Watercolor Brush Lettering: Ombre Effects

Watercolor brush lettering

Brush lettering with watercolor is beautiful. I love it even more when the color I’m painting with blends from one to another with an ombre type effect. To create this gorgeous look, I used a water brush and Pixie Paint. With this technique, the color literally changes right before your eyes, while your painting. It's like magic!

Cosmo Cricket Pixie Paint by Julie Comstock

Unfortunately, the Cosmo Cricket Pixie Paint is discontinued, but you can find other powdered watercolor pigments that will work similarly. Once you have your powdered pigment chosen, add a little of it to the barrel of your water brush, fill up the barrel with water and stir it with a toothpick, or something similar, until it’s fully dissolved.

Please note, you will want create a dedicated water brush for each color. The pigment will stain the brush, and as hard as I try, I can never get the brush clean enough that the there aren’t trace amounts of the powdered pigment color left in it.

With colored water in your brush, simply dip the tip of your brush into a coordinating color of regular watercolor paint. I love to pick colors that are one step away from each other on the color wheel. For example, red and blue, yellow and green, blue and yellow. That way when they blend, I get the mix of these two colors in the middle. When your paint starts to flow as the color you have in the barrel, re-dip the tip into the watercolor and continue.

You can watch this little video of me doing the lettering, but it's not the best quality. Just practice, take it slowly and try to relax. I did a few trial runs on a scrap piece of paper to work out the design first and then used that as a visual reference while free-handing the tag.


If you would like to add stitching to your painted project, it’s easy. To stitch on paper, you just need to poke holes with a pin first. Then use a needle and thread, or embroidery floss, to “sew” between the holes. Use tape on the backside to hold loose ends down.

Modern brush calligraphy with watercolor
Julie Comstock1 Comment