No Line Watercolor

by Jenn Shurkus

Stamp a light image then watercolor for a handpainted look.


  • Dye-based inks or other watercolor medium (Antique Linen, Vintage Photo, Tea Dye, Hickory Smoke, and Worn Lipstick Distress Inks used here)
  • Outline stamps (Lawn Fawn Party Animals clear set used here)
  • Watercolor cardstock (Ranger Distress Watercolor Cardstock used here)
  • Small paint brush (#2 brush used for sample)
  • Heat tool
  • Other supplies as needed to complete the project (Lawn Fawn products used here: Birthday Tags stamp set, Tag You're It die set, 4 Bar Stitched Rectangle die, Wild Rose and Walnut ink, 6x6 Paper Pad: Petite Mon Amie, Stamp Shammy)


  1. Step 1

    Stamp an outline image in a light colored ink onto watercolor cardstock. Antique Linen Distress Ink was used here.

  2. Step 2

    Create a palette of the colors you are going to use. This can be done by “smooshing” the inkpad onto a non-porous surface (a laminated piece of cardstock is used here).

  3. TIP:
    With watercoloring the trick is to build up layers of color. Water down a bit of the ink so you will have a very light version of it.

  4. Step 3

    Use a paintbrush to color in the image all over. The light ink used to stamp the image will take on the color that you are painting with. (Vintage Photo Distress Ink used here.)

  5. HINT:
    Between layers of color, heat the cardstock with a heat tool so the color won’t run.

  6. Step 4

    Using the same ink color, but no added water, paint in the area where you would like to add shading.

  7. While the ink is still wet, use a clean paintbrush with clear water and blend in between the shaded areas and light areas to blend out the line.

  8. Step 5

    If you have any outlines you need to fill in, do so with undiluted ink on your brush, gently tracing the lines.

  9. Step 6

    After finishing with one color area, follow the same steps with the next color. (The next color for the sample is watered down Tea Dye Distress Ink.)

  10. Again, go in with undiluted ink to add the shading. Blend out the shading with clear water.

  11. Step 7

    Smaller details can be filled in without adding shading.

  12. TIP:
    For more precise details, use a liner pen or marker, or add small touches with a fine detail brush.

  13. Step 8

    Use the painted image to complete a card or other project.


Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for No Line Watercolor. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

***Please note - Internet Explorer/Edge is not a supported browser, and will not allow you to see the videos. Please use Chrome, Firefox or Safari to view our tutorial videos.

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

What a wonderful technique. Beautiful results and so much fun. Thank you for the excellent tutorial, Jenn.
Pssequimages  |  Wed Feb 17, 2016 at 4:18 AM
This is exactly what I needed! Step by step instructions from the start. Thank you!
Patricia Cacho  |  Wed Feb 17, 2016 at 4:38 AM
You're such a great teacher Jenn - thank you!
lydia  |  Wed Feb 17, 2016 at 5:37 AM
Beautiful shading with the brush and colors. I am amazed at your steady hand in painting the edges! Adorable cards.
stampersuzz  |  Wed Feb 17, 2016 at 5:41 AM
This is awesome...thanks so much Jenn! Love your cards!
~amy~  |  Wed Feb 17, 2016 at 7:08 AM
WOW!! Loved watching this video. Now I want to watercolor! What size brush did you use??
MaryJo Marshall  |  Wed Feb 17, 2016 at 8:38 AM
I haven't taken any on-line classes for this & wondered how it was done. Thank you for the wonderful tutorial!
Greta H  |  Wed Feb 17, 2016 at 9:38 AM
I haven't done any painting, but this tutorial made it look like I might be able to try. Thanks
Susanne Stephenson  |  Wed Feb 17, 2016 at 10:31 AM
Fabulous tutorial! Thanks so much for sharing with us today!
Wendy Klein  |  Wed Feb 17, 2016 at 3:31 PM
With no line coloring you are supposed to use an "archival" ink that is not reactive to water. The distress inks are activated with water. I uses Ranger archival ink in "Pale Ochre" for no line water coloring.
Kathy  |  Wed Feb 17, 2016 at 7:25 PM
Kathy I actually purposely use reactive inks when I truly want my lines to disappear - I like SU Daffodil Delight for that effect - try a water soluble ink for a different look!
Lydia Fiedler  |  Wed Feb 17, 2016 at 7:31 PM
MaryJo- the brush I showed in the video is a no2 round brush smile
jenn shurkus  |  Wed Feb 17, 2016 at 7:58 PM
Fantastic tutorial! Right at the top of my list to try!!! Thanks for all the tips.
Jennifer Timko  |  Wed Feb 17, 2016 at 8:02 PM
Great tutorial. Thanks, Jenn.
Gail S  |  Wed Feb 17, 2016 at 8:40 PM
Your work is have inspired me to try again!
hopemitchell  |  Thu Feb 18, 2016 at 7:55 AM
I really loved watching your video! I don't understand the "no line" part, however. What does that mean?
Sally Downes  |  Thu Feb 18, 2016 at 5:06 PM
Thanks os much for the terrific tutorial Jenn.
Susie Williams  |  Thu Feb 18, 2016 at 7:57 PM
Hi Sally- It is called "no line" because you don't see a black outline. You use a lighter ink color so that it takes on the color you use to color over it. I hope that makes sense smile
jenn shurkus  |  Wed Mar 2, 2016 at 12:00 PM
That makes a lot of sense, Jenn! Thanks very much. I'm just getting into watercoloring and have lots to learn.
Sally Downes  |  Wed Mar 2, 2016 at 12:59 PM
Awesome video...going to try this technique this afternoon!
liz hacault  |  Fri Mar 18, 2016 at 11:08 AM

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