Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mini Watercolor Process

Recently I did a post about my new travel watercolor set.  I'm always eager for a new convention offering, so I've been doing some mini-watercolors, which are now available in my shop.   Today I'm going to do a process post for two of these mini watercolor paintings, the finished versions of which are shown below:

These watercolors were painted using my travel set, under travel conditions, to serve as tests.  I'd like to be able to offer affordable watercolor commissions at conventions (and online, of course), and I needed to be sure they could be done using my travel set.

My tiny travel set.

The set I use for painting full illustrations and Kara pages.

 These mini watercolor illustrations aren't particularly hard to accomplish, and just require a little bit of patience to wait for the layers of paint to dry.  These were painted on Fluid watercolor pads, which are nice because two of the ends are gummed, and the paper shouldn't curl up on you.

 As you can see, I'm working from an original drawing.  Usually I'd work from a printout, but in order to accomplish these at conventions, I'm going to have very limited supplies.

I coated the back of my paper with graphite (I use a woodless graphite pencil), and taped it to my watercolor paper.  I'm using low-tack blue masking tape, as there's less of a chance of it tearing the paper when I remove it.

In order to transfer the image, you need to trace with sufficient force.

I don't usually find such transfers sufficient, so I go over it again with pencil.

When doing watercolors, I tend to work slowly and in very thin layers of color.  I enjoy playing off the translucency of the medium, and I feel like thin layers really allow the light to bounce off the paper.

I build up color intensity by allowing the paint in my palette to dry a bit, or from working from the pans of color.  This usually happens in the later stages of a watercolor painting.

With these mini paintings, I don't really worry too much about color theory- my shadows are just more intense hues of the original color.  The only exception is that I shade with with either a cream or a very light blue.

You can buy the original Yotsuba watercolor painting here!
With a limited color set like my travel set, dark browns may be difficult.  I simply mix my sienna with the included black.  While it's not my ideal dark brown, it's a very serviceable dark brown for convention watercolors.

And if you're interested in commissioning something in particular, I'm offering that in the mini watercolor size too!

If you're interested in having one of my existing mini watercolors or commissioning a mini watercolor of your very own, you can now find them in my shop!  Prices start at just $5 for already painted Artist Trading Card watercolors, and go up to $15 for 8"x8" two character paintings.