Mini Art Tutorial: Ink Oceanscape


I don’t exactly do art tutorials, but I am trying a loose approach to it and sharing a few tips plus the supplies I use. So check out how I made this inky ocean piece below!


*Links contained in this post are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you make a purchase within 24 hours of clicking. These are products I use regularly and absolutely love.

General Directions:

Your end result may not look exactly like mine, but this will give you an idea of my process.

The Background:

  1. Cut your watercolor paper to your desired size. For this piece, I cut down to 8″x10″. You can tape your paper down with masking tape to prevent warping, but if you use the Canson Heritage Hot Press, it doesn’t warp or buckle as easily as other papers. (You can also pre-stretch your paper if you have the time. I am too lazy for that.)
  2. I used a wet-on-wet method. Using your watercolor brush, lightly wet the entire area of the paper you want your ink to go.
  3. Starting with the yellow, dip your brush in and the touch the top of your wetted area. Work your way across the paper. Add more ink as you go depending on how vibrant you want the ink to be. Clean your brush and pull your ink from the center to the edges if you want more of a gradient.
  4. Then dip into the orange ink and touch the center of the wetted area. Blend the orange up into the yellow.
  5. Dip into the red, and then touch the bottom of the wetted area and slowly work the rest of the area, blending into the orange.
  6. Go over any areas you wish to be darker. Clean your brush in between colors.
  7. If you want a more feathered and light look around the edges, clean your brush and load with clean water, then touch the dry areas of the paper around the edges of the ink. The ink will then bleed into the clear water and create a more subtle edge.
  8. Let dry.

The Line Work and Stars:

  1. Use any of the pen tips in the Speedball set. First, test out your ink and pen on a scratch piece of paper to get used to the feel. You don’t want to get too much ink on the pen otherwise you’ll create blobby messes. So practice with this for a bit. I usually don’t dip the pen in the bottle, but use the dropper top and manually apply ink to the pen tip.
  2. Once you feel somewhat confident in your control of the pen, grab your completely dry paper. Starting from the base of the ink work, create long flowing lines. Work your way up.
  3. Allow each area to dry before trying to go over it a second time.
  4. Once finished with the lines, add stars with your pen.
  5. If some areas don’t look as solid white as others, using a small brush and dip it in the white ink and touch up the less opaque sections.


And that’s all! If you enjoyed this little tutorial and want to learn more, let me know through Instagram or Email, or consider becoming a Patron of mine (See details below!) Now go get messy and share your creation on Instagram using #messyeverafter!



A lot of artists don’t like to share their secrets, but I’m an open book. If you enjoy the content I create and the advice I give to other creators, please consider becoming Patron of mine on Patreon. Pledging as little as $1 a month supports this content and my career as an artist.

Further Reading:

2 thoughts on “Mini Art Tutorial: Ink Oceanscape”

  1. Hi Kelly,

    Don White from Minnesota here – seeing this latest post, I just wanted to congratulate you – your growth as a professional artist has been phenomenal! – and fun to watch!
    Awesome work!
    I wish you all the best on your journey!

    1. Don, thank you so much! It’s really wonderful to have your support! I can hardly even believe the progress I’ve made since we first met.


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