Picturesque Pond: How to Paint a Serene Water Scene

If you enjoy sketching sceneries and landscapes from life, this mixed media technique with pen, ink and watercolor is perfect for capturing what is right in front of you quickly and easily, without sacrificing details. Learn how to draw plants and water with ink & pen, then giving vibrancy and energy to the scene with watercolor paint.

This technique is particularly wonderful to use during your travels to fill your sketchbook with special memories from all the places you’ve seen!

Painting a picturesque pond in mixed media

Follow along as we create a mixed media illustration of a pond using a graphite pencil, ink pen and watercolors.

Supplies you will need:

  • Sketching paper
  • Watercolor paper
  • Graphite pencil and eraser
  • Watercolor paint and brushes
  • Ink and pen

Step 1:

Thumbnail sketch

To start off creating this mixed media art, draw a small value and composition study of your subject on sketching paper. This thumbnail sketch will help you get your idea on paper and organize the elements on your page.

Step 2:

Rough Sketch

Once you are happy with your composition, you can move onto the watercolor paper. Sketch the basic shapes of all the elements on the paper.

Step 3:

Refining the sketch

Now begin to add some light shading to guide you once you add ink to your painting. You can also start sketching more details while still maintaining the style loose and quick.

Pond Sketch

Step 4:

inking drawing - contour

Once you are happy with your sketch, reach for your ink pen and begin to draw the contours of your subject. Focus on the more structure and linear elements first, like the pond’s outline, the bridge and rocks. The rigidness of these lines will help you get started and ease you into later drawing the more organic shapes like the plants and flowers.

inking drawing

Create texture to represent the leaves of this plant by drawing dots and loose squiggles.

Step 5:

shading with ink

Finish inking the whole drawing in the same manner. Making use of squiggles and lines to create textures.

Step 6:


Now it’s time to add some depth and volume to the drawing. To do so you want to draw shadows. Shade your drawing use parallel lines over the darker areas and use cross hatching for the darkest spots like the bottom of the tree trunks and deepest parts of the leaves.

Create slight movement in the water by drawing lines that curve slightly like the ones you can see above.

finished ink sketch

Draw straight lines over the water to represent the reflection of the plants and bridge.

Step 7:

initial watercolor wash

Now we can start painting. Reach for a big round brush and paint the water with a light translucent layer of watercolor. Using a thin liner brush, paint the basic structure of the bridge.

Step 8:

paint green areas

While you let the paint over the pond dry, try color mixing — combining some different shades of green and brown — to paint the plants.

Step 9:

paint green areas

Let the previous layer dry and keep adding thicker layers of green paint on top to create more depth and add vibrancy to the painting.

Step 10:

paint small details

Continue building up the colors and shadows until you are happy with the result. Use a liner brush to paint small details like the flowers on the foreground.

finished artwork

And we are done! I hope you enjoyed creating this waterscape painting of a pond.

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