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

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Materials don’t make the artist, but they can hinder the art

watercolor drawings of banana peopleSome recent spreads from my sketchbook. It is not a Moleskine— I chose a knock-off for this trip, which was a little wider, and had white paper instead of the cream color of moleskines. Unfortunately, though the paper is nice and heavy, this paper lacks the clay coating or whatever it is that makes a moleskine so great for watercolor.

watercolors of NYC iconsOn these pages, the watercolor just sinks in immediately, losing its vibrance and its ability to move around, meander a bit before settling.

The only color here that is vibrant is the cadmium yellow, which is a different brand of half-pan than I’ve been working with, which is more like a gouache, really. (The red on the second spread is mixed with some of that yellow)

It lacks true transparency unless used with a lot of water. A problem, as I tend to paint over inked drawings, whose lines can get obscured beneath it.

A couple of mild disappointments— and lessons!

Jolly sketches of karaoke time at the diner

drawing of someone singing karakeSpent some time in Red Hook over the weekend; went to say goodbye to that institution of a watering hole Bait & Tackle, followed by a visit into Sunny’s (where yesterday’s photos originated), and finally dinner and some time with friends who sing at Hope & Anchor, also soon to be no more.

This is a city that changes constantly, it’s true. But there’s something altogether too fast about it when three places at the heart of a small community like the Hook all disappear in short order (the third will be Ice House; not sure when). It’s going to irrevocably change the fabric of that area, and for the worse, I’ve no doubts. Especially judging from the new bits of residential real estate that’ve been popping up.

Development, left unchecked, will be the undoing of any kind of character or authentic qualities this town has left.

ink drawing of someone singing karaoke

It is quiet, and all the city’s a snow globe this bright morning

I’ve been given a snow day from work on account of this storm (referred to by meteorologists as a Bombogenesis, Bomb Cylone, and Winter Storm Greyson). It has settled in Brooklyn in the form of a persistent and blanketing snowfall out the window all morning, and not a soul around.

It inspired me to make this little animation from my ink drawings back in October. And now I’ll try to get some work done.

The book featuring these and other drawings can be found at Lulu.com.

The music is Autumn in New York, by the Bill Charlap Trio. So good.

A little book of black and white drawings

Inktober Book title page

I have at last finished work on a small book of my Inktober drawings, as seen here during the month of October. I will be publishing it via Lulu.com, and it will contain all 31 drawings. I’m awaiting a printed proof to make certain that all looks well.

I realize it’s cutting things rather fine in terms of holidays and shipping, but it has been a challenge to make time to complete it. There will be photos of the printed book and a link forthcoming, so watch this space— or follow this blog to get email updates.

The kids love to karaoke

On a Friday night in Red Hook, a delightful reunion of friends over a swell dinner and lots of singing. (I don’t sing at karaoke, but I sure love listening and drawing.)

An array of ornate forks that’d belonged to his grandparents

An array of ornate forks that’d belonged to his grandparents

Days twenty-four through twenty-six! An array of ornate forks that’d belonged to his grandparents were among the day to day utensils she ate with.

. . .

(These count as three drawings, for days Oct 24th – 26th. If you’ve a problem with that, I can’t care.)