Hello Patrons! I’m going to be going through start and finish process with a series of photos as I worked on one of my recent watercolor paintings, ‘Rainstorm’.
Let’s start with setup and materials!
This particular painting is done on 11×14 Canson bristol paper, taped with blue painter’s tape to a big piece of wood I have over my desk for this particular purpose. I find bristol makes watercolor patterns that I like better than on regular watercolor paper, plus it’s thick enough to be versatile, and also I really prefer working on smooth surfaces.
The paint I’m using is an old Prang watercolor set (that’s at least 15 years old) and a Winsor & Newton travel set I bought in Paris in 2008. I also have Holbein gouache tube paint in the trays which I use watered down to act more like a slightly chalky watercolor. Brushes are size 14 round, size 10 round, size 4(?) round, size 000 round, size 14 flat, and a fan brush. Pencil is a 0.7mm Koh i Noor mechanical/drafting pencil with HB lead.
My entire desk setup – computer for reference, water cup, pencils and pens, lightbox on left (when necessary – I’m freehanding today), and of course, sunbeam absorbing kitty (this particular model is size small, named ‘Iggy’).
I outlined the painting with 1/2in bleed and tape. Then, sketching! I have a bit of an idea in mind, but nothing very detailed (sometimes I know exactly what I want to do when I start, but sometimes I just put down some lines and ‘see something’ within them). I start sketching loosely, tighten it up, then go back and erase pencil lines where there’s too many together, or where there’ll be light points later, where the whiteness of the paper needs to come through.
I start with background first. I use the ultramarine blue in my Winsor Newton set. I originally was going to go with a space background to match my other paintings, but I had to stop the brush part of the way in the corner to change music or something, and when I went back I liked the way it looked. So I continued doing the background in a square, almost tile-like pattern.
The first layer of ultramarine dries, and I go back and add more. On the left you’ll see the smaller travel size winsor and newton watercolor set. The top left color, the ultramarine, is the first layer I put down; the indigo, the color below it, went over it.
Starting to bring in the foreground! I use the Winsor and Newton more yellow sap-like green and bluer forest green for the leaves, with the Prang ‘green’ transitioning between the colors for a nice blend. Her skin is a combination of raw sienna, burnt umber and crimson, blended and watered down for lightness. The teal shadows are blue-green Prang. Her hair is burnt umber with some touches of indigo in the shadow.
Adding in the leaves on the other side, and some hair strands…
Lips and shirt in crimson and indigo; shading in teal and ultramarine…
Eyes and eyebrows in burnt umber with indigo. Pupils are a dark purple-black gouache. I am starting to really like the Windsor and Newton set now that I am using the burnt umber and raw sienna colors. I didn’t quite know how to use them when I first got the set years ago, so I put it on a back shelf until recently. However, the more toned-down browns, yellows and reds are really coming in handy for painting skin tones. My prang set is great for bright colors in the teal, blue and purple ranges, but it has just one ‘brown’ that doesn’t quite accomplish what I need for more subdued paint colors.
Time for some fun! I’m using the fan brush (for the first time for this particular task) for a nice splatter effect. I want both dark and light splatters, so I’m using dark purpley black gouache and then white. Unfortunately my opaque white ink dried a terrible death, so I end up using white watercolor paint, which is thankfully more opaque than I expected for watercolors. I cover up all the non-splatter area foreground with scrap paper and tap the brush full of watery paint above it so it splatters. I tap it near the base of the brush, or hit it against my other hand towards the paper.
Tada! Splatters done.
I add a little more detail in to the earring and here and there, and then go in with a white Sakura gelly roll gel pen for detail. I add some splatter-like dots by hand in places where they didn’t reach before.
Finished painting, last photo before scanning…
and the scanned image.
That’s all for this session! Stay tuned for more patreon-only posts! Any questions don’t be afraid to comment! 🎨