Ink & Wash Rabbits: Beatrix Potter & Valentines Decoupage Painting

Ink & Wash Rabbits: Beatrix Potter & Valentines Decoupage Painting

Hey, Watercolor Wizards, Hajra here! So
today we’re making Valentine’s decorations using Beatrix Potter’s
lovely characters, so it’s a combination masters study, holiday project video. And
these lovely bunny painting ornaments will also be great for springtime,
nursery, Easter, or Mother’s Day. And stay tuned till the end of this video, as I’ll
be doing a Valentine’s Day watercolor brush & metallic paint giveaway! As usual,
art blogs, video note, sketches, Q and A’s, deconstructed painting posts, and art
gift rewards are available for my patrons on patreon! So I took a few hours
to sketch up my for bunny drawings and I covered my freehand drawing process and
five total methods of drawing anything in another video so be sure to check
that out, too. I had the idea to do Beatrix Potter studies because I saw
that a new Peter Rabbit movie is coming out which looks just horribly unfaithful
to Beatrix Potter’s characters and world and stories, and if a movie studio wanted
to make a funny slapstick rabbit movie they should have just made up their own
bunny characters instead of trying to cash in on her famous characters in a
totally mismatched movie. So I did 4 Beatrix Potter bunny studies total – 2 with
with mother rabbit, one with Peter Rabbit, and one with Benjamin bunny. I modified
them so the scenes are Valentine’s Day appropriate but if you don’t care for
Valentine’s Day you can make these into springtime or Easter themed pieces or
just studies of Beatrix Potter characters. And the mother rabbit pieces
would be lovely for Mother’s Day as well. I’ve drawn the illustration small and
within particular shapes, because I plan to glue them to wood blanks that I
bought for 50 cents apiece at Joann’s. Because I’m going to glue and sand the
paper edges for a perfect fit, I’m also using the thinnest softest paintable
paper I have and that’s 90 pound BFK Rives which is a soft sized, hundred
percent cotton, printmaking paper. It’s also made by Arches and it’s got an
almost thin fabric feel to it, and it’s lovely for dry media or just ink, or ink
and wash, or loose watercolor work in a sort of one stroke Asian style. Because
it’s only internally sized, not externally sized, you can’t really lift
paint much and it’s not really for tighter many-layered complicated work. So
I’ve been inking the lines of my sketches with my waterproof Zig writer
marker in the sepia, dark brown color. Because that line sinks in and saturates
so much on this paper, it still reads almost as black. If you have no wood
blanks or any other support you can use whatever shape paper works and any
sort of paper type you want. I’m just using my 90-pound bfk Rives because I bought
a few big sheets some years ago and it works really well for ornament paintings.
I used a fine point side tip of the Zig Writer marker for most of the
illustrations, and I used a teeny 20/0 Spotter brush in areas where I
needed an even finer line. Just scribble a marker on your palette and dip the
spotter brush in that scribbled ink and paint with it! If you use a lot of water
it’ll get noticeably lighter in color, so only use a teeny dab of water. Once
I was done inking, it was really exciting to get to the coloring part. Painting an
inked piece is always a special unique sort of fun–it’s basically coloring in
homemade coloring pages! I used the tiniest porcelain palette I have. It
turned out to be perfect for miniature painting as the color swatches and
puddles are not that big for miniature paintings, and since I hadn’t figured out
how to use this teeny palette yet it was a satisfying bonus to break it in on
these bunny ornaments. I used Inktense blocks; just shaved four
of the colors right off the blocks into the mini palette wells, and I used a mid
primary red, yellow, and blue along with some red-violet for vibrant
Valentine’s hearts. I like circular palettes because they allow for lucid
color wheel placement and color mixing and this palette has plenty of wells to
mix secondary colors and various neutrals like browns and tans.
I used Inktense because it’s an excellent choice for ornaments since Inktense is
decently light fast and waterproof so when I use a gloss varnish or glossy
faux resin over the colors they won’t bleed. In the
past I’ve used Dr. Phil Martin’s Bombay inks for this type of ornament painting
as they are waterproof and light fast inks, but I like the handling of Inktense
much better. The Bombay inks tend to bleed a lot more and be less amenable to
subtle blends. Washy loose watercolor painting over ink lines is perfect for
this paper; if I’d done my own style of original bunny ornaments it would have
involved a lot more detail and layering and then I probably wouldn’t have wanted
to use this BFK Rives paper–Arches watercolor paper would have been the
better choice. But these Beatrix Potter bunny studies are just right for this
