Just a few days ago I posted a drawing created on an inked in background, the type I used many times before. I got many questions about how I prepare the background. Maybe you also wonder how to create background with inks or watercolors. It is actually quite easy. Since I always love to share my knowledge with others, I have prepared a short video for you.

First I want to show you two drawings that I created with this background. The first is the one from the video and the other one is from a few days ago, that I mentioned above.

Zentangle Drawing Ink Background

One might think that this requires some special skills and techniques. When you watch the video, you will see that I use some less than sophisticated methods (like blowing air at the watercolors, trying to spread them).


Please do not feel that you need to buy new supplies to do this. I am sure that you have some watercolors, at least the ones that kids use at school. If you try this with regular watercolors, try to dilute them with water so that you use the liquid part after most of the color particles settle at the bottom. Otherwise, you might have challenges tangling over the powdery background. This is my suggested list of supplies:

  • Inks or watercolors (liquid or regular) – I’m using Diamine inks, which are fountain pen inks, but I successfully used Ecoline liquid watercolors for the same task
  • Brush or water brush and a glass of water
  • Droppers (if your inks are not packaged in dropper bottles)
  • Paper towel

Wet on Wet Technique

The wet on wet technique is one of the elemental watercolor techniques that you have probably done before, even without knowing it. You start from applying some clear water to paper, to wet the background. You can do it with a brush or a spray bottle. Then you take the paints and apply them, either with a brush or a dropper. The inks will flow and if you use more than one color, they will mix beautifully. I even have a video class that uses the same technique, but not with a white border, like in this example.

You can see below a mosaic with a collection of some of my drawings. They were all created on a background prepared with the wet-on-wet technique.

Wet On Wet Background Mosaic

The thing is that you really need to trust the process and let go of the need to control it. There is only so much you can do to make the colors run or mix a certain way. So just relax and see what happens.

I really hope that you will enjoy this video and learn how you can create background with inks or watercolors. If you use it to create new drawings, I’d be more than happy to see them. Please tag me in your social media posts – the best way is to use the hashtag #zenlinea. Thank you!!! 🙂

December, 2021

Written by Anica Gabrovec CZT

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