Monday, November 28, 2011

The Scharky Escape: Tutorial

With just a snap and a wink, works of art are completed. All it takes is a "born with" talent. NOT. Illustrators work very hard at composing and revising to convey tone, character, and movement in their work. My technique morphs as the job requires and with the changes in electronics and software. Scanning and home printing have allowed artists to cut production time while maintaining the look of traditional illustration. In my case, I have found that although I have a few digital illustration styles, I keep gravitating back to watercolors. I will take you through my current process.

1. Once the initial scratch sketch and the character look is complete, a grayscale drawing is done. On this illustration, #2 graphite pencil did the trick. Patterns give me joy, so I wanted to plan for them while in the drawing stage. Using cross hatching and various other techniques, I could see which areas I wanted to leave smooth and which areas to use a pattern. After scanning and opening in Photoshop, The Scharky Escape is ready for its color bath.
2. Digital color is now added in layers underneath the initial drawing which is now in "multiply" mode. Multiply makes the white drop out so you can see the underlying layers. I start with a layer of blue, then colorize the warm tones above. Once satisfied with the comp, the piece is printed to use as a color key for the final watercolor. In some instances, this comp is also used under the final (semi translucent) watercolor if the colors need a little punch.

3. This part I love. Transferring the drawing to watercolor paper used to be a bit stressful. In the old days (a few years ago), my technique involved using tracing paper, and a home made graphite carbon copy system. Messy and not always accurate. I was basicallly having to redraw the whole piece over again, with smudges. 

Printing the final pencil line drawing onto my watercolor paper has cleaned up this step. I can clean up my traced sketch on-line. When printed, it is a like a clean fresh pencil drawing. No smudges, and ready to paint on. 

4. Ultra Marine Blue, Cadmium Yellow, Lemon Yellow, and Alizarin Crimson are my main watercolors, with a few other shades of purple, pink and green mixed in.

From the most staining colors, the glazing begins. Yellow and light blue are usually first, and reds last.

5. Either by photographing or scanning, the final watercolor is again opened in Photoshop. Adjustments to color and other slight modifications are made.  

Ta Da! It is my hope that you have enjoyed this little Demonstration of my work. Stay tuned for more to come. 




The Scharky Escape

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