paper, the ink work has some fine lines but the color painting is far looser
than my own style, so I don’t have any battles with the paper trying to layer
on more details. Anytime I wanted a color line to hold a sharp edge like a stripe
or heart or solid fill shape area, I worked wet on dry. But if I wanted a soft
fuzzy edge, I applied water to that section of the illustration first and
then put in the paint wet into wet to get that soft edge. Soft edges won’t
happen naturally with water media, but on
watercolor paper you can come back with a damp brush too soften an edge or
create a gradient like I do often with Arches or Fabriano or other watercolor
paper. The BFK Rives paper is also a hundred percent cotton, but like I said it has no
external sizing so the paint sinks in right away so the only way to get a soft
edge is to put water there first and then apply the paint for a bleed. This is
why I keep emphasizing that this paper is awesome for dry media, ink, or ink and
wash, but not for more complicated watercolor painting that will require
later lifting or later blending. Looking at the mother rabbit pieces, I don’t see
anything wrong with presenting a loved parent with a Valentine’s Day gift. The
bedside scene with mother rabbit is really personally touching to me because
I was a sickly child and my mom bending over my bed and giving me soup or tea was
an oft occurring scene for my first 10 years of life. For the mother rabbit and
the rocking chair, I added a hanging bunch of hearts to make it sort of more
Valentinesy. For the bedside scene, I added hearts to the bed covers and
headboard and later coordinating dots and stripes to the pillowcase bedskirt
and wallpaper. For the Peter Rabbit piece, I handed him a Valentine’s heart, and for
Benjamin bunny I handed him a bouquet of heart-shaped blossoms. Many of the
artists I love like Dulac, Leyendecker Mucha, and several others, I was really
only exposed to after college when I got back into art and researched
illustrators, but Beatrix Potter was one of those illustrators I actually grew up
seeing and have loved almost my whole life, so doing studies of her enchanting
and delicately drawn characters was a real lovely thing for me. Nostalgic
and bittersweet– brings back so many childhood memories of reading in bed or
reading her stories out loud to my younger brother. So I’ll take a break
from painting here. We’ll return to painting the two handsome bunny bucks in
a bit, but I want to show how to turn these paintings into lovely glossy
ornaments. And I did the painting at a predetermined size and shape to fit on
the wood blank. And the painting is already cut out, and once it’s done being painted
I can glue it onto the wood blank using PVA glue or matte medium from Ranger or
Liquitex. Any strong ph-neutral, acid-free glue will work. The painting rarely fits
perfectly on the wood blank so the edges have to be sanded off for a more
professional look. Only sand your piece once the glue from gluing the painting
onto the wood blank is totally dry. It did take forever to sand off the paper on
the little scalloped wood hearts, so I’m never doing that again.
In fact, I’m looking into trying a new product– a watercolor ground from
Schmincke for difficult shaped ornaments and jewelry in the future. I
also glued and sanded a decorative thin Lotka paper to the backside of the wood
blanks. You can do another painting to glue on the back if you want, and then flip to new ornaments on different days, but I went with just a decorative
hand block printed paper on the back. Once I was done gluing and sanding both
sides, I thoroughly brushed off any paper dust. You don’t want that left there,
otherwise it’ll be sealed in for posterity and annoy the heck out of
anybody! And I just brushed on a Liquitex gloss varnish on the backside of it with
the decorative paper to seal that and then I let that dry. For the front side I
covered it with Ranger’s Glossy Accents which is an acid-free, dimensional, clear
glue finish that will seal the painting under a faux resin finish. I do the
outline first for a piece that is not sitting in a recessed bezel and then I
fill in the center with glue. Since I have painful hands from JHS
hypermobility injuries, I asked Elijah to help squeeze the Glossy Accents out. In the
past, I’ve also cut the tip wider or pulled the tip out, so it pours easy without
squeezing. I popped any bubbles I saw with a pin. I’m okay if a few bubbles
show up later as long as focal areas like faces and hands and such are
bubble-free. The glue goes down cloudy but it will dry clear and glossy like
resin. Unlike resin, Glossy Accents is water-resistant not waterproof, but it’s
also non-toxic and non fumey, and much more eco-friendly than conventional
resin. I put my jewelry and ornament parts with glossy accents on them in a tin
with the lid ajar to dry. This lets them get some airflow but the mostly closed
