Vintage Watercoloring

Learn how to create watercolor backgrounds and draw a vintage camera

Whether cameras, old keys or pocket watches: Vintage motifs are modern and are perfectly suited for decorating a picture frame or for use as a greeting card motif. A light, transparent watercolor background is easy to create and imparts your drawing or lettering with an atmospheric framework.

Vera gives you step-by-step instructions for how to create both using the ABT Dual Brush Pen Vintage Set and how to draw a lovely retro camera.

If you already know how to create watercolor backgrounds, you can skip directly to the illustration here.

Direct to illustration

This is what you need for watercolor backgrounds with a vintage motif:

Watercoloring Background

Step 1: Preparation

Choose the colors for your background. I have selected the colors 817 mauve and 407 tiki teal.

It is best to use watercolor paper for your drawing because it absorbs water well and doesn’t curl easily. Lay the film on the sheet of paper so you know exactly where the color should go

Step 2: Distribute the color

Now move the ABT Dual Brush Pens across the film and distribute the color any way you like.

Step 3: Bring on the water!

Now apply water to the film using the spray bottle. Take care to use the right amount of water. Too much water leaves visible stripes, and too little water makes the colors look pale.

Then press your watercolor paper onto the film.

Tip: If you are using only a small piece of film or a Blending Palette, you can simply repeat this step.  

Step 4: Allow to dry

Carefully remove the paper and turn it over. Wait until the paper is completely dry before moving on to the next step.

You can also use the watercolor backgrounds as a vibrant setting for your letterings.

The vintage illustration

Once the paper is dry, start with a sketch. The best thing to use is an HB pencil; it makes very light, fine lines that are easy to paint over later.

I have selected a retro camera as motif. It is very easy to draw using a ruler and compass: a square and a circle. A few details, like knobs and dials, make the drawing more realistic.

Then you can add vines and leaves to your illustration to create a dreamy vintage look.

You can create wonderful blends using the water-based ABT Dual Brush Pens. Take a ceramic mixing palette or a Blending Palette and put some color on it using the ABT Dual Brush Pen. Then you can use the water tank brush to mix and take up the colors.

Now start filling the areas with color. Let your imagination run free and mix the colors any way you like.

This could also be a sweet birthday card, or you could use the watercolor technique as a background for your handlettering projects


Quotes for your vintage illustration:

  1. You don’t need a time machine if you have a camera.
  2. Life is like a camera / Focus on what’s important / Capture the good moments / Develop from the negatives / And if things don’t work – just take another shot
  3. Memories are timeless treasure of the heart
  4. Memories last a lifetime

About the author


- Vera Mosina

Vera Mosina has always had a passion for illustration and creative projects. Her schooling and professional career also revolved around creativity. But since 2017 she has sought a counterpoint to her profession in illustration by publishing her work on her Instagram channel. Her favorite medium is watercolors and anything that behaves like watercolors, such as our ABT Dual Brush Marker.


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