Dagdrommar. Sea Goddess.

I have been wanting to try out some watercolours in Dagdrommar ever since i had such encouraging results on the recent testing of the English Dagdrommar/Sommarnatt paper.  A couple of nights ago I pulled out my Twinkling H2O’s and my Koh-I-Noor brilliant watercolour wheel to have a play.  Being a watery medium I gravitated to the Sea Goddess picture in Dagdrommar.


Twinkling H2O’s. Little pots of shimmery mica infused goodness.

I was pretty certain that a little watercolour wouldn’t harm the paper and I was right. I started by colouring her hair in a mixture of shimmery green shades.  Keeping the paint fairly dense and being cautious with the water and moving around the picture to let areas dry without becoming heavily saturated resulted in the paper staying perfectly flat with no buckling.  Beautiful so far.  Then some madness came over me and I decided to try colouring her face with the H2O’s… Huge failure!  The colours did not want to play and the mica made getting an even layer next to impossible.  Grrrr!  I was filming the process for a future speed colouring and at this point I almost gave up and turned the camera off.  But I’m stubborn and I decided to try a different tactic before throwing in the towel on this one.

I got out my Prismacolors, my densest pencils.  If anything was going to hide that horrible blotchy mess this would.  It took an hour and some nervous decisions but I managed to get her face into some sort of order that I could live with.


Saved by Prismacolor!

Happy at last I put away the Prisma’s and got out my FC Polychromos to continue pencil shading her hair and add some depth to all the cream yellow sections.

I debated on colouring the fish just with the Poly’s but then I decided that i REALLY wanted to do more watercolouring.  So this time I broke out my Koh I Noor Brilliant watercolours and lay down a base colour on every fish and sea shell.  The paper took this fairly well although i found it starting to buckle.  I think this was due to the fact that I was trying to create light colours with more water and less paint.    I liked the result but it has left the paper permanently rippled. 🙁  It’s not noticable until you look at the back of the paper.  Still not bad enough to stop me colouring the images on the other side.  One other thing was that very deep, rich purple did end up bleeding through a little when I tried to dilute it on the paper.  My bad, I was getting too over confident.


After painting each of the images I went back to the Polychromos pencils and started to enhance the colours and shading to give everything more dimension.  I used a white Prismacolor to add highlights as well as a white Uniball Signo gel pen for all the little sparkles.  I also broke out my Micador paint pens for more colours.  These paint pens are marvelous… lots of lovely acrylic paint with a fine tip.  I also enhanced her eyelashes with a black fineliner.  Around this time the white back ground was starting to get to me.  I got a light yellow pot of my Twinklings and painted around the outside of the Sea Goddess.  I did plan to add some shading but I decided against it as I liked the way it looked as it was.  Now all that watercolour over such a large surface caused the paper to buckle like crazy.   It flattened out somewhat but there is still a ripple.  I am currently squishing the book against some others to further flatten the page.  But in truth it doesn’t worry me. I’m very happy with how this picture turned out and I’ll be using this combination of techniques again in my books.  (Except for colouring the face with twinklings… that was bad. 😉 )  Watch out for the future speed colouring of this piece.




  1. Carol

    So beautiful!

  2. Reva S.

    Hi Peta,
    Thank you for telling us about your struggle with the materials you were working with and the wonderful fact that you did not give up and thus you created the magical colors in your coloring of this image. More than just coloring, and the results are spectacular!!!
    Just a short time ago I saw your new presentation of your past work. It reaally took my breath away! I am so gratefulful that I found your site, found you and am so lucky to be learning from you. I have seen other tutorials by some others who are colorists but they just show themselves coloring and never say a word. Not any way near as fine as the way you present information and share with all of us, and I know form the comments they appreciate you as I do. Thank you again and again.
    I may try to enter something for the competition but so far the only thing I have ordered is the small set of the Utrecht pencis (same as the Dick Blick, Utrecht name is being closed out on the pencils but not other items they produce). I will try to do something, but if I feel I cannot accomplish something I consider worthwhile, I will let it go for now.
    I did have a problem this moring trying to send an email to you. I hope this one goes through. First time a message came up when I put in my email and Google sent an something that something that they did not recogniize my email. Perhaps it is because my email is from an Israel provider they are not familiar. I tried again and again, until I came to this site and it seems to be working. As you have people from all over the world sending you messages I hope no one else is having a problem.
    Again I want to say how wonderful your work is and for me it matches the person I am getting to know on your tutorials, etc. Bravo Peta!
    Wishing you all the best,

  3. Lo

    I am speechless.
    The beauty of this piece is simply outstanding. Actually I have no words to describe how I felt looking at it and reading your story of colouring this picture.
    I’m so glad I found your site as Reva S noted.
    No one compares to how you teach and how much I’ve learned.
    Thank you Peta.
    Can’t wait for the video ?

