Here are some sketches I’ve done recently.  These are pretty much just practice, so forgive any glaring wrongnesses.  I’m trying to get the hang of charcoal pencils as well as learning how to do far-off trees.  Not so successful on either of those yet, but I will struggle onward.


Deepest Forest


In thorns and light and brambles and reddest blooms, it goes all the way down.

Well, here it is.  I think it has changed a good amount since the last WIP I posted.  I like how the ink-over-watercolor turned out in the end, though to be honest I did not begin this painting thinking I would finish it that way.  I used a Copic multiliner for the black ink, and a Uniball Signo Angelic white ink pen for the other.

The stretching of the watercolor paper turned out to be a success; even after I cut it off the board there was hardly any wibble in the paper.  I should be able to re-use the board after I clean it up a bit, too.

I think I need a new scanner.  This one has a very difficult time capturing the robust-ness of colors (and ye gods I need one with a larger scan bed).  My current one may or may not be about 12 years old.  <_<

Deepest Forest–WIP 3


Haha, and I have even managed to install my scanner drivers properly on my new laptop, so you can see the colors better than on my crappy phone camera!

Let’s see, what have I learned since the last time I posted.  I’m getting a little better with my water-brush.  I’m finding that it works much better to only squeeze it when the brush tip is very nearly dry, at least if you are doing detail work.  Otherwise water comes out in a big blobby and sits there on the paper.  I also experimented (not on this piece) with using it in conjunction with watercolor pencils and found a very interesting technique.  You can rub the tip of the water brush against the head of the pencil, and pick up quite a strong amount of pigment without saturating the brush head.  Of course, this only works if you are okay using the pure color from whatever pencils you have on hand.

Also, permanent rose does not set up.  It was over a week after I painted the amaranths hanging off the bridge and just touching them with water made the color spread immediately.  It was unintended but I think it will be okay, and now I know to do anything with permanent rose last.

Deepest Forest–WIP2


The second day’s work on this piece.  As you can see, the warm colors are coming in.

I suppose it would be useful to describe the palette I chose for this.  The RYB colors are Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Yellow, and Cerulean Blue (Winsor & Newton).  I’m also using Payne’s Grey and a bit of Permanent Rose in places.  Now that I have the basic hues down, I’m going to start developing more depth of color and detail across the painting.

I’m very happy to be working on my new laptop; Photoshop loads in less than 5 seconds on it and it’s spectacular.  Having my art computer be able to talk to the internet is going to be extremely nice.

Deepest Forest–WIP 1


Here’s the first round of work on this piece.  I’m quite happy with the way the paper is staying flat after stretching it, though I need to refine the process.  This is also not indicative of the overall palette of the piece; the upper right half is going to have a lot of warm colors and yellows in it.  Then I’ll pull some earth tones into the upper part of the tree/bridge that will hopefully help unify it.  The tree trunk is also going to get more solid and dark as I add more layering to it.

I started in on that upper portion today and I’m worried it’s not quite meshing yet, but we’ll see.  I’ll take a picture of it when I get the sun back tomorrow.  : P

Deepest forest–pencil preview


This is the pencils I have laid down for my next watercolor piece.  You can see here that I’ve actually stretched the paper this time (we’ll see how well it works once I start painting on it, though).

I’ve found that the best medium for this stage is the .5mm mechanical pencil I’ve loaded with 4H lead.  That is about three steps harder of a graphite than your standard pencil.  It works better because 1) much, much less smearing, which is something I’ve always struggled with (right-handed person who always manages to start on the right-hand side of a composition).  And 2), the graphite isn’t nearly as dark or heavy, which is the effect I want when I’m going to paint on top of it.  It’s very good for lightly sketching; you just have to be careful not to press too hard because the pencil is much more prone to indenting the paper, which will definitely be noticeable.

The next step here is to do some color tests on another sheet of paper.  I may try out the water brush I picked up and see if it’s better at the detail work.

Passion–pencil study


A pencil study for one part of a triptych I’ve been cogitating on.  The final piece will probably be watercolor and ink, unless something really weird strikes me in the meantime.  It will hopefully be evocative of stained-glass when it’s done.

Developing this concept, and the other two it’s a part of, has been…interesting.  It’s personal in a way I don’t have the words yet to describe, but this is more than just an illustration for me.