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.|