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Watercolor illustrations?

I've been working a lot with watercolors recently and I'm starting to really love them. I was wondering if anyone knew of any contemporary illustrators who use watercolors, because as much as I like watercolors, they still scare me (if you make a mistake, trying to paint over it again usually just makes it worse in my experience) and I just want to see the unique ways people have used them.


Also, if you use watercolors, feel free to share any tips!


If you don't care about watercolors or anything of that sort...um...how's your night going?

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kayceislost

share with me! i absolutely love watercolors and absolutely suck at them!!!

amaliaslash

what kayce said is like it's from my head!

tracerbullet
tracerbullet profile pic Alumni

there was just a blog a few minutes ago with a blogger showing her watercolor painting. it was really good.

kayceislost

amalia, its like we are twins except you are the cuter nicer cooler one.

tracerbullet
tracerbullet profile pic Alumni

kayce, go pack.

wullagaru
wullagaru profile pic Alumni

cactus go to my website .. about half my painting work there is water colors

d3d
d3d profile pic Alumni

i used to use gouache all the time but i never got the hang of watercolour.

Cactus Pirate Jr.
Cactus Pirate Jr. profile pic Alumni

Wow wulla, your paintings are awesome! I like the subtlety of the colors. A lot of my watercolored illustrations are pretty vibrant, and I don't quite know how to tone them down. Maybe I'm just not using the right colors?

Cactus Pirate Jr.
Cactus Pirate Jr. profile pic Alumni

My experience with gouache wasn't exactly pleasant...it dries so damn quickly.

wullagaru
wullagaru profile pic Alumni

cactus with water colors its all about layering goign light to dark and what not so that whats underneath shines through

d3d
d3d profile pic Alumni

that's why i liked it. the colours are nice and flat with a velevety finish. it's like the material of vector art.

d3d
d3d profile pic Alumni

velvety*

Cactus Pirate Jr.
Cactus Pirate Jr. profile pic Alumni

I layer from light to dark to an extent, but I'm afraid if I keep going too much that the paper will soak up too much water and get all smudgy.

Luke...
Luke... profile pic Alumni

with watercolor, the paper and proper stretching is the key...
winsor newton has awesome paper imo. 140 lb stretches real nice.

i am by no means an expert. but i have done plenty of watercoloring and i love it., it has been a while...need to get back to it, but looser, and i will be incorporating it into my digital and other work in different ways. anyway here are 10 totally random tips:

1. gravity is your friend use it to make your blends.
2. use big brushes when working wet into wet. [i prefer flats or filberts]
3. work light to dark
4. expierment with layerring over dry paint.
5. use a hairbrush to speed up drying
6. do some of the paint mixing on the painting itself
7. with good paper a wet paper towell can remove a mistake, or at least lighten it considerably
8. every color acts different, treat them different
9. an exacto can create some rough and random hi-lites
10. old toothbrushes are fun to add texture

BLUEFOREVER

Get 300 lb paper. Hot pressed. Arches is the best brand. The paper will take any abuse. It won't buckle. It's expensive. But I think it makes all the difference. Also some stuff called Miskit. You paint it on and it masks the paper. Making sure it stays untouched. Great for maintaining highlight areas.

Also For fun throw some table salt on a painted area. It is a cool texture effect. I used to paint with watercolor a lot. For some reason I quit. Your post makes me want to try again.

Luke...
Luke... profile pic Alumni

oh and all my nature paintings and some other things on my temporary website are watercolor

sugarless

i love water colors. im not that good though..

Luke...
Luke... profile pic Alumni

i have to disagree with the arches, while it is better than crappy strathmore, it doesnt hold a candle to the "eraseability" and color vibrancy of winsor newton...maybe it is also because i use w&n paint, and used arches for a long time...but once i discovered w&n paper. i never went back to the overrated arches...and i personally dont like 300lb, it soaks up too much of the water..then drys too fast when i dont want it to...i use a hair brush to speed it up when i want it to.

Luke...
Luke... profile pic Alumni

i have to disagree with the arches, while it is better than crappy strathmore, it doesnt hold a candle to the "eraseability" and color vibrancy of winsor newton...maybe it is also because i use w&n paint, and used arches for a long time...but once i discovered w&n paper. i never went back to the overrated arches...and i personally dont like 300lb, it soaks up too much of the water..then drys too fast when i dont want it to...i use a hair brush to speed it up when i want it to.

BLUEFOREVER

I never used w&n. I'll give it a shot. 300 lbs. no need to stretch anything. I got used to working with it. I like the freedom to abuse the paper. I guess everybody has their own preferences.

Cactus Pirate Jr.
Cactus Pirate Jr. profile pic Alumni

Thanks for the tips guys!

How do you go about doing backgrounds? Do you start with the background, the foreground, or do you work on them simultaneously?

Luke, I was looking at your nature paintings and was wondering how you got that textured background on the gorilla one.

Stevethegreat

I WANNA SEE JEWELS'S WATERCOLORS.

Luke...
Luke... profile pic Alumni

but proper stretching is a must...i can give you a detailed description of a sure fire stretching method for 140 lb paper...by email if you would like.

also:
"cold press" is the most versatile and easiest to work with
"hot press" is smooth, every stroke is permanent, but gives you a much different result than cold press
"rough" is like cold press to the exreme texture and takes away the ease and versatility...never really use it.

Cactus Pirate Jr.
Cactus Pirate Jr. profile pic Alumni

How do you make sure the paper doesn't get all warped after soaking up all that water?

Cactus Pirate Jr.
Cactus Pirate Jr. profile pic Alumni

Right now I have 140 lb cold press paper, actually.

Cactus Pirate Jr.
Cactus Pirate Jr. profile pic Alumni

Steve, most of my watercolor stuff is on my flickr page!

Stevethegreat

YOUR FLICKR PAGE IS FOR PUSSIES. POST IT HERE.

Cactus Pirate Jr.
Cactus Pirate Jr. profile pic Alumni

ahahaha

Here's one...






The colors kind of lost some subtlety in the scan...

Cactus Pirate Jr.
Cactus Pirate Jr. profile pic Alumni

Um...the second image is just the upside-down version of the first, but it kind of looks like they're connected.

Luke...
Luke... profile pic Alumni

the texture on the gorilla one was a build up of layers, with alot of wet-into-wet...ultramarine blue reacts differently than burnt sienna the blue stains and forms into puddles, while the sienna sorta granulates into little dots...it is pretty random though, and alot of it was done with the help of "flicking" the paint brush, various sizes of brushes.
i always had trouble with doing the background or the subject first...i tried various miskets and fluids, but they didnt always work right, and they always left the paper "yellowed". my best tip is that you wet the background or subject with clean water first. do it a couple times get it real wet, but keep the rest of the paper very dry...then paint in the wet area...the paint will want to stay only in the wet area [provided it isnt over saturated] it takes alot of practiced. i have done many a painting several times over.

Luke...
Luke... profile pic Alumni

those look great man...the paper curling is all about gettin a good stretch.
i use a combination of paper tape and elmers glue... i can explain it later if you like...send me an email...right now got to go...those character watercolors look really good

littlem

that's gorgeous, julian!

Cactus Pirate Jr.
Cactus Pirate Jr. profile pic Alumni

Thanks littlem!

BTW...that illustration is called "The Lion and The Unicorn"

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