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.
Some 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.
On 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!
Here are a couple watercolor studies I did last night involving compositions of overlapping shapes. I haven’t touched my half-pans in months, and it was nice to get out the brushes again.
These are related -somewhat- to elements of a small design system I’m in the midst of at work for an upcoming event. In particular the top one, where the colors are doing their natural combinations when overlapped.
This second composition was rather a departure or experiment that, while some interesting things happened, rather collapsed the visualization of the colors’ transparency. By removing the natural order of color interplay, the whole thing flattened out altogether to the eye. There’s no reason or logic to it.
This is a fun little sketch I started while watching Project Runway. It is one of few ‘reality tv’ shows I enjoy, mainly because the contestants (however manipulated, scripted, or edited out of context for drama) do actually design and create the clothing on the show. I love watching the process, and seeing the results.
Here is a repeat of half of a spread I posted several days ago, paired with a new painting that I did on the back of the same page. The markers had bled through, leaving a ghost on the obverse, and once I had the half-pans out, I couldn’t resist painting a new face over it.
I’ve been buying pond comets from the feeder tanks at pet stores for years. Because they can grow to be almost as large as koi, I only keep them for a year or two, depending on how quickly they grow. When they reach a point of becoming too large for my tank, I release them into a pond, where they can grow to their full potential.
My favorite pond for this is the beautiful koi and comet pond at the Green-Wood Cemetery, which is very near my house. Anyway, I did this drawing of the newest member in my small fish tank menagerie (which includes 3 neon tetras and a zebra neon). He is currently about the same size as the neon tetras— so tiny!
These went through many stages, and in retrospect I think the yellow glow in the final (below) went too far, although I sort of like the contrast it adds. But I love monochrome, and when it was all just the blues, greys and pops of red, it was stronger.
Also, with the yellow added, it lost its fine balance of negative space, because that yellow is so intense— it’s a thing! Definitely more particle than wave, as far as light goes.
It’s always about EDITING!