Watercolor Book Cover Jacket – start to finish

August 15, 2011

I haven’t posted in the “Artist Meanderings” category for a while.  I decided to share my latest project.  I was commissioned to do a painting for a Book Cover for John and Elaine Leadem’s newest book.  First, I drew the front and back pictures on  17″ x 11″ hard pressed D’Arches water color paper.   This way the painting is already the proper size for the book they are publishing.    They can be found at “leademcounseling.com/self-help-books. 

Once drawn, I used Windsor Newton Art Masking Fluid to cover the white paper where it needed to remain white.  It dries like a rubber coating and protects the underlaying paper from soaking in any paint.  Later, when the rest of the painting is finished, it will be removed so that detail can be added and white can stay white.  Watercolor painting is done from light to dark and, once painted, cannot easily be lightened.

After drawing, I soak the paper and let it dry a bit so that it will lay flat,  I then paint a layer of cobalt blue (very wet), and again let it dry more.  Then I coat it with a yellow in the same way and then with a red.  All are light layers and create a base of the primary colors.  Once the paper dries, they seem to disappear, but will hold the painting together as we proceed.

Because I already started the painting when I had this idea, we will have to move from the base painting.  I laid in the sky, water, and some background tree colors.

 Continuing to “build” the painting.I continue to completely wet the paper, add paint as it dries and then attach it to my backing with masking tape to keep it flat and once it completely dries, I start the whole process again.  Wetting, adding paint as it dries and letting it dry completely. After many, many times, I finally reach the point where I can start with dry paper, remove the masking fluid and put in detail.
The finished Product has the detail filled in on dry paper: 

Left side: back of book/ Right side: Front of Book.



  1. love the colours

    • Thank you for your comment. WordPress left off the end of my post. The finished painting should be there now.

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