Surprise Monday : Week 9 : Layers

When using watercolours, it's all about layers. Coming from an oils background, that was a hard thing to learn, especially to learn that you start with light colours first and gradually get darker. Here's a little in-progress of the character Alice, a sketch i showed you here.

Once the sketch is finalised i trace it onto 300lb Arches watercolour paper using my lightbox.


i tape the illo to my table and get to work! as always with my character sketches (in this case title page illo) close at hand for consistency


i do a background wash then start on skin tones which i use the most layers on, this one has 4-5 layers. Monica had asked me about maintaining consistency of colour throughout a book. I find that hard sometimes too. for the most part I use colours 'straight out of the tube' and might only mix two colours together so it's not so bad, but have had lots of problems getting Alice's skin tones right in each illo. I guess I just try to remember how I did it last time and approximate... not the most scientific of ways I guess, but i find i can usually get close enough. Of course your background affect how other colours look to0 so you have to keep that in mind... i don't think that was any help to you though, sorry Monica!

then colour in everything else which for this small illo has 2-3 layers (highlight, middle tone, shadow)
in this case i didn't like the colour i painted the rug so decided to incorporate collage! i like the richness of it, and had talked about doing this with Karen. i'm now using collage in the rest of the illos too which adds a great last 'layer' i think.
i draw or paint on top of the collage too.

Here are all my materials. i've got lots of brushes i never use, and mostly just stick to the ones laid out there by my palette: India Sable brushes, 8, 10 & 12, a W&N probably about #4, a beautiful japanese brush which has a great point on it for doing detailed work, and coloured pencils for the outlines (previously I've used a lot of painted black ink for linework but am trying to move towards something a bit softer) - I've been using some acylics on top of the collage and use W&N paint and flat sable brushes for that.

I'm not going to delve into much more that this point cause I'm really tired... and hungry! My New Orleans red beans & rice is calling me so I'll make a quick getaway! but any questions fire away and I will answer them next time. xx