  4. Paula

    Wow, wow, WOW. This is magical! I’m in love with your color choices. I can’t tell in the slightest that things went astray, it came out simply beautiful. You are far and away the queen colorist of all time. 🙂 I know I speak for everyone when I say how much we appreciate you and your beautiful work. The time you take to share your talent and knowledge with us is a treasure. I can’t wait to see the video! 😀

  5. BigT

    Hi Peta,

    I have to say, that is absolutely gorgeous. I am eager to see the video. It’s also really great to know that it’s possible to repair what may seem, initially, to be an unfixable problem.


  6. Ysabel

    Wooooow, the colors and the effect of your colouring is awesome!! i ‘m fan

  7. Melissa Kyzar

    Bravo! I LOVE it!! And since I love watercolor, I too get some rippled pages! For some reason anything water soluble fascinates me – especially watercolor pencils or inktense where you color – even almost just scribble loosely – and then magic happens with the addition of water! I love it when you try new mediums on these books – gives me more ideas of what I can do with my stash of art supplies! 🙂

  8. Robin in WA

    I’m no expert but I don’t see any issues. Beautiful!! Love your color choices and the mediums your chose to use. Looking forward to the video!

  9. Hazel Smithies

    Lovely picture Peta. I too love my H20s. Thank you for sharing your mistake too – I’ll make sure I don’t do the same

  10. Faye Ellis

    Love it! I agree with everyone, we appreciate the time that you spend showing and TELLING us how you went about coloring the pictures. Always excited to see a new post or video from you! Thank you!

  11. mary

    Looks amazing! I would have never known you made any mistakes.

  12. Samantha G.

    Amazing! I would never have known you had a problem! Thank you for sharing the saga of your travails! I wonder, if the back of those pages had already been colored with pencils, if maybe they wouldn’t have buckled so much. I have been using your method of laying down a layer of black pencils and then using the Pitt pens (I bought them when you mentioned them in your review of Anamorphia, when you demonstrated the bit about doodling the butterflies). I have also used some pencils lightly and colored in some of my thinner page one sided books and then used some of my more “bleedy” pens, and not only does it really reduce the bleed thru, but with some of my wetter brush pens, there is no buckling. Something to maybe think of trying.
    Anyway, thank you for sharing your story. Everything you do always looks so perfect and beautiful, no one would ever know it wasn’t easy for you. Watching your videos of The Magical City has encouraged my to really try out my Inktense pencils. I really don’t have much control with my water brush (I need more practice!), but I saw a video using a Tombow blender brush N00 and it works really well for me. You just need to be careful to use a really light hand, as the brush is stiff and can damage the paper if you press too hard. So thank you thank you thank you for all you inspire us to try!!!

  13. Kyralae

    First of all, I have to say a big thank you for all your videos and now I found your blog. You have a very unique and effective teaching method that works! I love how you show your technique and explain how and why you do what you are showing and then go into the speed work to finish off a piece. Because of you I have gone from my simple 30+ year old box of crayola color pencils to Polychromos, Inktense, Derwint artist, and even inktense blocks. I’m still shakey with the watercolors but progressing.

    To hear how you try and find things that don’t work as well as those that do work is priceless! Everyone that asks about learning videos I send your way. Seeing the email of a new video or blog from you makes my day.

    Thank you again!!!

  14. Joyce F

    Oh, Peta
    I am endlessly impressed with what you do. Even when you are doing something in a media I would not begin to know how to use, and might not ever try, I still love looking at your videos and posts. This piece is remarkable. Not just because she is so beautiful, but because of the process you went through to get her there. I look forward to the speed color. I am such a better colorists than I was the day I stumbled onto your videos for the first time.

  15. Sandra Harris

    Just gorgeous again and would never know that you struggled with it. I am annoyed that I have H2Os but cant find them in the attic !They are from my scrapbooking days and I put them away only to be unable to find them. You encourage me however to get out the watercolours and do some colouring with them, as well as the other video you made using watercolours recently. Keep it up, we all enjoy your tutorials, the best on the web !

  16. Melissa Kyzar

    Sigh. Now I have to have it! I’m going to need a new bookshelf! LOL! I just wanted to throw this out there for all the followers who like working with Inktense or other water soluble media in coloring books. I found a series of books that have paper that works really well with Inktense. You can actually blend it with a bit more water than I can with my copy of magical city or even Animorphia. Not nearly as fabulous artwork but I enjoy them! I know it’s available in the US through Amazon but this is the publisher website because they sell and ship outside the US and there may be other sources as well. They are the Studio Series coloring books by Peter Pauper Press http://www.peterpauper.com/sub_cat.php?cPath=21_212 Just offering based on my experience with it! 🙂

    1. Chaypeta (Post author)

      Oh… thank you. I’m very interested in colouring books that can handle water colour. I’ll look into these. 🙂

