Monday, May 27, 2013

A new technique?

For years I’ve been struggling to find a technique that is well suited for illustrations that feature a lot of humorous details. One that maintains the fresh quality of my pencil sketches. I used to use pen and ink and watercolor for these pieces, but, in my hands, these tools did not result in work that I was 100% satisfied with (or even 60%). I envy those who have mastered watercolor. I am not one of them. Yet I love working with it, the way the paper and the liquid interact.

I’ve been experimenting with digital techniques. I thought the answer would be to create work from scratch on the tablet, yet I always found something sterile in the results. Too airbrushy.

So, I think I have stumbled on a technique that resolves the issues I’ve been having with both techniques. I refine my pencil drawing using graphite, water soluable black pencils, sometimes black prismacolors. Then I use grey watercolor (neutral tint) to add value and texture, then I scan into Photoshop, and add color transparently, in different layers, with different opacities.

So, I guess I'm really compartmentalize the process, first line, then value, and finally color. But the good thing about working in layers in Photoshop is that I can always go back and adjust my line, or adjust my value.

Original drawing, value painted with watercolor. 

Final piece, color added digitally.

1 comment:

  1. Funny thing is I've come up with the same conclusion. I enjoy painting, but nothing beats my love for drawing and Photoshop lends some amazing options, many of which leaves the vitality of my sketches and value structure in tact. Recently I've spent the past few weeks hammering out a new process that should revolutionize my illustration process...making pictures that are POLISHED, VIBRANT, and QUICK. I have yet to post anything on my blog, but the results will be interesting to say the least!