Creative Exercise: DIY Zentangle Quote in Watercolor | Elysian Studios


The New Year is full of potential and possibility, and what better way to remember that than to transform an inspirational quote into a beloved piece of art.  It will continue to uplift your spirit throughout the year! 

This is a very simple creative exercise for anyone to try.  Have you ever tried doodling in the Zentangle style?

I have another simple Zentangle tutorial here.  

You will need:

pencil, eraser, waterproof fine-tip pen 

ruler, masking tape

watercolor paper and watercolor set

paintbrush, or water brush

water and paper towels

The following aren’t necessary, but will allow you to create additional effects:

watercolor pencils, watercolor crayons, masking fluid

Step One: 


1. Gather your supplies, and use the masking tape to tape down the paper to your work surface.

2. Brush plain water all over the paper.  Choose a paint color and create a light wash over the entire paper.

3. Use a paper towel to blot over the painted paper.

4. This creates a nice base for your image.

Step Two:


1.  Choose a quote or saying for your artwork.  Need inspiration?  You can find lots of great ones on Pinterest.

(Click Here to see my Inspirational Text board)

2. Using your pencil and ruler, lightly draw lines across your paper, creating areas for the words of your saying.

3. Draw the words of your saying lightly in pencil.  Again, getting inspiration from Pinterest or the internet is helpful.  Experiment, and have fun! Try different styles.  You can always erase it if you don’t like it!

4.  You may want to leave some areas that are for patterns/doodles only.

Step Three:


Once your text has been drawn in pencil, go over it with your waterproof pen.  Begin to fill in Zentangle patterns (get ideas here) and pattern doodles (get ideas here). Look at a variety of sources for inspiration!  I put my phone or Kindle Fire right next to my work area and then refer to it when I need a new pattern or idea.

Step Four (Optional):


1.  Masking Fluid is available at all Arts & Crafts stores.  It is a nice way to preserve areas of your watercolor, and allows you to paint right over it.  Choose a few areas you would like to keep the original paper color, and apply masking fluid over it.  Be sure to use a junky brush!  Here are a few more tips for using masking fluid.

2.  Fill in the areas with paint or watercolor crayons, going directly over the dried masking fluid.  A good way to protect other areas of your painting is to simply cover them with a post it note (for dry media only).

3.  See how the drawings appear to be on the lettering?  They will rub off with the masking fluid!

4.  To remove the masking fluid, simply rub gently with your fingers.

Step Five:


1.  A water brush is an easy way to work with water media.  They come in a variety of sizes, and have nice quality bristles.  You can dip the tip of it directly in your watercolors and then paint immediately onto your paper.  The water reservoir allows you to control just how much water goes onto your paper.

2. Use watercolor pencils or watercolor crayons to color directly onto your paper.  Be sure to leave open areas where the paint can flow when you add water.

3.  Use your water brush, or a paintbrush dipped in water to liquefy the color and fill in the colored area.

4.  Watercolor crayons create a more saturated color, but work better in bigger areas, like this basket weave pattern.

The Completed Zentangle Quote in Watercolor:


I hope you give this a try!  This is a great exercise to remind yourself to think positively.  It would also make a great gift for someone else!

If you have any questions, let me know- I will be happy to help!

I wish you a very Happy 2013!