Watercolor Silhouette with Tombow Dualbrush Pens

I was looking at Bear nursing the other day, and I just wanted to squeeze his little cheeks and remember how he looked right then forever.  Then it hit me.  A silhouette series! Is there anything sweeter than a silhouette to capture those fleeting stages of growing up?  I quickly snapped a picture, and as soon as Goose was in preschool today, I got to work!

Grace Anne Studio

To make a watercolor silhouette you’ll need:

  • Picture of someone’s profile
  • Watercolor paper
  • Lightpad, iPad or a window
  • Tombow Mono Pencil
  • Tombow Mono Eraser
  • Tombow Dual Brushpens in assorted colors
  • Tombow Blending Palette
  • Waterbrush

Trace it

First things first, it’s time to trace those chubby cheeks! I ended up tracing Bear’s hand too, because how stinking cute are those little wrist rolls?? That’s definitely something I want to remember too.  To trace Bear’s silhouette, I just pulled the picture up on my iPad, adjusted the brightness to 100%, and traced the outline! So simple. You can also use a light pad if you have one, or if all else fails, just tape the picture to a window and trace it using Mr. Golden Sun! (Can you tell I have a preschooler?)

Watercolor it

There are several different ways to watercolor using your Tombow Dualbrush Pens. Today, I used my blending palette, and scribbled some color on it. Then you can either add water to dilute the color, or simply use the scribbled color as your palette. I added water because I wanted the colors to be lighter.

Once you have your color palette ready to go, you’re ready to watercolor!  I used a wet on wet technique here.  (Translation: wet “paint” on wet paper.) You just use clean water to wet the paper only where you want the color to go.  In my case, I added clean water to the entire silhouette. 

Then dip your brush in your Dualbrush “paint”, add color to the wet are, and watch them blend! You can push the “painted” water around a little with your waterbrush to make shadows stand out, or simply let the colors blend and bring the silhouette to life. You can tell my paper is warping from so much water.  I used Canson XL Mixed Media paper again today, but I’d suggest using actual watercolor paper for this project.  The wet on wet technique really needs paper that can hold its own. 

Layer it

Once the “watercolor” is dry, erase the pencil outline.

At this point, you could be finished!! Woohoo! Because I added Bear’s little hand, I wanted to add a little more controlled shadow around his hands and neck to help define the silhouette just a touch more.

I added just a tiny bit more water to my blending palette, and added the “paint” to the dry paper using a wet on dry technique.  This just means you add wet “paint” to dry paper.  This method allows you to have way more control over the “paint” and to add layers without worrying about your colors getting washed out.  On the other hand, you don’t get quite as many unique blends like you do with wet on wet. Time and a place for everything, right?

Hang it

Ta-da!!  You’re done!  I added Bear’s name below his silhouette using a Tombow Fudenosuke soft tip pen, and of course, don’t forget to add the date and age to the back!  (In Bear’s case, the ripe old age of 2 months.)  

What I love about this project is that you can use it for anyone and really make it your own.  Older child? Let them add the color during the wet on wet technique! Teenager? Document that top knot! College kid? Remind them of their roots. As always if you try this out, I’d LOVE to see it! Tag me on Instagram @graceannestudio.

Until next time, keep it creative!


DIY Home Portrait

I’ve got a soft spot for architectural drawings. Probably because that’s my long lost love- AKA my college degree! So when I was asked to do a home portrait for a house warming gift, I jumped at the chance.  Using a couple of “pro tips” and a little creative license, this project could easily be a DIY!

Grace Anne Studio

For this project you’ll need:

  • Photo of the home you’d like to draw
  • Cardstock paper
  • Light pad
  • Tombow MONO pencil
  • Tombow MONO eraser
  • Tombow MONO drawing pens – 01, 03, and 05
  • Ruler

Pencil it

To start, use your light pad to fill in the basic shapes for landscaping and the house structure. Don’t worry about too much detail at this point. You just want to lightly sketch the main elements here. 

Pro tip #1 

Use a light pad to pencil in the basic shapes landscaping forms and house structure. You’ll automatically have the right proportions and be able to spend your energy on dressing it up!

Ink it

Pro tip #2

Start inking in the front and work your way back to avoid unwanted lines.

Next, using your 03 Tombow MONO drawing pen, draw in the landscaping, starting in the front and working your way back. I like to start with the 03 because it’s a medium thickness and sets a good baseline for the project. Later, you’ll use the 01 to add in delicate details or add shading at a distance for a more realistic perspective and the 05 to add weight to the structure and really make those spaces stand out. 

Once the landscaping is inked, you can move on to the basic house structure. Remember, we’re still using the 03 for our baseline thickness. Using your ruler and 03 pen, trace the house’s main elements. You can also add a little shadow as needed to define the structure. I like to use line shading or cross hatch when I’m working with technical pens, as you’ll see here. 

This is where a little creative license comes in also. Little things like the bricks and landscaping get too cluttered if you try to copy it exactly. It just doesn’t translate well with this type of drawing. Using your creative license, which basically means it’s a drawing and you can draw what you want, strip it down to just the most important elements and use detailing to give an impression of the rest.

Detail it

Pro tip #3

The drawing does not have to be an exact replica of the house. Use your creative license to strip the house down to its main elements and add an impression of the rest with detailing. 

Using the 01 Tombow MONO drawing pen, add shadows, brick detail, and other minor details that give the house its character. 

Finally using the 05 Tombow MONO drawing pen, add in some heavier shadows and the house number to really make the house a home! As always if you try this out, I’d LOVE to see it! Tag me on Instagram @graceannestudio.

Until next time, keep it creative!