A* Episode 17, Page 118
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  A whole jar of watercolor painting blather!Feb 26, 2015 12:01 AM PST | url | discuss | + share
 
Added 1 new A* page:Ooh it's late again so I'm just going to blather about today's art stuff. While looking up the locations of Selenis' moon base here for the bits I'd drawn before, to get ready for drawing yesterday's page (this was yesterday I was doing this : p), I noticed that back then when I was working with digital black and white and ~three greys I was doing a lot more silhouetting, and very simple modeling with like one inner line to give a figure some lighting and volume—like oh page 11:114, kinda. I was liking that look and I've done it here and there in watercolor, but maybe not for a while, so I think that's where the pencil-defined flat shaded watercolor approach on today's page (which I *have* done before, but eventually I shied away from it because I was having so much fun just free-handing the shapes of the shadows directly in watercolor) came from (I don't really do these stylistic things entirely consciously, I just go with whatever seems to want to work well-ish for an image), and I think it worked pretty effectively—definitely better than the over-modelling I did on our two conversationalists in yesterday's page : P...which I suppose was a result of the washy happy-accident modeling I'd done on the previous page working out surprisingly well. Hm so if we follow that trend, tomorrow I'll overdo whatever I thought worked well today!
 
Although after I thought I was done with this page, I realized the top of the forehead was *too* flat, so I drew a little line of light blue watercolor across the top edge, then let it wash down by applying a plain-water brush to the bottom of it, and gosh if it didn't form a really nice little gradient to just curve the forehead a little as it gets up to the hairline. And then I tried a similar thing along the vertical shadow line on the neck, and it just went all muddley, although fortunately not so dark that you'd really notice. So I've already overdone that one! ^_^ But I probably am not taking as much advantage as I could of washing a color to white (or transparent, anyway) like that, I gotta keep that technique in mind. Not that I want to force gradients everywhere (see soon I will overdo this!).
 
One nice thing about doing flat areas in watercolor is that they can naturally shade themselves, like the shadowed side of Selenis' head/face did, since I started at the top with a pigment-saturated brush, and the strokes got lighter as I went down and the pigment was getting used up; usually that ends in disaster 'cause the pigment will run out before I reach the end, but this time it didn't! Yay. So that was pretty much all accidental but it worked out. : ) And I intentionally transitioned to a lighter blue at the bottom of the fellow's legs, which actually worked—although before that I'd tried a darker blue transition at the bottom of the background behind him, which I thought hadn't worked because it was all going way darker than I'd intended, only it did form this weirdish dark blue glow type thing down there which, you know, could have been worse.
 
Speaking of that dark background, I hadn't really *intended* the figures to be so light by comparison, but there's something about having that tonal discontinuity between foreground and background that at once abstracts it but also somehow makes it read semi-photorealistically—like you just had the light/exposure levels a bit off in a photograph or something? Whereas you could spend a lot of time trying to fully model something and have rich darks shading into balanced light tones and all that and it would still look artificial or forced somehow, or maybe just too busy. I keep telling myself to simplify and then I always end up forgetting not too long after that—or maybe it's just that really simplifying is hard; but when you can erase a line that is technically correct and proper, and cutting that definition actually improves the drawing, well that is just so satisfying! (On the other hand, when you erase a line and find the drawing doesn't work without it and now you'll have to try to redraw it just so, that is horrifying. >_- You can try to cover it up with your hand first to check, but that doesn't always work. ;_; But one thing I've been trying to get better at as I've been working to stick to a steady sleeping schedule these past few weeks is just going ahead and erasing when something isn't working, rather than being scared to erase and instead trying to salvage an uninspired drawing by picking away at it for hours, which never really works out great anyway.)
 
(But back to the very dark background, I *have* been using a little "start painting by filling in the darkest area with the darkest purple" method that I convinced myself was the way to go way back at page 21:55, and it's kind of become an awful crutch that I'm sure is limiting me. Hum. Not quite sure how else to go about things though, I suppose this'll lead to a lot of awful flailing around for a while if/when I manage to break the habit.)
 
Hey that turned into a lot of blather!
 
 
 
 
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