Art Blog, Art Techniques, Artist Gems, Brushes In Action, Nature Delights, Thank You, WarmUps

Wednesday Wrap Up Wabi-Sabi

chickadee on branch


Each Wednesday check this blog for a strategy, process, or reflection for illustration with the iPad app ProCreate. This Wednesday Wrap Up is a wrap up of my watercolor projects following the wabi-sabi watercolor lesson by Calvin of Drifter Studio.


Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese concept based on the transient and imperfect nature our world. As such, the focus is on simplicity, imperfection, and an acknowledgment of such in artful representations. A limited color palette on a simple element of nature is a natural extension of this concept, as Calvin expresses in his painting and video. The project above is from the lesson he teaches. You see that transient quality with the white spaces, including that the white part of the bird is not painted, but left as the paper in an asymmetrical illustration of this simple scene. The color palette is simple– only two to three main colors. The choice of watercolor brushes with simple strokes also lead us to the feelings of acceptance of our place, though short, in the natural world. Imperfect, impermanent, and minimalist is its essence.

A Pleasant Process

The process is simple– choose an element of nature with simple lines. Sketch in even simpler lines to use as a guide for easy flowing brush strokes using a limited palette. It’s not a long process and is relaxing to sketch, to paint, and to watch the element come to life with each stroke. By painting the bird and the plant on different layers, a quick erasure of the parts that overlap maintain the water color and minimalist effect.

My paper and brushes are from Calvin’s links in his video– I often choose Calvin’s watercolor brushes and paper for such quick but beautiful illustrations. Watch his video for some other strategies that work well for this process. This is one of the goals I set for painting birds back in December, and I’m so excited about the results.

My Gallery

Try It

So, that wraps up this Wednesday Wrap Up. I hope you watch Calvin’s videos and learn his watercolor style– it’s relaxing and intuitive, and I’m grateful with all that he shares so we all can learn.

With whatever skills you’re learning, with wonderful artists to learn from, I hope you find a way to give joy to others by sharing your work.

I look forward to your sharing, and please continue to be a part of the  #warmup4art series to learn and enjoy our work together! See my sharing at IG @42Sheri and Twitter @42Sheri.

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