While falling into a black hole of fashion editorials, I found a great photoshoot for Elle Canada which I just had to sketch right away, immediately, post haste! The next thing I know it’s 5 am, but as much as I love those flashes of inspiration in the wee hours, my sleep cycle really doesn’t.
For this one I wanted to contrast the modern styling with some Mucha-inspired details, and I’m so happy with how it turned out. It’s a mix of traditional and digital mediums which I’ll detail below in a little tutorial.
Mini-tutorial for avoiding the dreaded ‘muddy’ watercolours when painting over pencil! under the cut.
You probably know this problem. You do a lovely sketch and you want to paint it with watercolour, but when you do, it smudges the pencil line, and instead of the clear colours you wanted, it’s as muddy as a swamp in Autumn.
The reason for this is because it’s very easy for graphite to lift from the paper and mix with any wet medium that’s put on top of it. Watercolours in particular can get muddied when painted onto a graphite drawing unless the pencil lines are very light and barely there. To avoid muddy watercolours, sometimes I erase my pencil drawing just before painting so that only the faintest of lines or impression remain as a guide – something which breaks even the hardest of artist’s hearts a little – or draw a very faint guide to start with through lightly using a hard lead pencil. In this drawing, there was a lot of soft B lead graphite which I wanted to keep, but which would definitely become smudged and dirty the colours if I painted directly on top of it, and that’s when you have to find ways of working around it and praise the modern age for its advances.
So, how can we have the best of both worlds and keep soft B lead graphite drawings and all the details it produces AND have very clean watercolour paint over the top? My answer is to use watercolours, but digitally! It more fiddly than normal painting, but you can still use your watercolours create custom watercolour textures. I used it for this artwork and I’ve put together a handy dandy little tutorial in gif form for you.
As you can see, I wasn’t too careful in painting the watercolour texture because that’s my thaaang! Official artspeak: I wanted the colour to bleed over and under lines for a more organic feel. You could just use any stock watercolour texture which you can edit to fit cleanly, but I personally prefer making custom ones because I like the effect, the knowledge the I did it all myself, and because I’m a control freak.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Please don’t forget that I’m easy to contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media if you have any questions, a request for a fashion collection illustration, Wild Card Wednesday, tutorial, or just want to say hi! I’d love to hear from you, as always, and wish you all a wonderful day. xxxx
Credits: Inspired by a great photoshoot for Elle Canada (October 2015) by Owen Bruce (photographer), Denis Desro (director), Louis Hechter (hairstylist), and featuring designs from Au Jour Le Jour and Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection.