My Watercolor Basics series is a longform, in depth tutorial series aimed at empowering others to pursue their artistic interests. Due to the nature of these series, which require process posts, numerous examples, and in depth research, these posts are extremely resource intense. It is only due to the support and loyalty of my Patrons that I can devote the time, resources, and knowledge to posts like this. To my Patrons, I owe my sincere thanks- without you, there would be no Watercolor Basics or Intro to Comic Craft series.
For only $2 a month, you can join the Artnerd community and help support quality content like this. Your pledge enables me to pay guest artists, purchase supplies for review, and offset some of the costs these in depth posts incur. Your support inspires me to dedicate the time necessary to writing and creating art education content.
Recently we discussed the importance of painting from reference. In that post, I stated that a big part of learning when painting using reference is finding your own way and making your mistakes. One mistake I regularly make when painting greenery or foliage is what I call 'muddy swamp'. My values get lost, and the image looks like a muddy mess of greens and browns. If you struggle with this issue too, I hope today's post will pull you out of that swamp.
For painting foliage (or bouquet garni, in my case), keep in mind that GENERALLY:
- Lighter, brighter greens (yellow greens) appear close
- Cooler darker greens (blue greens, blue) appear to recede
When painting foliage, even if you want went into wet blends, its important to allow layers to dry so you can get dramatic value shifts. It's also important to mix your colors darker and cooler as you go along.
Start light and bright, work towards dark and cool
My palette for this bouquet garni is surprisingly limited:
Winsor and Newton Green Gold
Holbein Hooker's Green
Winsor and Newton Indigo
Overworked, not enough white, not enough contrast in value.
Overworked, not enough white, not enough light values.
Even these failed studies served an important purpose- they were the stepping stones that helped me learn the techniques necessary for successfully painting foliage.
Examples in Illustration
So as you can see, the time I spent completing studies was well spent, as it allowed me to tackle personal projects with confidence. Before completing a series of foliage studies, my greenery often turned into a muddy swamp, but working from reference gave me the knowledge I needed.
I hope this post has inspired you to tackle greenery, particularly if you set your comics or illustrations in the great ourdoors!
Speaking of watercolor, today's Watercolor Basic post was brought to you by the webcomic launch of 7" Kara, the comic that has inspired this series! If you enjoy my watercolor art, illustration, or tutorials, please check 7" Kara out on Tumblr or on the 7" Kara site.
If you just can't stand a cliffhanger, Volume 1 of 7" Kara is available on Gumroad and through my web-shop. Volume 1 contains the first four chapters of 7" Kara, and a bonus story, as well as loads of additional illustrations and a concept section!