hanger stem, right shadow under the bulb and some under lower ring. Using Ginger, paint the cap and shade with Rustic Brown.
Using Yellow Brown, add just a couple of lines on the spokes of the indent and in the center of the hanging cap.
Step Three: Candy Cane Ornament
Assemble colors: Dark Green, Crimson, Fern, Stormy Sea and Orange Red
This ornament is a bit fiddly, meaning you will need to draw in the colors with just the tips of the hairs of the brushes and have a steady hand. Using Red Orange, draw in the right and left sides of the stripes, leaving plenty of white paper untouched in the center of each stripe.
Use a barely wet and blotted soft round brush to tickle the edges of the paint into the white area in very small strokes, always leaving the center alone to preserve the white of the paper. Rinse your brush often, then blot to slightly damp. The inks will liquefy very easily in some colors, and the reds especially liquefy super easy.
Darken edges of red stripes with Crimson.
Make a few strokes on a paper plate with Stormy Sea. Using a soft round brush that is dipped in water, water down the Stormy Sea until you can test stroke a very pale blue-grey color.
Learn from my mistake! Don’t apply the blue close to the red, or the red will re-liquefy and blur out. Instead, apply your watered blue color right up to the red, but leave a hair pure white paper between the shadows and the red. Damp brush blend out any hard lines.
Using Fern, paint the ribbon, leaving white areas alone. Paint Dark Green for the shadow in the ribbon.
Damp blend, swiping brush on a paper towel often, and rinsing and blotting when needed.
With Stormy Sea, and with just the very tips of just a few hairs of the brush, draw in a thin line on the far right lower ribbon, under the knot and the back piece of ribbon behind the candy cane.
Wait five minutes to be sure everything is very dry and then erase any sketch pencil lines.
Step Four: Blue Swirl Ornament
Lay a clean piece of scratch paper over your completed ornaments to avoid accidental slips of color, or oils from your hand.
Assemble colors: Rustic Brown, Ginger, Dark Blue, Cerulean, Magenta, Lilac and Boysenberry.
The Boysenberry color doesn’t liquefy easily, so we’ll use a technique wherein we’ll re-wet with clear water and layer colors over it later.
Using Cerulean Blue and the damp-blending technique, paint the outer edges of the blue sections. Blend out and blot to remove any hard edges, keeping the white sections untouched paper.
Using Dark Blue, darken the right and left edges of the blue sections.
Going one section at a time, lightly wet a blue section with plain water and while it is still damp, layer on Cerulean Blue again, blending with the tips of the brush hairs and blotting to avoid the dreaded watercolor ‘blooming’ effect.
Wait about five minutes for the blue sections to thoroughly dry. Using Lilac, for all but the center highlights in rows 2 and 3, color in the swirl ridges. See photo:
Add Magenta for the darkest shading on the swirls. Damp blend out and tickle blend into a second layer of color, if the lines are too hard-edged.
Color the metal cap Ginger and shade with Rustic Brown. Draw in the hanging wire with Snowy Blue.
Step Four: Fir Bows and Nails
Assemble colors: Fog, Black, Rustic Brown, Fern, Leaf Green, Yellow Brown, Bright Green and Dark Green AspireColor Watercolor Brush Pens
Color in nails with Fog. Shade the hanging wire at the top with Black, and the right side of each nail head. Using Rustic Brown, hint at the bow bark stems in a few areas.
Don’t make the lines identical! Each segment of the fir bows needs to be unique and not a copycat of each other. Change directions of the needles and crisscross over each other, varying the length of the needles, the clumping and the direction. No parallel lines and not formal fan-shapes.
Start the needles with Yellow Brown, varying location, direction and shapes. Then add Leaf Green and Fern. See photo:
Add a few needles of Bright Green, using the same guidelines as in the ProTip. Lastly, using Dark Green, finish off the needles, making sure you have covered any gaps in the brown bark stem areas. Feather a few strokes over the blue swirl ornament cap to create three dimensional illusion.
Take a phone picture of your finished artwork and print it off for color permanence or gift giving. Watercolor inks are not light-fast and may change color and intensity as they are exposed to light over time.
*We originally planned to launch this product in December in time for the holiday shopping season (thus the holiday theme). Due to port congestion resulting from the COVID-19 virus, our launch was delayed. Even though we're now into February, this tutorial is still a fun way to learn more about how to make the most of your AspireColor Watercolor Brush Pens and draw something beautiful!