Monday, September 10, 2012

Watercolors: Part 1

A note about the photos: They came out a little darker than I would have liked.  I did this in the evening instead of in the afternoon.  I prefer natural light but time has been a bit short lately!

This is the first part of the watercolor lesson.  Watercolors are my preferred medium for coloring paper dolls so I really want to take my time & get it right. 

Materials List:

Watercolor Pans (Winsor-Newton)
Watercolor Tubes (Winsor-Newton)
Watercolor Semi-soft pans (Yarka)
Assorted brushes
Doll traced onto Arches paper
Clean water
Paper towel
Watercolor palette

These are the materials I'll be using: a variety of paints, a large palette, a bunch of brushes, clean water, and a paper towel.  Those last two are more important than they seem.  I frequently dip my brush & wipe off the excess water until it feels right. 

With watercolors, I find it essential to work one color at a time.  Make sure you mix enough of the color you want to use.  Keep in mind the color will look darker on the pallette than it will on paper.  Also, white is the color of the paper.  There is a watercolor white but I rarely use it.  And it make the paint opaque rather than translucent.

This is my flesh tone.  It look fairly dark, but isn't.  I work with thin colors.  It's easier to add paint and make a color darker than to try to take paint away.  Most watercolors dry slightly darker than they look when they first go down on paper.

I like to start with the flesh tone of the doll.  Color any flesh tone in your image.  I only have the flesh tone of the doll in this case.

Here's a close-up of the face.  You can see the texture of the paper and the even tone of the skin color.  I like to color small patches at a time. It's a more even and consistent color.
I take a slightly darker tone and put done subtle shadows.  I like to tweak it as I put it down.  Too dark?  Use a wet brush to lighten it.  Too light?  Add another layer of color after the first dries.  It's always easier to add!!

After the flesh tone & initial shadows, I move on to the next color.  Pick a completely different area to paint.  If you paint an adjacent spot (for example, the hair or the undergarment), the paint may bleed together.  Although that might make some cool effects, I prefer to work in a tightly controlled manner.  Paint all of the second color.

Again, I try to paint somewhere else but at some point, that just doesn't happen.  As the earlier colors dry, it becomes easier to fill in spots.

At this point, all of my main colors are in.  I want to lay down shadows as a glaze instead of wet-in-wet so I let my image dry now.  If you try to lay a color over another that is not dry enough, there's bleeding & blending, etc.

I painted the base and decided to call it a night.  Watercolor takes time.  The balance between wet and dry is crucial to achieving the effect you're looking for.

In the next watercolor lesson, we'll finish the shadows and work on the details.  I like to leave the face til last.

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