A recipe for crisp-edged watercolors

photo of desktop showing drawings, paint, and paintingsLast week I posted some gentle little watercolors, and briefly described the process. Here, as promised, is a more detailed view of that process.

Step one: Draw your shapes in pencil.
step one: pencil drawing
Step two: scan the drawings, and import to Adobe Illustrator. Trace the shapes using the pen tool, refining as you go, to create your idealized vector shapes.

step two: scan and trace the pencil shapes in Illustrator

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Some gentle little watercolor illustrations

watercolor of a prawn

Here are some illustrations I’m working on for a project. The process involves first doing a pencil drawing of the shape, which I then scan and trace in Adobe Illustrator so I have a clean-lined vector shape. Then I print it out as just a black outline, and tape to the back of a piece of watercolor paper.

Next, I place the sandwiched sheets of paper on a lightbox, and paint with watercolor. Finally, I scan the painted pieces and use the vector shape as a clipping mask to regain the crisp edges of the original drawing.

It sounds like a long process, but it’s a wonderful way to combine the organic flow of the watercolor with the sharp lines of a vector illustration.

If I have time soon, I’ll put some process pics up here, as that probably sounds like a foreign language to anyone not familiar with the tools involved.
watercolor of parsley
watercolor of a fishwatercolor of a cuke slice and some watercress

We cracked ourselves up with comics of a dark-hearted emoji

Cartoon of a nonplussed emoji watering a creepy garden

A sample of one of the little instagram comics that Z and I crafted last year under the handle @whileyouwerehappy. We kept at it for awhile, but it was time-consuming and after maybe 4-5 months our attentions inevitably turned elsewhere. It was fun, though, and we really did make ourselves laugh like mad people over them.

how things move altogether too quickly and smoothly once a pattern is imposed

linear drawing of a suburb, view'd from above

Above: sketch of a suburb— viewed from the spire, as it were. A suburb represents, to me, a place that lacks the most wonderful parts of both cities and wide open spaces*; A pattern imposed; a restrictive one— made to serve its developer’s purpose rather than its inhabitants. Sometimes, life feels that way, no?

(how things move altogether too quickly and smoothly once a pattern is imposed)

 

It‘s what patterns are for.

It’s both good and bad; comforting and regrettable. Like choosing to stay in and get a good sleep when it’s a big wondrous and scary blizzard out. You know what I mean; one feels torn, a bit. Yet resolved. It‘s life— that feeling of contradiction that somehow fits because we‘ve been socialized and trained to accept that it fits.

Days, weeks simultaneously dragging and speeding by. It‘s the unquantifiable aspect of time that math-science is less equipped to deal with than psychology-science. Viz. feelings and other ephemera more in the realm of the social sciences, aka art literature poetry philosophy— the realms comprising questions and not so many answers (yet every answer, too)†.

Math-science satisfies the Libra in me (picked up perhaps from proximity to my balanced Libra** brothers). The designer in me thrives on the practicality of measurement; of the quantifiable. The artist (Scorpio) in me prefers to live the questions, as Rilke put it.

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Circling back to that red oak tree on the farm, amid snowfall

Beyond the Red Oak v6 from Elizabeth Daggar on Vimeo.

I haven’t had time the past two weeks to get much farther with this, but I’m hoping to get back to it on the weekend. Here’s where I left off in my motion tests and atmospheric meanderings.

Views on the city with shifts in angles and in scale

drawing of buildings from aerial viewdrawing of buildings from aerial viewNYC roads and parks (drawing)

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a jaunty little row of art nouveau trees

pencil drawing of yet more trees, stylized and simpleOn offer today: a pencil drawing of yet more winter trees, stylized and simple.