Watercolour Illustrations: How I do them.

Hey Everyone hope you’re all well!

Today we’re gonna have a wee art lesson, I’m going to show you how I make my watercolour illustrations! Now keep in mind, the way I do things is not gospel it’s just how I like to do things and it works for me. Today I’m going to be drawing my favourite X-man Gambit!


Now obviously in my style it’s not going to look anything like that but you’ve got to work with what you got and we’ll start by pencilling out our gambit.


It’s pretty rough but I quite like the pose so let’s stick with it. Next I’m going to ink over the pencils, I use fineliners (or sometimes brush ink) in this case I’m using a 0.1 pen. I sometimes also use a 0.3 for thicker lines. These guys are good pens.

3Okay so I’ve penned over my Gambit and rubbed out the pencil from underneath with an eraser, he’s looking like this.

2Now it’s painting time! I’m using mid range watercolours, Windsor and Newton Cotmans to be exact. Brush wise I’m using a small flat head for colouring in and a small round for finer bits.


Also for a palette I’m using a plate covered with tin foil, basically so I don’t have to clean it (when I’m done I just put the foil in the bin).5

Now, with watercolours there is a strict rule of working from light to dark, following that rule I’m going to colour my Gambit in with the lightest shades possible. You can do this by really watering down your colours.


I should also mention I keep a scrap of paper handy to test my colours before they go on the page. I should also mention I’m using 300gsm watercolour paper.


Right, now it’s starting to take shape I’m going to start adding in darker tones. It’s very important at this stage to choose where the light might be coming from in this illustration, hypothetically the sun is to Gambits right hand side so his left hand side will be darker. While I’m doing this I sometimes use a damp brush to blend the dark and light tones.

8He’s looking sweet! Now I’m gonna add a very thin and watery layer of pink around his cards for effect. I’m also gonna make him say something funny.


Now you might not be as funny as me but that’s totally cool, everything in time. It is also very important to SIGN YOUR WORK or it’ll turn up on reddit with 2 million views and no credit (true story). Right once it’s dry it’s time to scan it in.


In photoshop I might brighten it up with the levels adjustment and that’s it that’s how I do it!

Thanks for reading I hope someone out there found this helpful!

Take care!



Tags: , , , , , , ,

7 Responses to “Watercolour Illustrations: How I do them.”

  1. Seth Winternight Says:

    I like this post because your quirky style of illustration is unique and I like to understand how other artists work. Your way of watercolour painting is pretty good and i’ll take a couple of tips from this tutorial of yours. Good work man.

  2. Seth Winternight Says:

    What I want to ask, is how do you prevent the watercolour paint from smudging and smearing the ink of your lineart?

    • neilslorance Says:

      Heya glad you liked it! The ink won’t usually smudge unless it’s wet. It’s best to leave the illustration for a minute or so after you’ve inked it. Different ink may take longer to dry than others, the pens I use have ‘waterproof on paper’ on the side which I guess helps.

  3. rusty Says:

    It’s so cool to see your spin on Gambit! And love the tagline!

  4. Marcia Furman Says:


  5. rea curry Says:

    this mayhaps be a silly question but can you recommend a good eraser? I’ve tried a few and they smear the pencil marks or do not fully eradicate the pencil marks. Its frustrating.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: