Sunday, July 12, 2015

Peek into the Process: Watercolored Kingfisher

Working with watercolor requires lots of patience---not so much for the amount of practice required (because it actually can be a forgiving medium if you follow the right steps), but rather patience for the times you are waiting for the layers to dry! It's always tempting to dab your brush into the work in between layers, but if you do, it will take longer for the layer to dry, and you might even end up scarring the paper. I always tell my students not to worry if, in the beginning, their works look like blobs of water. Unless you're doing quick watercolor painting, it almost always does start out light, without any detail.

I've broken down the steps for painting a Kingfisher.

I always start with underpainting my works. And instead of using a pencil, I use a light mixture to create the shape of the bird. Allow this layer to dry.

You can go over the initial shape you painted, but this time, with slightly stronger mixtures using the wet-on-wet technique. Allow this layer to dry a bit.

Waiting for each layer to dry, and then adding color on top of it is called glazing. You can layer on shadows by creating darker mixtures (I added some black to the blue). Work on one hue at a time to make sure that the colors don't bleed into each other.

It's only at the final step that I apply the details with a heavy consistency of pigment (very little water). I used only the tip of a very thin brush to 'scratch on' the details. 

Used a #6 round brush for steps 1-3, and a 5/0 brush for the details in the final step.
Paint is Sakura field sketch box on Canson Torchon paper.