Gradual Rainbow Lettering

blog post video tutorial create a gradual rainbow effect using watercolor lettering

I’ve got a fun and colorful tutorial for you today to go along with the 2018 Watercolor and Lettering Challenge.

I’m gonna show you how to go from a sketch to this finished watercolor piece, creating this colorful gradual rainbow effect.

So grab some paper, pencil eraser, and a light pad if you have one, if you don’t, you can use a sunny window to transfer your sketch to your watercolor paper.

As we all know watercolor paper can get expensive, so to avoid wasting any unnecessary money,

I always use a light pad for transferring my sketch to the final watercolor paper.

You can say that a lighted will eventually pay for itself because you won’t be wasting as much expensive paper when using one.

start by sketching out your lettering idea

STEP 1:  Grab some regular printer paper, nothing expensive or fancy. And start sketching out your words. This is where you will figure out how many will fit on a line, and how they all fit together. You don’t want to have too much white space in between lines of text or too little. It’s got to have a nice balance.

Also, keep in mind the size of the brush you will be using. Since a brush is thicker than a pencil you need to space out your letters a little further apart to leave room for those thick downstrokes.

use a light pad to make changes to your layout

STEP 2: So now that I have my first sketch I want to make some more changes to it, so I grab my light pad. I place the first sketch on the bottom and a new sheet of paper on top, and just trace over the letters, keeping ones I like and changing any placement or shape of others.

I’m gonna keep doing this with just printer paper until I am satisfied with the layout.

Then I grab my watercolor paper and place that on top of the final sketch. I don’t use a pencil to transfer it to the watercolor paper. I just leave it there and use paint straight on there.

You can always tape in in place to make sure you don’t accidentally move it.

watercolor lettering

STEP 3: To create this watercolor rainbow effect you need to premix the colors first.

This is super important, you don’t want to be mixing and looking for colors while you're lettering. So always have some ready to go.

watercolor lettering

STEP 4: Ok, let’s get started. Choose the first color and start lettering, depending on how many colors you’ll be using and how many words you have you might do this a little bit differently.

But since I have 5 lines of text I have some room to mix.

I will do the whole first word with one color and then slowly transiting to the next.

I do this by adding the second color, green in this example to the yellow, slowly, adding more and more green to my yellow until I feel like it’s totally green, then I just dip the brush straight into green.

rainbow watercolor lettering

STEP 5: After a few letters of pure green I slowly add the blue to the green, which will gradually create a teal color, then after a while of teal I dip into pure blue, and again the same with purple.

Gradually adding your second color to your first color will create this smooth transition.

If you just dip into your second color right away you will end up with a drastic transition from one color to the next.

first test run with the watercolor

TIP: This will take some time to figure out, I always do a test run first too. To see how fast I need to do my mixing. You can see my test here. I also didn’t want to finish the last whole line with blue so I decided to add in that purple at the end.

watercolor lettering
the best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today. TwoEasels hand lettering with watercolor


And this is all done, I also added some splattering at the end to make it a bit more messy.

 I hope you enjoyed today’s quick tutorial and I hope to see your rainbow lettering soon.

See below for links to the supplies I used. 

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