Turk's watercolors!

QuantumTurkQuantumTurk Registered User regular
edited August 2019 in Artist's Corner
So, in a fit of stress and retail therapy I said dumb things like, "watercolors must be cheap and easy right?" and bought some based on some recommendations online. Turns out they are neither, but they ARE a lot of fun. So I'm HAPPY to have critiques, but honestly I know my stuff is poor in a lot of ways right now. I have not sat down and drawn or colored anything since elementary school, and I've barely doodled since high school. Seeing as that was 15+ years ago, and I was terrible then, I'm honestly just pleased things are coming out as nice as they are. So this little corner of the internet is more to keep me doing it than anything. I've enjoyed it a lot, and have even started to try and learn how to sketch, as obviously being able to draw will translate over.

Big things I'd love are any more resources on color mixing or tips, I'm making some pictures that I like ok, but I'm having a really hard time matching colors for some things like the koroks. I'm just barely starting to make blacks I find acceptable. (Specifically I got the student level winsor & newtons with: Alizarin Crimson Hue, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Cadmium Red Hue, Cadmium Red Pale, Cadmium Yellow, Cerulean Blue Hue, Chinese White, Lemon Yellow, Purple Lake, Sap Green, Ultramarine, Viridian Hue and Yellow Ochre, if that guides any advice)

Enough stalling, here are the first attempts, in the order they happened!

For being the very first thing ever, I was just happy it was at all a bird, if not at ALL like my reference photo of a tufted titmouse...

Semi following youtube tutorials for wet on wet work for a sunset

Going way too hard, way too fast for a jellyfish

Realizing that pokemon have some shading, but not too much, and are designed to be drawn by children

Still upset I derped the eye so hard

Ya-ha-ha! Again the colors are not at ALL what I'd hoped, but once they started to veer I tried to run with it and make something still a little pleasing to look at.

Please let me know if I shouldn't be dumping this around much more practiced artists, or if I've made the formatting terrible.

Quick edit to mention I've currently only got the one decent brush, a size 8 round but should have a 1/4 flat and a size 4 rigger coming that will give me all I should need for a while between doing big washes, everything in between, and some better capacity for long fine lines.

QuantumTurk on


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    Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator Mod Emeritus
    edited August 2019
    Hi there!

    I'm certainly no watercolor expert myself, but to point you in the direction of someone that is, James Gurney (the illustrator who made all the Dinotopia books) has a lot of great information on the subject on his blog and youtube channel:


    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/search/label/Watercolor Painting

    To address that some of things that you brought up, in no particular order:

    -Drawing: it's true that 90% of painting problems are actually drawing problems- if you've got the structure and values right, what you do with color can border on totally arbitrary and still look good. So it's fun to go straight in to color, but spending more time in the drawing phase (drawing with paint and a brush still counts as drawing) up front can save you a lot of headaches later on.

    -Mixing: a lot of this is just going to come down to experience, but if you want to go full art-school approach, you might consider spending time painting a set of color charts to get that information ingrained in your brain.
    There's no one way to do this, but basically it's just a grid with series of progressions of colors such as:

    100% Yellow straight from tube | 75% Yellow 25% White | 50% Yellow 50% White | 25% Yellow 75% White

    100% Yellow | 75% Yellow 25% Black | 50% Yellow 50% Black | 25% Yellow 75% Black

    100% Yellow | 75% Yellow 25% Gray (of identical darkness to the yellow) | 50% Yellow 50% Gray | 25% Yellow 75% Gray

    100% Yellow | 75% Yellow 25% Blue | 50% Yellow 50% Blue | 25% Yellow 75% Blue

    And repeating this for all color combinations you have, or at least a main few colors.

    This is a real not-fun, time-consuming exercise- but it is a good way to drill the mixing info into your brain, so it's ready on recall.

    That said, I wouldn't suggest you go do this right now- I think starting out it's better to have fun enjoying yourself rather than going straight into too many tedious technical exercises.
    I bring it up more so that in the future, when you feel yourself hitting a wall, you've got a next step ready to go to try and get past it.

    -Speaking of palettes, since you brought it up- you've got plenty of colors to work with as is.
    Painting classes in my experience will actually start students out with a very small number of colors and work towards a full palette over a number of months.

    So for the first few paintings, you might just work with a black or burnt umber by itself, as you learn how to manipulate the paint, work with the brush, learn how different amounts of water mixed in effects how the paint goes down- essentially learning how to use paint as a drawing medium first.
    Then, you might go to burnt umber + black + white to do the same thing, but with some mixing, a greater value range, and working with manipulating saturation (ie: how much color needs to be in this color? Is it very vibrant and intense, or very muted and borderline gray? This is something that a lot of beginning painters neglect, and wind up with a lot of garish, overly intense color work as a result).
    From there you might have a complimentary palette- black+white+burnt umber + ultramarine, for example. Learn how to play with cool versus warm colors.
    Afterwards, more colors might be added in slowly on paintings, until you are working with the full palette.

    Again, you don't have to do things this way- but if that logic makes sense and appeals to you, you might give this approach a shot and see what it does for you.

    -Pokemon: I wouldn't describe Pokemon as "being designed to be drawn by children"- they're designed to be drawn by teams of professional animators who have to draw them thousands of times and still remain consistent and identifiable.
    So while they may be simplified, drawing them well means having a solid grasp of construction (and therefore, perspective), proportion, lighting, etc., which most people in general are not going to have ready at their command, without study and practice.
    Of course, Pokemon's relative design simplicity makes for a great starting point for studying those subjects. ("Ok, can I break down this Pokemon design into a series of simple spheres, cylinders, cones, and boxes? Having done that, can I use that knowledge to draw them from another angle? Or another pose?")

    I kinda want to give you a thumbs up for your mental approach as well- you started this new thing, and when you found out that it was difficult, your attitude was, 'yeah, this is difficult- but I'm having fun figuring out those difficulties, so I'm gonna keep going'.
    So many people that want to draw or paint are so blindsided when confronted with difficulty, that they can find themselves stuck in a comfort zone rut for a long time- but the people that get really good and progress quickly, are the ones that have a zen-style 'beginner's mind' about learning ("I have no expectations or preconceived notions, I'm merely approaching the subject with curiosity each time I sit down at my desk").

    So kudos for coming at this with a healthy, productive attitude- which probably counts for more than anything in the long run.

    Angel_of_Bacon on
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