Magic Mushrooms: Neutrals & Linework For Depth

All mushrooms are edible, some only once. -- Croatian Proverb


Today’s project is all about mushrooms. The focus is on drawing with a dip pen and High flow acrylic paint or other indelible ink with a dip pen or a fine liner.

This must be a non soluble ink in order to paint watercolour over it without the lines dissolving.


Sketchbook drawings

Use the Mushroom Pinterest board as reference and inspiration for shapes. Use the alphabet and your own handwriting as starting point for sketchbook drawings and explore the variety of shapes you can create, as well as the positioning of the mushroom: upside down and sideways.

The guidance of the letters will assist in exploring different creative possibilities.


Once you are satisfied with the drawings you can do the same on the watercolour sheet. All twenty six letters of the alphabet can be used, or you can be more selective and use multiple letters of the same shapes as starting point. Black High flow paint and a dip pen has been used in my demo. You can use a finaliser instead, but this exercise is ideal to develop the drawing technique and to focus on creation depth with linework.

Once you have filled the page with mushroom drawings colour is added. Sticking to neutral colours for this project will help to keep the focus on creating depth and dimension. Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Q Gold, Paynes grey and Ultramarine are the colours used in the project, a sword or dagger brush is used for the painting.

Keep the colours quite diluted, not too strong, and dab paper with a kitchen paper towel to take off some colour if the application is too opaque. Subtle gray shading is added to emphasise the dimension as well as to create a shadow next to the mushroom.

The very basic shapes of mushroom are use as forms to explore linework, depth and detail, and the secret lies in keeping it simple yet detailed. Drawing processes from today’s exercise will be used in the bigger weekend project.

PS Please do not share the process of creating mushrooms using letters outside of this group. You are welcome to share outcomes on social media using tags #exploreshapes #explorecolour

© 2020 Esté MacLeod

© 2020 Explore Colour