Illustration Friday : Soaked

This piece was an experiment. Was it a successful one? Eh, I don’t know. I guess it was in the sense that I learned about what definitely works, what could work, and what absolutely does not work when it comes to watercolor pencils on wood. Read on if you want to be bored out of your mind you’re interested in the process.

I recently invested in some wood panels on which I would really love to use ink and watercolors. Being that I have never really worked with either on a wood surface, I felt a little experimenting was in order, but I didn’t want to waste any of my smooth, lovely panels. So, I dug this out of my stockpile of wood-framed mirrors. It wasn’t the greatest surface to work on, especially since not all four quadrants of the frame had the same texture, but it worked well enough.

I started by lightly sketching the design on the frame in pencil. It went okay. I didn’t want to create any dents in the wood, so I had to be very careful not to use too much pressure. Also, erasing errant pencil marks wasn’t very easy, so I had to focus on getting it right the first time. This is not one of my strong suits.

Next, I used my Prismacolor pens to ink the outlines. I was a little worried about how much the ink would bleed, and, while I definitely didn’t get the crisp, clean lines that I am used to, it turned out better than I expected. There were a couple of spots where I didn’t wait long enough for the ink to dry before erasing stray pencil marks and I smudged the ink. Patience is also not one of my strong suits.

For the water and raindrops, I used my Derwent watercolor pencils. I used varying degrees of pressure when applying the pencils, resulting in the differing degrees of transparency. I found that the white watercolor pencil was too transparent, and so I used gouache on the paper boat and clouds. It definitely helped to make them stand out more.

I really, really debated about how to do the background/sky. As it turned out, that is the part I am most disappointed with. I mixed up and really thinned out some blue/green watercolor, as I didn’t want much color. Unfortunately, it resulted in a much dirtier looking wash than I anticipated. I also feel like the color is too similar to that of the water. But, it was a lesson learned, so I’ll take it.

I have a wood panel triptych in mind that I am kind of excited about. I just need to get the process just right before I attempt it. Good thing I have more mirrors than I know what to do with!

Also, this thing was a real pain in the arse to photograph. I apologize for the lame photographic representation. Heh.

Oh, and if you haven’t entered the GIVEAWAY yet, go do it now!

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16 thoughts on “Illustration Friday : Soaked

  1. Oh, Miss Ruth! I think it’s beautiful! I really, really do! I would totally buy something like that. You should do more! I’m going to have to check out your watercolor pencils. I used some a long time ago, but they were cheapy, and not very good. You seem to like the Derwent’s you have, right? I think I just might try them.
    I think your mirror is lovely. Truly. Really good job.

  2. I like this so much! The shapes, colors, the ink on wood…. Watercolor pencils are my favorite to use. Now I want to go try them on wood for myself!

  3. This is lovely and so nice to see something quite different submitted as a response to the topic. Fabulous!

  4. I think you did a great job, Ruth. I read through your process, and I think the result is very beautiful. You probably had a different outcome in mind, maybe, so that’s why you’re a bit disappointed, but truly I like it all: composition, color and technique!

  5. Wow, thank you all SO very much! I think I really was envisioning something slightly different and that’s why I wasn’t so happy with it at first. It’s starting to grow on me now though. 😉

  6. Ah, so this is you, Ruth! I remember seeing this as I was going through the IF submissions and your frame stood out for me. What a great use of the frame. I also appreciate that you shared your process. Looking forward to more frames in the future!

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