Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Floral Watercolor Sketches

I've been accused of many things as an comic artist and illustrator.  My watercolor abilities have come under fire quite a few times, my ability to render in other styles is always under accusation,  and if I were to be called a 'one trick pony', there would be an assumption that I have at least one trick.

With these sort of egregious accusations made about my work, I am constantly trying demonstrate flexibility, an ability to learn from my mistakes, and a willingness to learn new things.  Of course, the fact that I post all over the internet makes it difficult for followers on a specific platform to really follow my progress.  All of these watercolor sketches have been shared at various points on my Instagram, but I don't think they've popped up in a Sketchbook Tour on YouTube (or as a tutorial), made an appearance on my Tumblr, or have hit my Behance just yet.  Since all these networks have different size requirements, it can be frustrating to make sure everything is appropriately crossposted, just as it's frustrating trying to get everyone on the same social platform.  I never know where the 'right' eyes- the eyes that have jobs to dole out, might be peeking, so while I do my best, I know a lot flies under the radar.

There are ten illustrations total, with nine below the cut, so keep reading!

These studies were painted on cheap paper- I purchased a few sketchbooks based on a recommendation from Hobby Lobby, but it seems the books purchased, while identical in appearance and wrapped in shrink wrapped plastic, were not the ones recommended- so that's a strike against stores that sell their art supplies blister packed or shrink wrapped.  I decided to try to make the best of bad paper, rolling with the punches and changing my approach, so these floral studies are very different from my usual flower studies.

The paper is most definitely NOT watercolor paper- it stays damp forever, and individual strokes remain apparent on the page, so blending isn't an option.  This requires careful application and color planning- washes are not an option.  Rather than mixing colors in individual palette pans, I work from the open area attached to my pans and palette, so colors aren't exact.  Unlike my other watercolors, these cannot stand alone without the lineart, which is applied after everything is dry.

Both on the blog and on my YouTube channel , I encourage you guys to use the best materials for YOU- not necessarily the most expensive, and certainly not the cheapest just because they're cheap.  Sometimes I don't follow my own advice- I purchase so many products to review, and I don't want them to go to waste, so I'll force myself to utilize materials that underperform or that I dislike.  The sketchbook that these floral sketches are in is awful- it's a handmade, leather bound sketchbook from Hobby Lobby, and painting on the paper is like painting on toilet paper.  You can't blend, its slow to dry, it's unforgiving.  I would not recommend this paper to anyone, especially not to an artist who is still learning.

But like resistance training, learning how to deal with challenging materials can make you a stronger artist, and whenever I use nice watercolor paper after fighting this sketchbook, I find that I've levelled up in ability.

And while none of the above sketches are fine art, they are all charming, and have an appeal that differs from my regular work.  They're loose, spontaneous- sketched in pencil and inked after the watercolor dried.  I find them charming, and am considering releasing them as a postcard set at some point in the near future, so keep an eye on my shop!