Butterfly Artwork


For the weekend assignment you will be incorporating the different processes and techniques learn during the first module of this course to create an artwork of six butterflies.


The number drawings, deli paper coloured sheets and carbon paper textures are used to create an interesting collection of butterflies. This project is ideal to explore different colour combinations based on the basic set of colours mixed with white and black.


By using butterfly drawings made from observation and numbers as reference, you will create a collage made up of six different butterflies. Select between four and seven colours from your painted deli sheets to create from. Keep it simple.

The size of the watercolour sheet will indicate how big your butterflies should be. Remember to leave a bit of space between the butterflies. The arrangement is in a grid, with each butterfly as important as the other. The sizes of the six butterflies are similar with small differences and variables to make it interesting.

Once the basic shapes in carbon drawing and textures are stuck down with matte medium, you can add the butterflies' bodies and sections of colour building it up. Take care to insure a balance of colour without making the butterflies uniform.

You can also add painted sections on the wings with colour and add paint medium to control the translucence, use the coloured sheets as reference to mix colour. If you want to use a pastel colour to collage on top of a darker colour, it is an idea to paint the back of the pastel sheet with white to eliminate the translucence of the deli paper. Make sure these sheets are dried thoroughly before collaging.

You can also use the white painted sheets to collage sections and paint on top of it in another colour, or apply carbon copy textures selected from the sheets.

If you like you can add depth to areas of the butterflies by painting in darker shades, using matte medium to control the translucency of the paint (remember to paint in very thin layers). This applies also to sticking deli paper sheets to the watercolour paper, the layering on top of each other to make the collage, and then painting details on top of the finished colour

Use the dip pen if you like - I avoided black in the live demo and this video, instead I used shades of colour. I did not use the dip pen, but you are welcome to add detail to your butterflies in this way should you wish.

This method of having a basic grid of six, and smaller sized butterflies can also be applied to create flower designs to explore colour combinations and layering with collage and paint to explore further


The butterfly artwork project is a simple but effective way to explore colour combinations and methods of collaging. The project's aim is also to facilitate ways to make designing decisions and allowing yourself to experiment in a variety of ways within the simple basic butterfly shape. The addition of carbon textures and marks as well as the matte medium and high flow paint to add painted colour layers and details allow us to develop new ways in which to make interesting collages.

© 2020 Esté MacLeod

© 2020 Explore Colour