Watercolour Techniques and Applications

When it comes to knowing which type of medium is best to use when making a picture for children’s book, there are a lot of options. Luckily, the resounding champion of mediums is watercolour for its soft yet bright colours. When working with children is important not to be overly bold with colours, as would a full colour, ink picture do. Children tend more towards watercolour illustrated books, over the full-colour ink page. The reason for this is pretty easy; full-colour ink pages are in school books and mean learning; watercolour is more inviting.



Watercolour painting is an art that dates back thousands of years; this is the best way to convey messages and capture the moment. There are several reasons as to why water colouring is still such a valuable art. From once showing high-class education, to being about to help survey land, using these paints. The beautiful colours and hues that can be created are simply breathtaking by focusing on one of the several techniques, yet the main method that will be used is a “Wet Brush” approach.



Simply the most common and useful methods used by illustrations for children’s books. Using whichever method is more comfortable with the artist, using diffusion will give that classic light colour known for in children’s books. There is a striking effect of lighter and darker areas that give depth and a unique dynamic to every aspect of the painting. To achieve this process; one would be using a “Wet brush” method. All that means is that you have, you a moderately charged brush with water and some pigment. Smooth brush strokes are essential!


Getting The Colours

Traditional Palette

Used the most in children’s story books, this method offers an airy, yet inviting feel to readers. Lines are vague yet the object of focus is very distinct in either coloration, size or sharpness. The basic colours are used with minimal mixing. The idea is to provide a base for readers to build off of. Knowing the colour of a character’s shirt, hair, more or less how they were depicted is essential to progressing the plot line.

Warm Or Cool

This style is starting to become more popular as more learn about how easy this method is. Using the same method as the traditional way, one uses colours that provide an atmosphere to the picture. A gloomy moment in the story could use very cool tones to give that “void” feel. Whereas if a family was going to the beach, every object would radiate warmth.



While certainly not classed as a technique, many pictures in a children’s book will use this method to give a richness to a picture, or give a very sparse feel. All this process implies, is using more or fewer layers of colour in the area to give depth and saturation to the paints. As one might imagine, the subtractive value comes in by adding a lighter colour will soften the saturation. Most painters will use “Chinese White” as their subtractive paint colour.
While there are hundreds of ways to paint using watercolour, when doing a children’s book, it is best to stick with a style that is known and proves its worth. Painting should be an enjoyable experience, and seeing the work of the artist only enhances the quality of the book produced. Therefore, take your time and test out different methods that will work best for you and your projects.

A few of my previous clients

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  • "These posters and flyers are perfect”
    - Julia G, Manager at the Truro branch of Pets at Home

  • “Sarah’s advice has been invaluable, she could have just illustrated my first attempt but knew there was more to be had from the story and pointed me towards the right help." – Darron Jon Love

  • Sarah has a great insight into how to best produce a children’s book and is really helpful in getting you there! I really cannot recommend Sarah enough – brilliant designer, friendly and professional. The experience has been a great one!“ – Jodie Jackson
  • “When we first contacted Sarah, Dainty Dizzy was a concept;  an idea to be shaped into a brand.  Sarah took this idea and illustrated it perfectly….and our brand look and feel was born.” – Dainty Dizzy

  • “I was so nervous ringing you as i've never done anything like this before, but you were so friendly and put me completely at ease.” - Donna Purvis

  • “Thank you, Sarah, for the amazing work you did on the illustrations for my book. Working with you has been so easy thanks to your enthusiasm, flexibility, support, professionalism and, of course, the amazing quality of your work." – Stuart Neath

  • "I am absolutely thrilled with the colours and love the look and overall feel of the book, its so different and unique, thank you so much"
  • "It's been great working with Sarah as our illustrator! She's been so great in taking all feedback on board and delivers work of the highest standard. Would 100% recommend :-)" - Michelle Gibbs, Doodle Dozen Series
  • “Sarah’s re-branding of my business has given it a much needed fresh and quirky feel. She provided us with an extremely friendly courteous and efficient service and injected an energy into the project, that only Sarah could.” – Discovery Leisure

  • “Sarah was lovely to work with and keen to make sure that the illustrations were a perfect match for the story. It’s obvious that she really cares about her work and wants you, the author, to be happy with the final results.” – Marion Adams

  • "Sarah quickly understood what I wanted to achieve and the look I was after. Sarah kept me informed and brought me into the whole process” – Darron Jon Love

  • "Sarah loves her work, her friendly ‘can do’ approach is reassuring whether you’re on your first or tenth book."  – Darron Jon Love
  • Sarah is professional, friendly and very knowledgeable, she delivered 100% with a new logo that was spot on! We can't recommend her enough!” - Lucy @ Get Active

  • "I hope my recommendation will persuade you to use Sarah! I cannot fault her, for her professionalism, enthusiasm and talent." - Michelle Hawkins, Director: The Flying DoDo

  • “Books arrived safely today- I am absolutely delighted with how they look – I can’t thank you enough – you’ve made my dream come true :)” – Jane Collins

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  • “I am so happy that I found Sarah to bring my book to life. Sarah took the time to listen and really made the effort to make sure that I was happy and her brilliant designs translated the words of my book into a beautiful visual story." - Jodie Jackson

  • "WOW! Love it! I'm so happy with what you've produced- and with so little input from me. FANTASTIC!!! THANK YOU” - Darren Pascoe: 'Red Rabbit Book'

  • Sarah really understood the brief right from the beginning and has been able to translate my ideas and mental images, that at times were quite specific, into magical illustrations that are better than I’d ever hoped. She has absolutely nailed it!” – Gareth Edwards

  • "I can’t speak highly enough of Sarah! She has brought Roopert Snoopert to life in a way I could never have imagined.
    The illustrations are fantastic! Sarah keeps you update with progress from the draft stage right through to sign off." - Paul Micklewright
  • "The logos are absolutely fantastic, they are spot on brief and are even better than we imagined!Paolo Pini, Step Up To Languages

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  • Sarah is an extremely talented designer and illustrator. She has that rare gift of being able to find something in your business or character that you never knew existed" Craig Green

  • "Thank you both so much for your hard work and dedication. Sarah is a fantastic illustrator! It is nice to know I have worked with someone who is so professional at her job, and will certainly remember her for the future if I need another book illustrating."