Painting Pages in Batch: Watercolor Basics

You guys have probably seen me mention batch painting numerous times on the blog, on my Twitter, and on my Youtube channel.  Batch painting allows me to handle repetitive or time consuming tasks for several pages at one time- tasks such as stretching, toning, and blocking in color are all a little easier in the long run when handled in batch.  Batch painting also allows for color consistency across a scene- I can mix up plenty of color and utilize it across several pages.

To be honest, every stage of 7" Kara is handled in batch, which is unusual for a webcomic, but not unusual for print comics.  Working in batch allows me to stay consistent and organized, and helps me stay focused.  If you're interested in other parts of my comic process, please check out my Intro to Comic Craft series here on the blog.


Speaking of 7" Kara, all the pages shown in this tutorial are from Chapter 6 of 7" Kara!  I'm hustling to get Volume 2 completed, but you can read Volume 1, for free as a webcomic!  Fan of print?  Order Volume 1 from the Natto-shop, or pick it up at any convention listed in the sidebar!

I already have a Few other posts about working in batch that you might find helpful!

In Introduction to Working in Batch
Working in Batch: Trimming Paper To Size
Working in Batch: Construction for Icons
Working in Batch: Securing Your Paper

Comic Process Outline: 

Script Entire Chapter- Check out the tutorial
Thumbnail Chapter Check out the tutorials One Two
Scan Thumbnails
Break Up Into Individual Pages, Turn into Bluelines
Print Blueline Roughs Check out the Tutorial
Rough Chapter- Check out the Tutorials One Two
Scan Roughs- Check out the Tutorial
Correct Roughs
Turn Into Bluelines- Check out the tutorial
Print onto Watercolor Paper- Check out the Tutorial
Pencil  Chapter- Check out the Tutorial

Painting the Comic: 

Batches are usually 2-6 pages, depending on the scene.  Painting multiple pages at a time allows me to work more efficiently, and saves time- which is important when you're working on a huge longform project like a watercolor comic.

Pages are stretched onto white corrogated plastic (Gatorboard or chloroplast) with 3M Blue crepe masking tape.  They are secured to the board using bulldog and binder clips, to help prevent buckling.

Colors are mixed en masse in daisy palettes, and all areas with that color are filled in before progressing to another color or stage.  Textures and details are developed similarly.  Unles a page is significantly different from the others in that batch (such as a cover or an endcap) no one page is finished before the others.  Progress is slow, but fairly steady and predictable.

Once all the colors have been blocked in, textured, and shaded- when the majority of the page is complete, then detailing can begin.  This is done in batch too- outlines are tightened, colors are used at full saturation, the watercolor pencils come out, and finally white accents are added.

After this has dried, all pages are removed from their gatorboards and stored in a portfolio.

Watercolor Painting On the Floor


Tools For Working In Batch:




watercolor comics, watercolor tutorial, painting in batch


Once Pages are on the Stretchers:

  • All toning and washes are completed in batch
  • Rendering and shadows are built up in batch
  • Details are added in batch


Blocking In Color:




Developing Color and Tone:






Rendering Skingones: 







Adding Detail: 




Tightening Up Detail:








Final Passes for Detail, Adding Highlights, Using Color Pencils:






Once entire chapter is painted:

Chapter is scanned
Chapter is corrected
Chapter is bordered
Chapter is lettered


This tutorial is part of my Watercolor Basics series, a series of watercolor tutorials designed to get more artists creating watercolor comics.  If you enjoyed this post, please do me a favor and recommend it publicly to any friend who might appreciate it- your word of mouth is important to the growth of this blog!    Share it on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, or Pinterest and give me a leg up!


This series spans my Youtube and this blog, to try to cover every aspect of watercolor for illustration and comics.  From tutorials, to reviews, to micro demonstrations, if there's ever a topic I've missed, please feel free to send me an email or Tweet at me.


And if you like what I do, please consider supporting my work by joining the Artnerd community on Patreon.


Funds from my Patreon are used to commission guest writers for guest posts, to purchase supplies, and purchase some of the equipment necessary for providing free art educational content.  My Artnerds get a new Early Access video almost every day, as well as access to backer exclusive goodies like comics and art resources.  Support starts at just $1 a month, and every dollar helps!

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