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Watercolor Layering

Watercolor Layering

Hi All,

I was contemplating doing some actual watercolor art – the framed kind. So, I watched a bunch of YouTube videos posted by professional watercolor artists. The biggest lesson I learned is that artists layer their color, which produces beautiful results. I decided to try it out with this flower, so I used 4 Zig colors – flesh, lemon yellow, light carmine, and carmine. It definitely makes it more interesting to have a variety of color. Here is a close-up:

Watercolor Layering

The reason why this video is so long is because I did what you all have told me you prefer – I left the screw-ups in. Yes, it was a disastrous mess that kept going on and on. Can you tell from the photo? Anyway, hopefully it will either entertain you or teach you something – or both. 🙂 If you want to skip the incident, just fast forward to 14:15 in the video.




To purchase at Ellen Hutson, click the EH link. To purchase at Simon Says Stamp, click the SSS link.
Zig markers used: Flesh color, lemon yellow, light carmine, carmine red, deep green, light green, light blue, black

Technique Tuesday Hibiscus
Woodland Gifts
Woodland Gifts
Kuretake Zig Markers
Kuretake Zig Markers
SSS Stitched Circles
SSS Stitched Circles
Stampin' Up! Aqua Painter
Aqua Painter
SSS Woodgrain Cardstock
SSS White Woodgrain
Strathmore Bristol Paper
Strathmore Bristol Paper
Versafine Black Onyx Ink
Versafine Black Ink
Versamark Ink Pad
Versamark Ink
Hero Arts White Embossing Powder
Hero Arts White Embossing Powder
Scotch Foam Tape
Scotch Foam Tape
Stampin' Up! Dimensionals
ATG Tape Runner
ATG Tape Runner


  1. wrote on October 21st, 2016 at 6:28 am


    Well, when I first looked at the card, I could not see anything wrong with it. I’m usually very good at picking up a mistake or typo. But nothing stood out. However, after the video and I knew exactly where the problem had occurred, my eye kept going straight back to the spot. However, it really wasn’t obvious. It was just that I knew where it was. So the moral of the story is don’t tell anyone where you goof up and they’ll never know! LOL! I liked this layering technique very much and also the stamp with the dots to show you the shadow areas would really come in handy. It’s a lovely card too, of course. But, that goes without saying (smile)!

  2. wrote on October 21st, 2016 at 7:45 am


    Since the flower is so bright, my eye wasn’t drawn to the mistake. Great explanation of watercoloring using layers. I think the same method is done for colored pencils, but starting light and building up the color.

  3. wrote on October 21st, 2016 at 11:10 am


    Beautiful card! I’m not sure I have that much patience. Maybe I will try it later. Thanks Darlene.

  4. wrote on October 21st, 2016 at 1:08 pm


    It was helpful to watch your entire process. How long did it take? I worry about my patience level too, but you made it look like something I COULD do…:) I didn’t notice the extra bluish/purple either. Even after I knew it was there, it didn’t stand out very much at all on the final card. Thank you for sharing…have a fun day!

    • wrote on October 22nd, 2016 at 11:07 am

      Darlene DeVries

      Hi Vicky. If you exclude the time spent on the fix, I would say the actual coloring part took 15-20 minutes. I let it dry in between layers.

  5. wrote on October 21st, 2016 at 2:18 pm


    I initial and date my cards on the back as every Artist should. My favorite stamp- which goes on the back with my initials and date says:” Any imperfections in this hand-made article are intentional”
    I have told (rude) people, who insist on pointing out mistakes, one of two things : “It’s supposed to be like that” or, ” Thank you for noticing, please show me the next card YOU make :)”( She said oh-so-sweetly) hahaha

    • wrote on October 21st, 2016 at 3:04 pm

      D Furlong

      Then there is the person (a favorite aunt) who, when presented with my sister’s beautiful handmade card years ago, responded, “Oh…..you couldn’t afford to buy one,”…….. with not a mean intent in her words. She grew up during the depression and always carried those lessons with her.

      • wrote on October 21st, 2016 at 3:30 pm


        Oh, I understand that completely! My mother-in-law even after being in Canada for over 60 years still thinks in German/Polish. I don’t think she really knows how to express emotion, but, no matter how many cards I give her- birthday, Christmas, 65th Anniversary!!! she says the same thing- “that’s a nice card- where did you buy it? ”
        I am talking about arts/crafts/artist wanna-be’s who just can’t see the work or talent involved in any kind of endeavor. As I said- show me the next card YOU make- without errors! I
        When I lived in Iran I bought a couple Persian carpets, and one of the sellers told me that there is always a mistake deliberately made in the weaving. Why? Because “nothing is perfect but God (Allah)).I try to keep that in my mind every time I make something! <3

        • wrote on October 21st, 2016 at 5:28 pm

          D Furlong

          I laughed out loud at your mother-in-law’s repeating comment. And the imperfection built into every carpet is a deeply felt tradition……thanks for the smiles.

        • wrote on October 22nd, 2016 at 11:10 am

          Darlene DeVries

          Carole, I love that story about the carpet. So true, and something to keep in mind. 🙂

      • wrote on October 21st, 2016 at 3:53 pm


        Ah yes! 🙂

  6. wrote on October 21st, 2016 at 2:37 pm


    Great video (including the little mess) – true to life! I like how you simplified the process and showed it step by step, all in 15 minutes.

  7. wrote on October 21st, 2016 at 2:49 pm


    Hey Darlene, beautiful card! Thank you for showing this layering of water color…I thoroughly enjoyed it! And btw, I totally didn’t see your “mistake.” I love your attitude about it being handmade; that’s what I need to remember when making my cards.

