Expressive Lettering in Watercolor: Spring!

A collection of expressive calligraphy and lettering on the theme of spring, created with watercolor

Spring Lettering by Iskra Johnson


Watercolor is a medium that always surprises. It is a perfect way to say spring! The new shoots are promising, but what you thought was lettuce turns out to be squash, the baby pak choi is tough as a grown up and the slugs drink the beer but keep on partying, in spite of what the organic gardening book says. For my watercolor designs I use heavy rag paper and fine pigments, work quickly and spontaneously and then wait for things to dry. (I also use a hair dryer. . . .) It’s all about strategic mistakes, otherwise called “magic,” and going with the flow.

Although it is a spontaneous art form, with the new options available in computer image editing I have many options to control color after the work is dry.  I can scan and fine tune the palette to work with different color schemes, modify values and change proportion to fit multiple layouts. I am happy to say watercolor is beginning to be used more in advertising and design. It is an antidote to vector-sameness and brings a very human touch.