Watercolor Butterfly with Graphic Style Background


Graphic Style Watercolor & Pen Art Lesson

I happened upon the idea for this piece in an unlikely place- the restroom of a retirement home! Unfortunately, the artwork on the walls didn’t have any artist name anywhere on the pieces of art. The basic idea was a pen & ink drawing of a bird or butterfly colored with vibrant watercolors & a black & white graphic style background. There were four prints & they were so eye catching that I was inspired to create my own! This could be a project for 6-12th grade and it is a fun exploration of positive and negative space reversal!

Supplies: drawing or velum paper, sharpies or black ink, watercolors


  1. In pencil, draw a butterfly, bird or insect. Outline your lines with Sharpie-vary the width to add interest. You can also stipple some of it to add texture. If you choose to use ink instead of sharpie, then you should paint it first, then apply the ink.
  2. If using sharpie, now paint the image with watercolors.
  3. Next, use a ruler to draw a rectangle behind the image. It needs to go from top to bottom.
  4. Draw in any additional visual elements (like flowers, swirl ides, etc.). You can have them go in & out of the rectangle area for more interest.
  5. Use a sharpie or Pen & ink to fill in the background.


If you choose to re-blog or use this lesson in any way (written or photos), then please make sure to link/credit Create Art with ME.

Related Lessons:

Beyond the Border

Pen & Ink Techniques Lesson Plan & Worksheet

Basic Watercolor Painting Techniques Lesson Plan & Worksheet

Advanced Watercolor Painting Techniques & Worksheet (includes student guide)

Ultimate Watercolor Techniques Packet (3 Full Lessons & Worksheets in 1 Packet)

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  1. Becky williams

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