One of the best things that has happened to me since I’ve started blogging is meet other bloggers who share the same mental wavelength as mine. And one of the most interesting people I’ve come across is Lindsey Bugbee. I fell in love with her blog at first sight and then I got to know Lindsey over a couple of e-mails.I simply love the fact that she is such warm, kind hearted person in addition to being super talented. Her lettering and calligraphy works are a class apart and she does unique illustrations as well. And guess what, you’re in for a treat today because she’s going to show you how she created this beautiful watercolor henna cat. So read on and enjoy!


Zakkiya recently wrote a wonderful guest post on my blog at, ThePostman’s Knock. , I agonized over what subject I could blog about that would serve as an appropriate reciprocation for her detailed, colorful tutorial over how to create a simple watercolor illustration. As it turns out, the answer was in her tutorial! I love watercoloring, and I decided I would show you, Zakkiya’s readers, how I like to use a calligraphy pen to add vivid detail to watercolor illustrations. Today, I have chosen to illustrate a cat – and not just any cat: a regal kitty with intricate henna details … partly to honor Zakkiya’s homeland {India}, but mostly because I just love henna motifs!

As per Zakkiya’s tutorial, I first created a pencil outline. Because I won’t be outlining in black today, I was mindful of making extremely faint lines so they won’t show through the watercolor. You’ll probably have to squint to see the outline!
Next, I readied my supplies. Before creating watercolor illustrations, I always moisten my watercolor palette with water. I use my “art spoon” to ladle a small of water in each compartment.


Once the water is in, the colors soften right up and are ready for easy use!


Because the cat’s body is going to be my canvas, I didn’t take pains to ensure that I used several different colors to depict it. I went over the entire outline {except for the eyes} with a sort of dull goldenrod color.



Next, I added hints of black in the shadows.


Here’s where it starts to get fun and surreal! To supplement the shadows, I added a pop of navy.


Next, I utilized some coral to add some interest to the ears.


Thus far, I have used a brush to shade and blend. Here’s where you start using a calligraphy pen! Before you get to this stage, I suggest you read my blog post over watercolor calligraphy to get a good understanding of how to load your nib with watercolor pigment. It’s not hard, I promise, and the payoff is more than worth it! I am using a Brause Blue Pumpking nib here, which is excellent for watercolor calligraphy and illustration.


I continued to use the nib to add the foundation designs for my henna motif.


For larger areas, I used a brush to fill my design elements in.


For more intricate details, I turned again to my calligraphy pen.



You’ll notice I am using a lot of brown here – I love earth tones!


If you’re unsure about whether or not you can use your brush to fill in an area, it’s best to use your calligraphy pen – just to be on the safe side!


As you can see, the cat is starting to fill out.


At this point, I added some contouring design to the tail to differentiate it from the rest of the cat’s body.


And I knew that a complicated, large design would be best for the cat’s haunches/leg – the largest area on my “canvas”.


Here’s what it looked like so far … it just needs whiskers and a few areas filled in!


Filling in elements like whiskers is made easy with the calligraphy pen!


At this point, I needed to examine my cat illustration from a distance in order to conduct a self-critique.


After looking for a while at my illustration, I wasn’t happy with how flat the face looked. I also felt the eyes should be more piercing … so I added some contour to the face and complex color to the eyes!


This critique went better!


Supply list:
*You don’t have to use watercolor paper; but I like it because its low absorbency ensures that colors remain as vivid as possible. I also watercolor on 70 lb. drawing paper with success!
Thanks so much for having me, Zakkiya! If anyone has questions, please feel free to comment on this blog post – and if you make a watercolor illustration of your own with the help of a calligraphy pen, please share it with us.
You can find Lindsey at her home on the web, the Postman’s Knock, on Twitter , on Facebook , and on Instagram .


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