My First Attempt with Watercolor

For my February 9  Thing-A-Day, I decided to create a watercolor drawing.

One of the things on my list of ideas for Thing-A-Day projects was to do a pen and ink drawing with a watercolor wash. Actually, its been on my list for much longer. The watercolor paper I used was from a package I bought about five years ago with the same idea of trying to learn to create watercolor drawings. I finally opened that package today.

It’s almost like that package of paper has been a barrier keeping me from giving it a try. Mocking me on days when I notice it setting on the shelf. I need to work on that whole right brain, left brain thing to combine more of the creative side with the analytical side.

Pen and Ink with watercolor

Pen and Ink with watercolor

This project started with a photograph I took several years ago of the pickup. It is a 1946 Chevy half ton pickup. It is an old farm truck my grandfather had.

Photo of 1947 Chevy pickup.

Photo of 1947 Chevy pickup.

The Process

From photo to watercolor took place with the assistance of Gimp and Photoshop (I’m trying to find my way around in each). I used the programs to edit out the background, enlarge the image, use the edge detection filter, and flatten the range of colors to black and white. I printed out the manipulated image and used vellum tracing paper to ink over the lines.

Composite from Photo to Watercolor.

Composite from Photo to Watercolor.

After I had the pen and ink drawing, I placed a sheet of watercolor paper in the printer. From there I used my Staedtler watercolor crayons to add color. For the highlights I layered lighter colors like yellow and orange then touches of red. For shadows I used red, and two increasingly darker shades of brown.

Pen and Ink Tracing.

Pen and Ink Tracing.

One great thing about Thing-A-Day comes from inspiration to try new things. I’m excited about the way this turned out and I don’t think that package of paper will be as intimidating in the future.

I have access to several books about Photoshop with a lot of great information to help learn the mechanical techniques of operating the program. For me, one book stands out for inspiration more than the others, it’s “Creative Thinking in Photoshop“. It focuses on creating art from a collection of hand drawn media plus manipulation within Photoshop.

I have some web sites that I’m beginning to work on and hope to incorporate some hand drawn artwork into the themes they will use. This exercise has given me a good place to start.

About SomeoneKnows
(c) 2010 Vince Thompson


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