Ink and Watercolor Wash: Drawing a Crow

ATC - Crow for Spiced Coffee
2.5"x3.5" pen and watercolor and ink wash

The other day I finally had some success with an ink and watercolor wash drawing.  Isn’t he pretty?  I needed to do a crow card for a trading partner and I decided I would stretch myself a bit and try an ink and watercolor wash. 

I had purchased Cathy Johnson’s Ink & Wash Workshop CD from her Cafe Press store a month or so ago. I’ve watched it a number of times and found it very helpful. Cathy Johnson is an excellent teacher. You’ve probably seen her articles in Artist’s Magazine or in Watercolor Magic Magazine.  In this slideshow she starts out with going over the tools: pens, brushes, inks, watercolor paints, and papers, and then walks you through a bit of technique.  It was an excellent way to get a brief overview without investing in a class or a longer, more detailed, book.  Check out her website as well.  I like checking out her art tips.  They are in the upper left side of the page.

So back to my crow.  I started out with these sketches.  I chose the one I liked and did a pen drawing.

Crow sketch

I worked wet into wet started with a violet ink around the shoulder, and then washed the rest with a phathlo blue.  After it dried I applied a bit of indigo ink.  After that dried I used light payne’s gray washes here and there.  When I had let everything dry again, I added a touch more violet to the shoulder.   When I felt finished with the paints and inks, I added details with my trusty Pigma Micron 005.

 l really liked how this turned out.  As I worked I kept meditating on the quote by playwright Edward Albee I had written in my sketchbook:  “If you’re willing to fail interestingly, you tend to succeed interestingly.”  This is so true.  When I give myself permission to fail, I take so many more chances and wind up with some amazing happy accidents.

*By the way, I’m sharing Cathy Johnson’s link because I admire her skills as a teacher and because I’ve found this CD useful.  I don’t get a kickback or anything.

Published by Mellanie C

sketch artist, daydreamer Figurative artist specializing in small format art and portraits.

11 thoughts on “Ink and Watercolor Wash: Drawing a Crow

  1. Being a self taught, i know my skill need to be sharpen by practice. But always the biggest obstacle would be procrastination and laziness.

    I love to see other people attemps on new techniques or media. It boost my spirit and keep me motivated! thanks!

    I’m still thinking what to draw for you for our swap. Hm, maybe I draw a potrait of a Kadazan girl wearing traditional costume. Kadazan is the biggest ethnic group in Sabah, and every year there would be a traditional beauty pageant. I hope i can work on it soon, then show it to you see if you like it.


  2. What a terrific drawing! I can’t believe you got all that detail and that ‘crow attitude’ in a piece this size. He looks like the crows we get around here that love to drive our little corgie mad!


  3. Thanks everyone!

    Mango: Thanks for visiting! I think that’s a great idea for a card. I’ll email you. I just finished yours.

    Casey: Thanks so much. I’m just starting with ink and watercolor and this little guy gives me the confidence to keep at it. I’m glad you like it.

    Morganna: I love crows too. I’ve just really started watching them a couple years ago. They are fast becoming my favorite subject. This is the first one that I am proud to display! 🙂

    Ann: Thanks so much. I’m really starting to love working in this size.


  4. He is lovely bird Mellanie. I love the contrast of the dark bird and the yellow background. I love drawing crows and rooks. They are such interesting birds.

    Congrats on getting your cards in the mag btw. I will have to download a copy and have a look.


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