A Quick Turnaround- Learning From Your Mistakes

An important part of my watercolor journey, and one I sometimes forget, is taking time to access a piece and learn from past mistakes.   When you force yourself to hurry, you rely on past knowledge and experience, rather than allowing intuition and taste to guide your work.

I'd mentioned earlier that when able, I use my evenings for watercolor illustrations and my days for comic work.  Working with limited time means I'm liable to take shortcuts, make mistakes, and not give my work the time it really needs.  Sometimes overworking a piece isn't the solution, but taking time to think and make educated decisions, knowing when to hold back and let the paint speak for itself.

HB Pencil
Mix of watercolors- Winsor and Newton, Daniel Smith, Mijello, Holbein, Sennlier
Mix of watercolor pencils- Derwent Inktense, Supracolor II

In my post last Monday, I mentioned briefly that I was disappointed in the piece below.  I felt like it was overworked, like it had lost its freshness.  Just because I was disappointed in how it came out doesn't mean it's lost it's value, but I was determined to learn from my mistakes and handle it's sister piece differently.

The concept for both these pieces started with really tiny pen doodles.  I didn't even bother to scan them- I just took a bad phone picture and sent it to myself via email.

As with Lost in the Bromeliads, I worked on the sketch for this in December, using my Surface Pro 3.  One of the major things I wanted to work on was portraying a character actively in an environment.

For the Elephant Ears piece, I really wanted to keep things light and fresh.  Of the two, it was my favorite sketch and preferred concept- I really wanted to convey a sense of scale, a particular environment.  I wanted the viewer to put themselves in Kara's shoes- what is it like to explore a yard? a flower bed?

So for this piece, my goal was to keep the layers lighter- don't try to add as much contrast (because I went way too dark with the bromeliads), and let some of the underwash shine through. 

Earlier this week, I removed this piece from the stretcher boards and scanned it in, trying to maintain the colors achieved in the original (near neon yellows, bright blue undertones).  Color correcting originals is always a challenge, and there's usually a little something lost in the process, but I've gotten pretty decent at it over the years.  Below are a few Twitter threads on tips and tricks I use to correct images.

Digital Corrections for Watercolor: 


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