Mini Tutorial: Rainbow Coral Reef

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How It’s Made

I’ve had rainbows stuck in my head for the last couple of weeks. This piece is vibrant and oh so adorable! You’ll love playing with the materials I used.

MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES I USE:

*Links contained in this post are affiliate links for Amazon or Dick Blick and I will earn a commission if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you. These commissions help fund more content like this, so thanks!

General Directions:

First, you’ll want to cut your watercolor paper to your desired size. I like working around 4″x4″. Using any cylindrical object you can find or a protractor, create a circle in the middle of your paper with pencil.

For the background, you’re going to slowly work your way around the circle and blend each color as you go. Starting with yellow, and ending with yellow.

THE BACKGROUND:

  1. Using the size 10 watercolor brush, wet the entire surface of the circle.
  2. Using the size 4 watercolor brush, deposit Cadmium Yellow ink on the paper. Start from the middle and work upwards.
  3. Move to Lake Blue and start applying left of the center and upwards. Blend the blue with the yellow to create green, and then deposit more blue and work from the left down.
  4. Apply Ultramarine Blue to the bottom left and work into the Lake Blue.
  5. Add Violet on the bottom, blend with the blue. Rinse your brush.
  6. Add Medium Magenta, blend with violet. Rinse your brush.
  7. Now, apply more yellow on the edge of Magenta to create orange. Work upwards and blend with the plain yellow in the center.
  8. Rinse your brush and allow the ink to dry completely.

The Line Work:

Once the ink is completely dry, erase any visible pencil marks around the edges, then assemble your sketch pen. I prefer the larger nibs, but you can choose any of them. I recommend taking scratch pieces of paper and practicing with the pen and ink before moving to your finished background.

Using the Pen White Ink, I apply ink with the dropper on both sides of the nib (you could dip into the bottle instead, but I don’t like to have the ink exposed to air for too long to prevent it from drying out).

To create the designs, you’re going to start from the bottom and work your way up to the middle of the circle. The designs don’t have to be perfect and this is meant to be an organic layering of rounded shapes. Watch the video above a couple of times to see how I move through the designs and then try your hand at it. It doesn’t need to match mine. Let your natural style come through.

The ink takes a little time to dry, so work in one area and allow it to dry before moving your hand over it to prevent smudging.

At the end, add a sprinkling of stars/bubbles to the upper area of the circle and voila! Finished!

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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 to support more content like this. Now go get messy and share your creation on Instagram using #messyeverafter!

-Kelly

SUPPORT MESSY EVER AFTER ON PATREON:

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:
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