How I make my custom original watercolor nursery artwork

I'm a young woman, and at this stage of my life I'm surrounded by other young people who also happen to be parents to adorable little babies. New babies pop up all around me like mushrooms. Just last year my friend had triplets… Can you imagine?

There came a day when a part of my brain responsible for coming up with gift ideas couldn't keep up with such a rapid baby supply to satisfy their new baby gift demand. I was stuck and didn't want to repeat myself. So, I figured that I could as well paint a little nursery keepsake. Each gift would be unique and I wouldn't have to spend sleepless nights thinking of great (but not over-the-top great) and memorable (but not too much out-of-the-box) gift ideas for my friends. This is how I came up with an idea of a watercolor initial artwork that could be customized to each baby's unique personality and each family's unique story, memorabilia and favorite things.

Here are two examples of custom watercolor initials that I did.

Here are two examples of custom watercolor initials that I did.

I start working on a new initial painting after talking with parents about things they would like to see in the picture. For some families it is important to reflect their baby's personality (this is especially popular as a 1st birthday gift) - an adventurer? a girl's girl? an explorer? Others like immortalizing certain family memorabilia such as a grandma's brooch or baby's favorite stuffed animal.

I start out with a rough draft to loosely sketch out basic ideas. Then I show my sketch to a baby's parents to make sure we're on the same page. We decide on the size of artwork, its color scheme and framing.

After my sketch is approved, I refine my lineart and transfer it to watercolor paper. I do not sketch on watercolor paper, because drawing and erasing messes with its texture.

After my sketch is transferred, I block out the initial with masking fluid and start painting. After watercolor is done, I refine details with colored pencils and scan my work for future use in my portfolio.

Usually completing these steps takes up two to three days.

To view my nursery art gallery, click here.