    Thanks again!

  8. wrote on October 21st, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Whimsical Creations

    Beautiful card and nope, didn’t even notice till I watched the video. But sincerely THANK YOU for leaving the boo-boo in there; makes us realize you ARE human. 😉

    Still gorgeous!!

  9. wrote on October 21st, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    D Furlong

    Your introductory (written) comment about leaving the “disastrous” screw-up in the video triggered an immediate urge to see it. Although your card videos are inspirational, allowing us to see your mistakes is another form of helpful instruction. Thank you.

  10. wrote on October 21st, 2016 at 3:53 pm


    Darlene – this is another stunningly beautiful card! I thought at first perhaps you were going to just add a slight purple tint to the background all around the card! But I agree – it is NOT evident! We are our own biggest critics, aren’t we? And I am always so pleased and grateful when I receive a hand made card or gift!

  11. wrote on October 21st, 2016 at 4:47 pm


    well Darlene, I love this card and video. So I really appreciate getting the benefit of your learning from those videos and then teaching us. Hopefully my own watercolour attempts will improve as a result. The different coloured layers just added so much depth and beauty it was crazy. I had no idea at all where the mistake would be, honestly I didn’t but I was so curious I had to keep watching the video to find it. After the video I didn’t pay any attention to the blemish. I do notice my own errors glaring out at me almost in neon lights, and once in a while I notice it in others creations though would never ever be so rude to point it out. Those would be more noticeable glitches though, like the greeting is quite crooked or something like that. Most often I don’t see the errors other people make because my first reaction is joyful, as in “oh my, that is so thoughtful or so beautiful or both!”. After that thought, I hold on to that and don’t look for any blemishes, as I’ve already made up my mind it is wonderful and made me happy to look at it. I like thinking like that and just wish I could do it for my own creations lol….making and occasionally getting to receive handmade gifts are always my favourite and always will be because it’s the thought that counts. I think we’re the lucky ones as crafters to realize that and unfortunate for those others that don’t. And yes, I like learning from your mistakes as well as my own.

  12. wrote on October 21st, 2016 at 5:57 pm


    Darlene, I thoroughly enjoyed this video. The finished card is stunning. I have never looked for a mistake or blemish on any card that I have received. I get a thrill with every card handmade or shop bought. To me it is the thought that counts.

  13. wrote on October 21st, 2016 at 6:00 pm


    Darlene, I agree with the others. If I didn’t know where to look for your boo-boo, I wouldn’t notice it. Thank you for leaving it in, though. I kept waiting for a card-ruining catastrophe, but I don’t think this was so bad in the end. 🙂 Love the colors you used. I have never thought to layer my Zig markers. I usually do it with my Inktense pencils, especially for skin tones. I may have to try it with the markers. Thanks for sharing your talent! 🙂 ~ Andrea

  14. wrote on October 21st, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    Laura Norris

    I didn’t notice the mistake before the video, and I was even looking for it! Great card Darlene, and I think you are a ‘real’ watercolorist?

  15. wrote on October 21st, 2016 at 7:57 pm


    Mistake? What mistake?

    • wrote on October 22nd, 2016 at 11:12 am

      Darlene DeVries


    • wrote on October 24th, 2016 at 6:28 pm

      Carol Mac


  16. wrote on October 21st, 2016 at 8:03 pm


    Your card was lovely. I did not notice your “mistake” until you mentioned it. A Mr. Clean eraser dampened will pick up watercolor if it is not a staining color. The more transparent the color, the easier it is to lift it with the eraser. I learned this trick from Angela Fehr on YouTube. She is a wonderful watercolorist and a good teacher. You might enjoy checking out her videos if you do not know of her.

    • wrote on October 25th, 2016 at 8:25 am


      Thanks for this tip. We don’t have Mr Clean magic erasers in Australia but we have something identical. I’ll also be checking out Angela Fehr. It’s always good to see other artists!

  17. wrote on October 21st, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    Kylie Adams

    I have to say, I did not notice your little mistake when I first looked at the card. I only noticed it in the close up after I read that you’d made a mistake – I had to take a really good look to find it though!! It is a beautiful card regardless and I loved seeing how you did the watercolouring.

  18. wrote on October 22nd, 2016 at 3:50 am


    Darlene, I love this card, and the mistake isn’t really a mistake in the end. Watercolored images are supposed to be… like that… And I like it how you left the black frame out this time… very pretty! Please give us more watercoloring videos : )

  19. wrote on October 22nd, 2016 at 7:06 pm


    Your card is beautiful and honestly, I didn’t notice the mistake until I watched the video. I love watching your videos and have learned so much from them. I really appreciate the helpful tips and advice! Thanks!

  20. wrote on October 23rd, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    Susan Berry

    Hi Darlene, I love the card and no i did not notice your mishap on the card. Than when you said you made a mistake, but I was glad you kept it in and showed us tips on how to fix our own mistakes. Thanks, I learn so much from your videos.

  21. wrote on October 23rd, 2016 at 2:19 pm


    Darlene I could watch you create cards all day long! What a pleasure to see you in action. This card is lovely, and you are so good to share your “mishappys” with us. Thank you for your careful instruction and candor.

  22. wrote on November 3rd, 2016 at 9:18 pm


    Like many others I too did not notice the boo boo until you spoke about it. Beautiful card and controlled use of markers made for another inspirational video. I look forward to my weekly fix of you. Thanks for sharing

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