lid keeps lint and dust or hair from flying about and settling in the wet
glue. These wood blanks have no drilled holes so I’m just gonna be gluing ribbon
hanging loops to them later and also painting the profiles with an acrylic
paint which you’ll see in the final pieces. So while those first two pieces
have the glossy accents drying in them overnight, I can get back to painting. So
here’s Peter Rabbit and I really like how it looks like he’s sort of really
shyly holding this Valentine’s heart. Even though the original picture was
that he was nervous about being in Mr. McGregor’s garden, it really works as a
shy valentine’s piece. I’ve left the palette on screen this time since it was
teeny enough to fit so nicely. I started out with wet into wet fur and then I
did portions of his face wet on dry. I did the heart wet on dry as well and
then I did the jacket wet into wet again. I forgot to paint the top part of
his chest brown, and then I the ill-conceived idea that I would look
cute as a green shirt front, but even after adding buttons to it, it didn’t get
any better, and just looked ludicrously short. So I scrubbed out as much of
that silly green shirt front as I could, luckily it was only in a small area and
still damp. When I went over it with brown to imply fur as I should have from
the very start, it retained a greenish hue that didn’t match with the remainder of
Peter’s fur, so for a moment I felt as nervous as Peter looks here, but then I
recovered and just added a bit of green to his fur everywhere else, and that
solved the color mismatching problem. And it looks fine with a little bit of a
greenish shadow cast to it because it’s mixed from the same three colors. I did
the background with a bit of two metallic greens: the brighter green on the top
half and the duller, olive metallic one on the bottom. I stopped at just a sheer
glaze because I’m only swatch demoing this metallic set, but you can layer and
deepen the metallic colors for your own pieces if you want. And moving on to
handsome Benjamin bunny, and he’s much the same process and colors except he
has a smart green waistcoat to Peter’s cornflower blue one, and I gave him a
bouquet of heart-shaped blossoms instead of a heart-shaped Valentine in his hands
and Peter’s clogs were green whereas Benjamin’s little clogs are burgundy shoes.
For this ornament background, I swatched using the other metallic set.
I used a tealish color for the sky, and for the little bit of ground that Benjamin
is sitting on, I used the same teal and then I covered it with an earthy peach
color, but then it looks just really too muddy which I learned happens with
metallics when mixing a few colors. Luckily, the metallic mica sits on the surface
much more than other paint which sinks in so I was able to lift most of the
mica metallic paint off even on this non externally sized paper with a damp q-tip.
Then I just poked in the earthy peachy color on its own and then it looked fine
as the ground. The quality of both metallic sets from the few colors i
swatched from each of them seemed pretty much the same and these sets are unused
except for the small amount I tested them for this video and they’re
available as giveaway presents. The larger black set of metallic watercolor
pans is from Yasumoto and the smaller white set of pearlescent
watercolor pans is from Zig. They can go down in a glaze or they can be used
thicker for a more dense application. I’m also including six new watercolor
brushes in this current giveaway. One silver brush black velvet number four
liner brush, one silver brush at Number ten round, one Princeton
synthetic number four-pointed filbert, one Princeton synthetic twenty over zero
spotter, and two mini sable round travel watercolor brushes! To enter this
giveaway, just comment and describe below or share with me via email, patreon,
or Instagram your Valentine’s Day or anti-Valentine’s Day art that you’ve
created or would like to create. I’m going to pick eight winners an email, or
private message them to ask for their mailing addresses. Patrons get first
priority but this giveaway is also open to all my YouTube subscribers. Even if
you’ve participated in my past giveaways, feel free to participate again. I’m
paying for the giveaway gifts and shipping so if the gift is lost in the
mail then I’m sorry, but it’s not gonna be replaced. But all my past
giveaways have reached their destination safely so I think it should work out.
Well, wizards, my Potter Bunny ornaments turned out really delicate and
glossy! And the glued on pink ribbon loops and acrylic painted profiles and
coordinating colors really added some nice final polishing touches. I hope you
enjoyed this holiday project and that you participate in the giveaway while
it’s still open! Thanks for parking brushes here, please
like, subscribe, and check out my website links and patreon page to support my art
and art channel below. As always, wishing you fantastical art adventures!

