Big announcement: I’m finishing up my illustrations for Floyd and the Mysterious Night Time Noise! It’s a great feeling to know the book is almost complete and ready to be scanned and go to press. But first, there is still some work left to do...
In the last few blog posts, I’ve explained the steps from drawing to outlining to painting backgrounds and adding the dry watercolor pencil areas. Now --drum roll, please-- the final steps:
After I’ve applied the the dry watercolor pencils (see last blog post), then its time to dissolve the dry pencil into paint. I love this part! The colors gets brighter and vibrant and I can play with color mixing and textures. I use a combination of bushes depending on the size of the area I'm painting and what type of textures I'm trying to create. My favorite brushes are detail round brushes, flat brushes, angle brushes and filberts (round oval) in a variety of sizes. I use a lot of different brands, but they are all watercolor brushes which means they have soft bristles. Usually watercolor brushes are made with natural hair like sable and squirrel (yuck- they work fine, I just am not a fan of squirrels) or synthetics like taklon. Some of my favorites are made with ergonomic handles and are very comfortable to hold. But there are no rules or price ranges of brushes that are perfect. You don't have to spend a lot of money for a brush, but you do get what you pay for. Try all different kinds to find the type that works best for you. Get new ones when the bristles look fuzzy or fall out.
To turn pencil into paint, simply dip the brush in water and start painting on top of the dry pencil. More water will make the color lighter, less water makes it bright, almost like a marker. At this stage, I can let it dry then put more color on top (dark on top of light since its transparent just like normal watercolors). I also use some white acrylic for parts that I want to have more opaqueness or where it needs a pop of white. I can mix the white with the watercolor to make a gouache type of effect, too. Don't forget: though a very small amount of water is needed for dissolving watercolor pencils and you're not dipping the brush into paint, you still need to clean the brush as you work and change colors!
When the painting is finished and dry, I often go back in and add more line work with regular colored pencils. I might put in fur lines, or darken outlines, or add in details that I think are needed.
Once all of the painting is done, the illustrations will be digitally scanned where I can do “clean up work” with Photoshop.
Anything that needs fixing or touching up can be done with that program, which is a big relief and takes some pressure off. Sometimes, I just don’t like one of the paintings, and I may scrap it and do another. At this stage, I really really hope I don’t have to, but it happens. So even now, there can be changes and adjustments and the work is not over. But the major stuff is done, and its time to celebrate!