Since watercolour is transparent, there are things you can do with it that you can’t do with other media. It’s fun to see how different painting surfaces look when you use transparent paint, and the artist Dianne Claudine likes to use old book pages for a whimsical effect!

You can paint on just about any kind of paper if you just place it over the watercolour paper so that you can get the proper absorbency, if you just be gentle with the brushstrokes if the paper is thin.

Let’s follow Dianne’s demonstration as she shows us how to paint a poisoned apple from a Walt Disney film! I will be using the Etchr Watercolour 24 Half Pan Set, but you can use any watercolours you like!

Step 1: Sketch

Sketch the outline of the apple like you normally would, with the book page taped down over the watercolour paper. If you can help it, avoid erasing over the torn paper edge so that it doesn’t wear out.

Step 2: Yellow

The lightest colour on any given red apple is going to be a pale yellow. Taking Lemon Yellow, I gently add shadow and definition to all the areas needed.

In the cartoon style of the original animated apple, the outline of the apple is also yellow, so make sure to incorporate that as well. To blend out the edges, use a clean wet brush.

Step 3: Green and Red

If you are following along with the Etchr watercolours, the colours I’m using next are Rouge Red and Lime Green. Shade the yellow outline of the apple with green, and add the first layer of red to the main area of the apple.

To get saturated colour in watercolour, it’s better to work in gradual layers than it is to go in with a bright colour all at once.

Step 4: Blue and Purple

Here is where I incorporate Sky Blue and Royal Purple in very subtle layers to add some contrast and shadow to the apple. Red and purple sometimes don’t look so
nice together so I keep the purple shadows very subtle and let the blue do most of the work.

Here’s where you may notice that your book page reacts differently to the colour than the watercolour paper does. In my case, the page I used is much darker than the colour of the watercolour paper. This is all fine and good because the appeal of the book page is the contrast!

Step 5: Gradual Layering

Add as many gradual layers of red as you need to get a deep hue. If you’re using hot press paper in a dry climate like I am, then some of the edges might dry before you can blend them, but that’s okay because you can either use that as part of the aesthetic or smooth those edges out with white opaque paint at the end if they bother you.

Step 6: Brighter Red

I added a pop of Simply Red to warm up the reddest areas, and make the cooler shade of red from earlier imply some shading and dimension. In the picture here, you can see that in one of the eyes the paint is a bit wet still. That’s about how you want any area you blend to look while you’re blending it, so you’ve got to be quick!

Step 7: Deepening the Contrast

I took the reds and added some Ultramarine Blue to make a deep reddish-purple which I then used to deepen the contrast. I was pleasantly surprised at the end to see the sinister look of the apple intensified by the purple! When you paint characters, it’s important to consider how each colour affects character design.

I hope you have lots of new painting ideas after doing this project! Also, remember that if you don’t want to use a book page, you can use any alternative paper you like. Maybe there’s some pretty printed paper you can use! Thicker paper is better because it holds up better.

If you’d like to explore more subjects with Dianne Claudine, I highly recommend watching her 90-minute art class. Also, for more tutorials and art classes from us, subscribe to our email newsletter!


  • Zoie McIntyre said:

    Well I love this and I love your written tutorial Dianne. Loved it so much I did purchase your course :).
    Etchr Studio replied:
    We’re glad this has been helpful, Zoie! Enjoy making more art!

    April 07, 2022

Leave a comment