How to Paint a Doodle
This painting was done in my little Strathmore Visual Journal. However, you could easily adapt the techniques to make larger paintings.
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I love to paint these simple floral abstracts. They are quick to do and lots of fun. Imagine producing a series of these, framing them and hanging them to brighten up a hallway.
The supplies required are minimal - you need:
- Watercolor paints in bright, vibrant colors
- Watercolor paper
- Brush - a medium round is fine
- Black fine liner pen
- White pen (optional)
Gather your supplies and we will begin.
Doodle a Design
Take your brush, wet it, load it with paint and make some loose shapes on the paper. I chose flowers, leaves and circles but you can do anything you like. Keep these first doodles very simple; if you make them too complicated, painting the background will be difficult.
Can you see where, Scribble, my cat, dragged her very fluffy tail across the stem of the vine on the left side? I think she was trying to help.
The paints I used for this painting are Peerless Watercolors. They are unusual in that the paint comes as a film impregnated onto paper. The paints were originally produced for coloring black & white photographs but are wonderful to use just like regular watercolor, giving a very transparent wash. They are also very reasonably priced - especially as I ordered them from the UK.
I've also painted these doodle paintings with acrylic paints. They have the added benefit of being capable of covering up mistakes.
Paint the Background
Make sure the doodles are dry and begin painting around the shapes. It doesn't have to be a perfect flat wash as you will be adding more doodles as you go along. It works better if you change color gradually, for example, allow blue to morph into purple or green, rather than orange. Putting a warm color next to a cool one when they are both wet runs the risk of it all turning into a muddy puddle.
Outline the Doodles
Using a waterproof, black fine liner pen, draw around the main doodle elements. It doesn't have to be too precise. Outlining the flowers (or whatever you have painted) with black pen really brings out the colors and you begin to get an idea of how the painting will turn out.
My favorite pens for this kind of drawing are my trusty Sakura Pigma Microns. I used an 05 for the main outlining and then later an 02 for the finer details. They work over most mediums so are ideal for your doodle art paintings.
If you aren't intending to make a habit of painting doodles, then any fine black pen will do the job as long as the ink isn't water-soluble.
This a fun part - well they're all fun parts really. Begin to draw smaller doodles around the large ones. Flowers, hearts, faces, spirals, more vines and leaves - anything you like. Have them peeping out all over the place.
The more you do, the more fantastical and fairy-like your painting will be. Don't try to make them perfect, allow your hand to relax and don't give it too much thought.
Paint Those Doodles!
Grab your paints and brush again and fill in the new doodles. Have fun experimenting with color. If you don't like what you did, just wet the painted area again and lift the paint off with paper towel. Sometimes those little happy accidents lead to an even better 'passage' in the painting.
At this point, when the paint is dry, I usually go round all the doodles again with my pen. Let the lines be loose and almost a scribble. This adds life to the drawings and gives them an arty look.
The doodling never ends, does it? Continue working with your black pen. Fill in shapes with lines and circles and patterns. Pay attention to the middles of flowers, the edges of leaves and stems. If you are familiar with Zentangle or Zenspirations, then go at it. Every space is fair game for your doodling delight.
Add little curlicues to your exotic jungle plants, have little floating leaves and seedpods all over the place. Or perhaps you'd rather have more hearts and stars.
This stage is a good thing to do when you have some time to fill. If you are watching TV or out and about, take your watercolor pad and black pen and just keep working on your doodle. I like to put on some relaxing music and let my mind drift away.
When you are satisfied, take a critical look at your painting. Does it need more color? More outlines? Would that stem look better with a little shadow on one side? At this point, you can stop if you want to. Many of my doodle paintings end right here. However... there is always the lure of the white pen.
My white pen recommendation is the Uni-Ball Signo 1mm. However, mine just ran out! So I turned to my stand-by, the correction pen. Add dots and lines of white wherever you want to. If you go too far, simply grab your black pen and go back over the white to calm it down.
And now, it really should be finished!
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