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The above painting began with a simple line drawing of a bald eagle. I used liquid frisket, masking fluid, to save the white of his hooded head, beak, talons and stripes between his wing feathers. I outlined the drawing using an eye dropper filled with waterproof black ink. Before those lines dried, I spritzed the ink drawing with water, creating all that blotchy and flecked look to the wings. For the eagles body, shoulders and legs, I wet the entire area with water and dropped ink along the outer edges (along the white of the hood, over the shoulders and along the eagle’s left wing) and allowed it to flow into the water. That left that lighter area along his shoulder and down into his left leg. After all the ink dried, I removed the frisket and painted the remainder of the piece with watercolor. It is the same process that I spoke of when I created this elephant. This gives you the idea of how the black and white looks prior to painting. Don’t be too concerned with the bleeding of the ink. It begins to come together more as you add color. You can view two more eyedropper and ink creations here and here.

I really enjoy exploring adding other media with watercolor. Some subjects just beg for a little something extra.


  1. The eagle looks very regal with a lot of power. Beautiful colors and nice painting.

    • Thank you for that about the power, bilomathews. I was hoping that came across.

  2. Gorgeous results from an interesting technique!

  3. How neat! Love it!

  4. Majestic as he is, just imagine him in flight! Beautiful work Leslie!

    • Oh, I know, Padmaja! I can only imagine. I see many hawks soaring around here but can only watch an eagles flight online. Thank you!

  5. That is one serious bald eagle! I completely forgot about the ink technique. I’m glad you did it again. I really like it.

    • Thank you, Carol. I think my love of drawing gets satisfied when I spend time with this ink technique. I think I sometimes forget about ink and could be using it more often in my paintings.

  6. Wow~ and I enjoy reading how you did this. Lovely eagle painting, Leslie. We can see why you teach, you know!

    • Thank you, so much. It is so much fun to share ideas and see what comes of them in everyone’s work. 🙂

  7. Headed to my art table…..!

    • Oh! I do so hope you can have fun with this Jots! Have you ever read anything on Myrna Wacknov or seen her portraits? She is fantastic! and I got the idea for drawing with an eye dropper from her blog. Here is a link to her blog: I know you will enjoy seeing some of what she does. Thank you for this comment!

  8. Fantastic! Predatory look about him indeed.

  9. Drawing ink outlines using an eye dropper? You are fearless Leslie. This painting, with all it’s blotches and spatters is magnificent, like the bald eagle!

    • I really like drawing with an eye dropper, June. The lines that result are interesting. Thank you for this comment!

  10. He definitely looks as if he is ready to swoopdown on something. I haven’t tried this in a while. I think I will when my current projects are done.

  11. You’ve caught the feeling of the bird of prey! This is amazing! Yes, I love to draw with a dropper as well, such fun!

  12. I just love how you’ve used this technique and how those beautiful colors mingle on his feathers. wow. And the elephant is incredible too. You have given me such inspiration, Leslie!

    • Have fun with this! You can practice this technique on a scrap piece of Arches 140lb coldpress. Eyedropper a line. Let the line partially dry and then spritz. Do this several different times until you get the feel for it. There is very little control when you work with techniques like this. Thank you for your comment!

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