Using watercolor for texture.
Where to begin. A LOT of what I do is intuitive. I would say an important point would be to know your watercolors and brushes and what they do. Play around with them. Some paints, like rose madder, have a grainy look to them when applied, so if you have not created a watercolor mixing chart then you may want to play around with one just to see how the paints interact with each other and the paper. Time consuming they are but worth it in the end. (Sounds like another blog post to me. Be sure and request it and I’ll be attentive to post it) If you are unsure about your colors, then pick the colors that you will use in your image, and do a small color mixing chart based on your image and color choice.
The first step to this layering process, and that is indeed what it is, layering, is to sketch out what your subject is. I am currently working on character development of another pig for my Super Pig series so I will be using Ollie the wonderful pig, for this example.
I use two glasses of clean water, one for washing and one for rinsing.
My paint selection today will be Windsor and Newton
- Cadmium Red
- Raw Umber
- Yellow Ochre
- Burnt Umber
- Burnt Sienna
- Ivory Black
- Sap Green
- Naples Yellow
- Canson 140 lb watercolor paper cold pressed
Everyone has their favorite brushes to work with. I recently purchased this floral brush size 6, and I love the point on it and the angle. I find that it makes great uneven strokes when held on the angles and moved across the paper with irregular movements.
The smaller brush is just used to add water to the image in a controlled area.
The pen, with a fine tip, is used to out line and create hairs.
- Titanium White
- Transparent Umber
After sketching the image I apply a base color. Naples yellow.
This is applied to the areas that the skin shows through. Then I start to layer on top of that. My second color is the Cadmium Red, that is applied on top of the naples yellow. I am careful to think of lighting as the shadows or contours of the pig will be slightly darker. I am also thoughtful in how much water and pigment I add. I can always add more as I go along.
Even now I can start to see the textures. I let the paint create the shadows etc. Those that I like, I add and continue to encourage. If there is a shadow that seems out of place, a bit of clean water and a soft scrub with the brush , dab of a paper towel will remedy it.
I continue working in this manner adding little layers over the contours of the subject. Seeing shadows develop and working with them.
This little rooter, has been in something green. Grass perhaps? Who knows.
Don’t stop now. Next comes the darker pigments. This will help get more couture and texture in the image. I am sure that you will develop your own style and sometimes the best strokes are happy accidents. So just keep at it and work with it. Remember that when it dries there will be irregularities when you add more paint. If you need a smooth transition keep it wet. Here are the next few steps all together so that you can see.
Be careful not to over work. Its easy to do. At this point I start to out line and tidy up. I wait until the image is dry, to prevent feathering of the ink. I do sometimes use a heat gun and hold it back from the image. Holding it too close will cause your paper to warp and buckle. Using a 140 lb weight paper will help in the reduction of buckling.
This is the finished product. Ollie. I say that loosely, because I can sometimes catch something that needs to be worked in etc.
And there you have it. No mediums used, just watercolor. Layering can be a wonderful way to create shadows and texture. Study your subject. Fall in love with it. Appreciate different aspects of it that make is special, then use those aspects when your painting.
As always have a wonderful and creative day.
Art supplies have been purchased from Dick Blick and local art supply stores.