DIY…….watercolor technique

Happy Halloween! I have a sugar free treat for you! Remember Will and Grace? Here’s a glimpse at how they came to be….


First step: I start with a flesh colored or soft grey watercolor pencil to outline the major shapes…if I am working from a photograph I might use a light box or  a sunny window to establish the layout. I like to block out lines in the background and then I create circles: knees, elbows, face, ankles, etc……So my initial sketch looks like a series of barely visible circles and horizontal lines but the beauty of using watercolor pencils is that they can be washed over with a wet paint brush and they disappear! So you can start over if you don’t like what you see…..


Second step: I start layering on the color! I go for light washes…..I like to use a dry palette with a wet brush…If an area gets too wet I have a paper towel handy to gently tap the paper which will quickly absorb excess water. It also removes some of the paint which adds texture to the piece (see Grace’s scarf below for an example of this technique)…


Third step: I add all of the final details to my work….Is she wearing  jewelry? Are her sunglasses dark enough? Does she have five fingers or only three? Can I see different shades in her hair? I like to add these details with my watercolor pencils as I love the sketchy feel they give my illustrations and, once again, they can be washed over and made to completely disappear if necessary!


And finally, I use an old fashioned number two lead pencil to sharpen up any areas I want to be defined and to sign my work…….

Hope you liked my Halloween treat!


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