Transparent effects with glitter watercolors - from guest blogger Katherine Knapik

Transparent effects with glitter watercolors - from guest blogger Katherine Knapik

Hi everyone! My name is Katherine Knapik! I’m a professional illustrator (you can find me @kknapikart on Instagram), long-time watercolorist, and fan of all things sparkle! Today I want to talk a little bit about using Smiling Hippo Watercolors for transparent objects! For our demonstration today, I’ll be using two different colors from The Smiling Hippo: Louisa from The Encanto Collection, and Zazu from The Lion King Collection.

     Because watercolor is a transparent medium, it is absolutely fabulous for layering with multiple washes, and since glitter watercolors are absolutely gorgeously sparkly and reflective, they make for the perfect glassy surfaces. After putting down all the matte color of this magical flower suspended in a glass case, we can add a beautiful shimmery wash.


    Now we still want to have some dimension going on here, which is why I’ve chosen two colors. Our Louisa is going a little heavier on one side of our cylindrical case and a little skinny bit on the other side to create some form, since it’s darker than Zazu. It’s glittery, but still in the shadows. Zazu, our lighter, frostier paint is going to go on the party of the glass that are getting hit by the light. Don’t worry if it smudges a tiny bit of your matte paint underneath; there would naturally be some light refraction and visual distortions when viewing an object through a transparent medium anyway.

     See how we get this gorgeous frosted look of the glass in front of the flower? This is a great quick way to give your illustrations some dimension. You can also the same technique of washing shimmery watercolors onto your art for other transparent objects: the glass of windows, looking through water, the lenses of glasses and sunglasses, and more!

     And without further ado, here’s the finished work!

Back to blog

Leave a comment