32 thoughts on “Ink & Wash Rabbits: Beatrix Potter & Valentines Decoupage Painting

  1. Hi Hajra!
    I was just on my phone when your video popped up and was able to see you create this fun bunny project.
    I’m working on a rather large piece on 36×44 arches charcoal, graphite, and water color or colored pencil (not sure yet). It’s been evolving over the last year. Don’t think I can include it on this vid but I’ll email you a pic. I did spray it at one point to protect it and wasn’t thinking about it accepting watercolor. I’ll practice on separate paper and see how it goes.

  2. I would really love to do a valentine portrait of my family (mother, daughter and myself,) however my confidence is not there when it comes to rendering the human form; I do love the hands I draw though. I do not really have a stylistic (cartoony or art deco) human form I love either, but that is what I would love to paint for valentine art. Thanks for sharing your Beatrix Potter studies, they really are fabulous.

  3. This is perfect timing! I taught myself watercolors back in the 60's by copying the Beatrix Potters bunnies, I agree with you about the upcoming movie! I JUST got the glossy accents in the mail 2 days ago and was wondering what to use it for. This is what I am going to create today as these are so darling! Thank you! And what an amazing give a way. Thank you and good luck to everyone!

  4. I love these ornaments, very pretty! The pastelly colors you chose are especially nice <3
    For valentine‘s day, I‘m planning to surprise someone who loves flowers with a watercolor flower illustration in the person‘s favourite color (bright, fiery red :))

  5. Oh lovely !! I would be checking out your how to draw anything video next ! I can copy and draw well from a picture, but my toughest task is … Making things from my own head, I don't know when will some creativity strike me ! Will email you what I did for my husband for v day … It's a mini painting too 🙂🙂

  6. Love these and all your ornament videos! I'm going to try to do an ornament project sometime this year. I also have hypermobile joints! So cool to see another artist with the same condition doing awesome stuff!

  7. Oh my goodness! I LOVE your Beatrix Potter themed ornaments! If I could draw/sketch as well as you, I would definitely make something similar.
    Happy Valentine’s Day!!! I have flooring being put down in my house, & have chronic illness to deal with right now. Therefore, I haven’t been able to any Valentine’s projects. I have a Hero Arts kit that I wanted to use, and plan to do an art journaling page.
    If you do need to get in touch with me, my name on Instagram is nc_eliz, Elizabeth. Have a blessed & beautiful evening. 💖💖💖

  8. It's reassuring to see even your beautiful artwork runs into some problems that you have to solve or work into the design (Ex: removing the green shirt). It seems like I'm having to problem solve throughout my entire painting process with every piece I work on. At least it's giving my brain a workout LOL.
    Yeah, I'm going to skip that Peter Rabbit movie. It's one thing to get her name out there and introduce her to another generation but to misrepresent her characters, not cool.

