Introduction to Watercolour with Elena Blanco

Elena Blanco Illustration Watercolour Workshop - Inky Collective Blog

This week we popped along to the second of Elena Blanco’s four Illustration and Inspiration Workshops, Introduction to Watercolour (we should have also popped along to the first one, Patterns and Repetition, last week but, due to an unfortunate series of events – and daftness – both Wrighty and I missed it!).

I’ve been keen to learn the basics of watercolour as I’d love to incorporate some painting into our letterpress stationery. I think some bright splashes of colour alongside some deep, dark impressions could look fantastic.

Elena Blanco Illustration Watercolour Workshop - Inky Collective BlogElena Blanco Illustration Watercolour Workshop - Inky Collective Blog

The workshops are being held at the Impact Hub Brixton (a really lovely collaborative space in Lambeth Town Hall) and are only two hours long, which is just enough time to cover a few simple tips and techniques.

Elena originally worked in architecture but after a career break and having children, she was inspired to start illustrating by the children’s books she would read. As a teacher she is delightfully enthusiastic and is clearly so passionate and excited about painting, which in turn made us very excited about painting!

Elena Blanco Illustration Watercolour Workshop - Inky Collective Blog

Elena Blanco Illustration Watercolour Workshop - Inky Collective Blog

We started by looking over some books for inspiration – The River, illustrated by Alessandro Sanna, and some Quentin Blake books – and some example work Elena had prepared earlier.

This workshop covered three techniques; layering, blending, and creating a pattern, all using a restricted palette.

Elena Blanco Illustration Watercolour Workshop - Inky Collective Blog

We were shown the very basics – adding water and pigment to a paint palette, mixing colours, the wheel of colours, how to remove excess water from the page (dabbing a dried brush on to your painting will lift moisture away to startling effect – I never knew!), cleaning the brush, etc. We talked about inspiring artists like Paul Klee, Conrad Roset and Kiana Mosley.

And then, we were let loose!

Elena Blanco Illustration Watercolour Workshop - Inky Collective BlogElena Blanco Illustration Watercolour Workshop - Inky Collective BlogElena Blanco Illustration Watercolour Workshop - Inky Collective Blog

The class was small, giving us plenty of time to share our work with each other, and giving Elena the opportunity to give us individual help and feedback. There were varying illustration skill levels, but we were all quite new to watercolour and I think everyone learned something valuable.

Beautiful work by Jo Clayton, who you can follow on Twitter at @UKPlay4Change

Beautiful work by Jo Clayton, who you can follow on Twitter at @UKPlay4Change

Mine and Wrighty’s finished work below. As you can see we went in similar directions with the exercises!

Elena Blanco Illustration Watercolour Workshop - Inky Collective BlogElena Blanco Illustration Watercolour Workshop - Inky Collective Blog

There are two more classes in this series of workshops, which I highly recommend, and there are still tickets available.

You can learn more about Elena on her site, follow her on Twitter, and buy her beautiful work on Etsy (where there is a special offer today for her Twitter followers!).

Snowy City London Print - Dreamy Me on Etsy - Inky Collective Blog

Jen Wright

Jen Wright

Letterpress printer, maker and freelance writer. I blog about the people and things that inspire me, in the hope that I will inspire you.
Jen Wright

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So, what do you think?