How to: Gelly Rolls & Watercolor

To my wallet’s dismay, lettering has provided an incredible creative outlet for me to not only experiment with different lettering styles but also different lettering mediums like watercolor, pointed pen, every brush pen ever, gold…. it goes on!

But today I’ll show you a neat trick I learned from the awesome @TrineTollefsen, which is to use your Sakura Gelly Roll to get a cool resist on your watercolor.  I had been eyeing the masking fluid but wanted a cheap alternative to try it out first.  Here’s what it ultimately looks like:

Quick tutorial on how to use a Gelly Roll as a resist in your watercolor lettering //
Quick tutorial on how to use a Gelly Roll as a resist in your watercolor lettering //

What you’ll need: I may feature affiliate links, which simply means if you happen to purchase something, I will make a small commission at NO additional cost to you!  Thank you in advance for your support.

Here’s my quick 5 minute ish video tutorial on how I did this look.  If you like the video, like and subscribe!  Can’t watch? I break it down below.

I learned from Kristina Werner (and other watercolor painters) to tape down my water color paper so it doesn’t warp everywhere – I’m just using some wide washi tape from Michael’s.

Using the prompt of “space” from Melissa’s #togetherweletter challenge, I sketched out what I wanted to write as a play on the phrase, “white space.” Using the clear glaze pen, I letter my phrase very slowly and carefully – it’s important that the ink pools a little bit, flows quite a bit to create a thick layer of ink in your letters.  Go slowly because you won’t really be able to go back over it afterward.  This helps you get a more opaque resist.  Let it DRY for quite a bit – at least 3 minutes until it’s no longer tacky to the touch.

Brush some water over the paper where you want the color to go.  Then, just drop some watercolor down.  I don’t really have a technique for this, other than, “move the color around until it looks good.”  I grab some more water to blend the colors together, and dab at some of the spots with a napkin to create some light spots. I used a q-tip to rub away whatever color I could from the Glaze.

It’s not perfect, but it gives you an idea of what is possible with it!  If nothing else, a fun thing to add to your arsenal of supplies.  If you post it on Instagram, tag me, @prettyprintsandpaper, so I can see what you’re doing! If you’re on Facebook, check out the group Lettering League and share your work there with some other aspiring letter-ers. Can’t wait to see what you’re creating!




2 thoughts on “How to: Gelly Rolls & Watercolor

  1. Hello Jessica!

    I was looking for new watercolor and calligraphy techniques to try out and stumbled across your blog. You could say I was very surprised when I came across your about me section and realized you were my leadership teacher in 2015! Such a small small world. I hope you are doing well! I love your blog…it’s very informative!

    -Stefanie Rebers


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