      1. Melissa Kyzar

        They are more like the Art of Mindfulness style and the illustrators are either a mixed set or vary by the book but I particularly like the Zen Garden and Serenity ones though I own most of the ones they produced simply for the paper quality. I actually just purchased the Dragons one but it hasn’t arrived yet. I’ve used Tombows, Zig Real Brush pens and Sakura Koi in them – all with water and tested the Inktense and it was amazing how well they worked. The pages are also one sided in addition to being quite heavy duty with a smooth enough surface that it reminds me of some of my mixed media paper. The paper is exactly the same in all the books so any variety that pleases you should work fine! These have taken everything I’ve tried very well! I haven’t tried with watercolor paints, but the way they took the others it shouldn’t be a problem at all. The paper will ripple a little but tends to flatten out again as it dries. The paper is even better than Animorphia which tends to soak up the water – it stays more on the surface allowing for blending. I am going to pick a scene and do it all in Inktense sometime soon! Coloring books with paper that can handle a variety of media is rare so I wanted to share! 🙂

      2. Melissa Kyzar

        Oh and I FYI for all those who want to try Intense in the Johanna Basford books – it works! Very similar to the Peter Pauper Press paper – it can take a decent amount of water and blend with nothing bleeding through to the back. Haven’t done a full page, but I used a page in the back to test. Passed with flying colors! I tested Enchanted Forest and Lost Ocean. Secret Garden should be the same paper as Enchanted Forest so it should be fine too!

  17. Janice Stephens

    I love what you have done here. You are always teaching me and stretching me to try new things. Have you tried the blender marker with the inktense yet? It activates the pencil but doesn’t buckle page like water. I am liking that for books I want to paint but want to be careful of paper. I haven’t tried it with other paint but am going to get some blending liquid (or make my own) and try it with my twinkle H2Os.

    1. Chaypeta (Post author)

      Hi Janice. Thank you. 🙂 Yes i have tried the Tombow blender with Inktense pencils and they work beautifully on a lot of paper types, no bleed through or buckling just as you said. I don’t think i would use them on a large area… say a sky, but i haven’t tried yet. It would use a lot of the Tombow markers and they’re quite expensive here. But smaller stuff they are perfect.

  18. MsEithne

    I love your videos! So full of information and so beautiful. You clearly have both talent for art and talent for teaching (the two talents certainly do not always land together in one person!).

    A few months ago, I got a tip from a video you may find useful. I *think* it was Realisticart but I can’t find it anymore. The tip was about buckled paper. It can be flattened out again after using watercolours by making a padded surface by putting a folded bath towel and then a smooth tea towel (or other piece of smooth cotton fabric) or a piece of baking parchment on top of a level surface. Place the buckled watercolour on the padded surface, then cover with another smooth cotton cloth or more baking parchment and use an iron to gently and carefully press it flat.

    Before trying this, I’d make two test pieces with paper as close as you can find to the book’s paper, with colour swatches in every colour, water colour, marker, gel pen, etc, used in the original work. Iron one test piece, let cool, then compare the swatches with the other test piece.

    I’ve done this with watercolour paper and coloured pencils successfully but there’s so many possible variables, I would never do it without testing first.

    1. Chaypeta (Post author)

      Thank you! I’ve heard this is possible. It’s good to hear from someone who has experimented and found it works. i agree with you about testing the paper and art materials you use first before committing to using the technique with finished page. You never know how heat will effect certain things.

  19. Chris Sadler

    Hi Peta,

    Stunning work as always, can’t wait to see this come to life.

    You always make my day and I do sulk when there is no new video’s to watch. LOL!
    Would you consider do a demo of Jasmine Beckett Griffiths work please?

    Many Thanks Chris

    1. Chaypeta (Post author)

      Hi Chris, I’m (hopefully) expecting one of Jasmine’s books soon. I’ll see what the paper quality is like. Her work is quite exciting.

  20. Rosy

    I think you are going to love Jasmine’s book. The paper is great and because it’s one sided I have used some Copic on a few. Enjoy. Look forward to seeing what you do with them.

  21. dissertation us

    it looks so perfect! your muse did her best! 🙂 keep going! wanna see new mastepieces!

  22. Daki

    Hi Peta,
    Glad to see you are back.Happy new year to you, wishing you the very best in 2017. This picture is absolutely breathtaking. I have been wondering about using watercolours on this book. I have not started it yet as I just got the Swedish book from my friends. You are the reason that i got into the bigger colouring books. I started with the enchanted forest and have added four more to my collection. I have learnt so much from you for the past year and always look forward to the emails that you sent out with your new work.
    Looking forward to more tutorials from you.

    Could you please do a tutorial on clouds an water falls as I love the way you do them.
    Happy colouring!!

  23. Lesley McLeod

    Welcome back Peta. You have been missed and thought of often. Hopefully your troubles are soon a distant memory.
    Much love and respect.
    Lesley McLeod.


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