The Art of Storytelling Through Watercolors

by Altenew

Hello, Altenew friends! Have you heard of the phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words”? The same is true for every card that you make. Behind every design, every card flap, and every panel, is a story waiting to be told. 

Find new ways to tell stories in your card designs with watercolors!
Everything You Need to Know About Watercolor Painting

Today, we will talk about how YOU can tell unique and touching stories in your cards, scrapbook pages, and other projects through watercolors! With every color, form, stroke, and design, we will show you how you can craft meaningful images featuring our very own Watercolor Pan Sets

Convey Powerful Emotions Through Watercolors and Hues

Colors are powerful watercolor tools that convey the card message's strength, intensity, and meaning – even without sentiments! For example, stronger and more passionate emotions are best expressed with bolder, more vibrant, and richer watercolor hues. For more toned-down cards, use colors like how you would speak in real life – gently and in hushed tones. 

 Use light watercolor hues to convey positive emotions in your card designs!
Watercolor Essential 12 Pan Set

Furthermore, the colors that you use also signify a lot of meanings. Different colors symbolize different ideas and themes. It varies from culture to culture, but there are general meanings that you can use to guide you in choosing the perfect color palette for your card's story. 

To do these fantastic storytelling tactics with colors, you need a versatile pan set that offers the range of emotions and meanings you want to show. Try looking at the color swatch of our Watercolor 36 Pan Set and imagine each of the colors representing a human emotion, idea, and thought:

Find the perfect color to express your emotions with our free color swatches!
Altenew Watercolor 36 Pan Set Color Swatches

The varying opaqueness represents how strong the emotions in your cards would be. Here are some colors from our Watercolor 36 Pan Set that you can use to express deep love, immense gratitude, and other intense feelings:

 Use vibrant and highly-pigmented colors to express strong emotions!
Bold and Vibrant Watercolors 

Rubellite, Grapevine, and Crimson – These beautiful and vibrant shades of red signify fiery passion, determination, courage, desire, and romance. These colors are perfect for use in watercolor card designs for your partner, spouse, intimate friends, or loved ones.  

Purple Wine, Puffy Heart, and Pink Diamond – These deep hues of pink are the colors to choose when you want to send a thank-you card. Pink is the most popular color associated with gratitude.

Jet Black and Moon Rock – Black symbolizes a different kind of elegance and classiness. Although the color black isn't commonly used in card designs, it can bring extra sophistication to your cards. You can also use black to convey grief or mourning for sympathy cards. (You can also do this the other way around – use Jet Black Cardstock and pair it with a Metallic Watercolor Pan Set

Upgrade your card making projects with stunning metallic watercolors!
Metallic Watercolor 14 Pan Set

For more positive, light, and carefree vibes, you can use the following colors: 

  • Warm Sunshine, Fresh Lemon, and Citrus Burst – This sunny family of yellow colors represents the best thing about humanity – hope, happiness, and energy. These shades are perfect for festive themes, such as Congratulations, Get-Well-Soon, and I-Miss-You cards. 
  • Lagoon, Ocean Waves, and Mountain Mist – Bring peace, inspiration, and loyalty to your cards with blue hues! These colors will bring relaxation and a calm sense of harmony to the recipients of your card designs.
  • Bamboo, Frayed Leaf, Paperbag, and Evergreen – The green and brown tones of this watercolor palette will surely refresh your cards. If you want to convey vibrance, using nature's colors is the way to go! 

See how various designers used different color palettes from the stunning Artists’ Watercolor 24 Pan Set in this blog hop: 

Find new inspiration in this watercolor blog hop full of gorgeous watercolor projects!
Celebrating Watercolors Blog Hop

Explore Fun Themes With Watercolor Strokes and Forms

Another essential element in watercolor storytelling is deciding on your technique. Are you going to do freehand for softer-looking and watery washes? Or do you want your watercolor images to be more solid and outlined? Whether you want your watercolors to be loose or not, your form, stroke, and application technique can contribute to the narrative of your design. 

You can use light color washes with light watercolor applications to portray a relaxed, calm atmosphere. Or, should you want a more pronounced image, use more pigment and outline your picture with Artist Alcohol Markers or pencils. 

Here is an example of how watercolor strokes can totally affect the look of your design. 

You can experiment with different watercolor looks - freehand or outlined, the Watercolor Pan Set makes gorgeous floral images!
Lovely Layering with Ashlea
Using different watercolor forms and strokes can really change up the look of your cards, even if you're using the same stamp sets!
Watercolor Essential 12 Pan Set

Even though Ashlea used the same sentiment and stamp set for both cards, the way she painted the florals resulted in two different watercolor looks. 

If you're a beginner who wants to be guided in different watercolor techniques, fret not! We offer a vast pool of watercolor resources, tutorials, and Altenew Academy classes

Check out our FREE Watercolor Techniques classes below:

You can also enroll in more advanced classes with the best deals available! Check out this latest freehand watercolor class with Lydia

Bring Your Watercolor Story to Life With Other Media

Last but not least, enhance your watercolor story by adding other media! Watercolors, especially Watercolor Pan Sets, are a fun medium to work with in general. They can be paired up with a variety of different crafting tools. From embossing folders to hot foil plates, stencils, and dies – the creative limits are endless! 

Here are a few mixed-media project inspirations for unique watercolor designs:   

This gorgeous watercolor rainbow card made by Erum was made using the ink smooshing technique!
Captivating Blooms Stamp Set
One way to level up your watercoloring projects is to pair it with stunning dies!
Swallowtail Butterfly Die Set
Shimmering metallic watercolors are best paired with a Jet Black Cardstock and Antique Silver embossing powder!
Jet Black Cardstock
Simple Roses Stamp Set
This lovely card by Emily features an Autumnal Color Palette, aligning with the look of the peony florals.
Build-A-Garden: Pristine Peonies & Add-On Die Bundle
Try a new watercoloring experience with empty brush markers!
DIY Watercolor Brush Marker

Discover more ways to tell stories in your cards with our monthly e-Book Inspiration! Download this month's FREE edition of Create & Inspire so you can learn to craft anywhere you are, whenever you want.

Craft Your Amazing Stories with These Watercolor Elements!

All in all, we hope that you learn to craft inspirational stories with watercolors. Use colors, strokes, and forms to unite the message and sentiment you put in your card making and other paper crafting projects. These elements would give you consistency and harmony that would set you apart as a crafter! 

Learn how to watercolor images without outlines with this engaging tutorial by Erum!
No-Line Watercolor Session (Video Tutorial!)

Remember that at the end of every card, there is a happy ending waiting for you – the satisfaction of creating something beautiful with your hands! Till next time, friends! 

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Cindy C. October 19, 2022 - 2:31 PM

What a great post, loving reading about how each color family convey different feelings!

Altenew October 20, 2022 - 6:49 PM

We’re so glad you learned something from this!


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