Like most of the things I am working on these days, this started out as a sketchbook drawing in a sketchbook with pages measuring about 8.5 by 11 inches. To do these color experiments, I have been copying the drawings onto heavy paper — at least paper which I can get to run through the copy machine without getting stuck and/or refusing to allow the toner to be fused to the surface of the paper.
I was hoping that I could get some actual watercolor paper to work in this manner, but so far, no success. This particular experiment was done on a sheet of pretty smooth Bristol board which I managed to run through the copier with only minimal lifting of the toner in some spots. For those spots, I went back in later and used black waterproof ink to touch up the lines which were damaged.
But the Bristol board, while not the greatest surface for watercolor, actually worked quite well (at least in my opinion). I used my little five-tiered watercolor set to color this one — I know I should be bolder and use the tubes of watercolor and start mixing colors and so forth, but for now, I like this approach. I did the whole thing sitting in the sun room with Jeannine, dabbing the watercolors while she sat on the couch opposite and worked on her next book.
When I was finished with the watercolors, I scanned the piece on my big flatbed scanner which is still hooked up to my desktop Mac, a computer which doesn’t get much use these days. Oh, I should probably point out that the reason I used that instead of my handy new little 8.5 by 11 inch scanner is that when I copied the image from my sketchbook to the Bristol board, I actually enlarged it by about 125%.
After the scanning at 600dpi, I copied the image on a memory card and transferred it to my laptop (which, I am finding out, is MUCH faster than my desktop computer!), where I selected all the empty background areas in Photoshop in preparation for dropping a background into the image. I’d decided that I would try to use one of my old digital photographs of a sunset, and I found what I thought was a very appropriate one which I’d shot from our back deck — it incorporated some branches of the trees behind our house, which I thought might work well with the thorny vines in the drawing.
And I think it did. I am not sure if this is the last version I will do of this drawing, but I am fairly happy with it. — PL