  9. These are adorable! I made a ton of Valentine cards this year and gave them to my husband, children, and nieces and nephew. Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays because it celebrates love and because my birthday is two days after!……thanks for the glossy accents tip! I have a ton of that stuff!

  10. My husband and I shared images of the moon with each other ( his was a photo of the moon and a Tesla roadster!) mine was a watercolour attempt of a moon in a dark sky, peeping out behind a cloud.

  11. I'm not sure how to post a picture onto a YouTube comment? I did a pen and ink card of one of our cats where she's somewhat heart shaped. This morning I woke up with the idea of giving my husband a Valentine card from the cats, since they keep him very busy taking care of them. So I wrote a poem on their behalf in the card.

  12. Ahhh, I love Beatrix Potter so much! She was also my first big influence as a kid in terms of the world of illustration! I was nuts about her, and still am! What a lovely tribute! 🙂

  13. I am so glad I'm not the only one that thinks that movie is not the Peter Rabbit I know and love. Love your bunnies! I have no art, other than brushing my cat, there was no love for this Valentine's Day. LOL

  14. Your ornaments are wonderful – magical reminders of childhood and motherhood for me. I guess I missed the giveaway time, but I'm going to share what I painted for Valentine's Day anyway. My project was a watercolor card for my husband, featuring a bear scattering heart-shaped blossoms.

  15. I’m late for this video, but I really loved watching your painting process. There were so many adorable illustrations that I couldn’t choose a favorite. I hope everyone had fun with the giveaway challenge. 😊

  16. Hajra I left you a few comments and am not sure if you've seen them, so here I am prompting you to read them! Hope you are doing well and big hugs!

  17. These are beautiful. I've always loved Peter Rabbit and all of Beatrix Potter illustrations really.
    Found your channel from the interview you did with Steve and Marty.

  18. This must be the video that Steve mentioned in the online chat. I love it because I'm also a Beatrix Potter fan from childhood. I agree about the movie and wish they would have left the story alone. You mentioned the the toxicity of resin and I use Art Resin only. If you aren't familiar with it check it out. You weren't kidding you talk fast. Wow! You and Lindsay the frugal crafter ought to get to together for the fastest chat in history. lol

  19. Hi. I greatly enjoyed watching the live chat with Steve and Marty on Feb 22, and subscribed after that. I am more or less a beginner artist, and also a nerd (Engineering / programming), so I look forward to any discussions about colours and so on (classical artist colour theory seems to be a mix of nonsense, but also with some method within the madness – lol). This is not the time though, it's Peter Rabbit time – lol, quite likely the first book I ever looked at as, a 7-8 year old boy back in England in the early 60s. P.S. I am not planning to watch the movie, it sounds very disrespectful.

  20. Love your art, Hajra! I found you via Mind of Watercolor, and I'm so glad I did! I love Beatrix Potter's style, and your renditions are beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing your expertise and knowledge with us!

  21. Took my two year old for a happy meal and literally gasped at the awful CG movie posters and toys for the movie. Not trying to be cynical but why do so many movies, books and comics become a regurgitated formula :/

  22. Hajra, this is the second video of yours that I have watched, and I can't wait to see them all… I was especially intrigued with the Grisaille.

  23. Love the bunnies. I was just thinking about whether watercolor could be combined with decoupage and other crafty things, so this is perfectly timed for me. I'd like to try something similar, but maybe using Mod Podge.

  24. I think this is the loveliest giveaway I have seen. Beautiful work Hajra and I thank you from my heart for sharing this video.

  25. Thanks so much for your video! Would you kindly give the specifications on the Zig writer marker? I am having trouble finding it online. Take care….

  26. I'm so happy I've found your channel. You are SO creative and inventive. And a great instructor too. I've learned more from your videos than from any of my previous art classes (e.g. griseille techniques etc.). Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

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