Edited 12/26/22: I had to pull this post early this morning and work on adding additional pictures, better details of my sketching process and do some major edits to what I originally posted. I was one tired puppy when I pushed the original blog post last night. My apologies. Here’s my updated post.
For the past two weeks I was busy with my watercolor paints and fountain pens & inks. When I had a rare “down time” moment, I made sure to spend it on sketching. Mostly, it was Christmas related sketches.
Watercolor: Holly & Berry
I created a quick holly & berry sketch.
I ended up using my porcelain palette so I could make batches of color ahead of time and not worry about running out of color while in the middle of painting.
My approach to this painting was to paint a section of my sketch one at a time and to allow each layer of color to dry completely.
The technique I used was wet-on-wet.
I painted one side of the leaf.
I then moved on to the other leaves and painted the left side.
Before I can paint the remaining sides of my leaves, I used a quick test to check by using the back of my clean hand and touch the areas I painted. If it’s cool to the touch, the paint is still damp. If it’s warm to the touch, the paint has dried.
When the first leaf had dried, I added paint to the right side.
I continued to paint the remaining sections of the leaves.
I waited for my leaves to completely dry before I moved on to my berries.
I painted one berry at a time and waited for each berry to dry before I painted the next one.
I forgot to show my test strip I created. This allowed me to see how the colors would “get along” with each other.
Here’s my final watercolor painting with the shadows. I used a blend of Neutral Tint and the associated paint color of the object. Under the leaves there’s a hint of green with the Neutral Tint color.
Pen & Ink Wash: Holly & Berry
After I finished my watercolor painting, I went ahead and filled a bunch of my TWSBI GOs with several different ink colors. I was anxious to sketch something with my pens. A light bulb went off in my head and I thought I would create another holly and berry sketch using my GOs with fountain pen inks.
I quickly pencil sketched another holly and berry on my watercolor paper. Instead of working on the leaves first, I decided to start with the berries.
Since my fountain pen inks dried fairly quickly, it allowed me to fill in the colors quickly and move on to different areas of my sketch.
I wasn’t paying too much attention to my uncapping of my pens, until I saw an inky spot or two that appeared on my paper.
For the leaves I used a lighter green color (Oklahoma City) for the edges and for the dark areas of the leaves (shadows).
Once the leaves were completely dried, I used a medium green (Eucalyptus Leaf) to add more color to the leaves and darkened the shadows a bit more. I left some highlights here and there in the leaves to show some bending. They no longer look flat like in the previous pictures.
For the berries, I used Blood Rose and added layers of color to the darker areas. I made sure to keep the highlights white by not adding color. The last layer of color was added along the back side edges of the berries.
Sketch some berries and holly leaves. Feel free to use different color inks. Try reversing the colors and use green for the berries and red for the leaves. Think outside the box in regards to colors.
Unlike my watercolor sketches taking days to complete, my pen & ink sketch takes less than an hour to complete.
I’m glad I took a break from my pen & ink sketches to spend more time with my watercolor paints and brushes. I found I was a bit rusty and had to remind myself to be patient and let my paintings dry. Also, I had to relearn a few techniques like using less water to get a milk or creamy mix of color versus a watery tea mix.
Use the back of your clean hand to see if the paper is dry or not. A cool touch means the paper is still damp. A warm touch means the paper is dry.
I hope everyone is staying warm today and enjoying their time with friends and family.
Paper: Bee Watercolor (100% cotton)
Palette: Porcelain Flower with 7-wells 4-5/8″ x 4-5/8″ x 1/2″
Paints: Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolor in Sap Green, Cascade Green, Perylene Green, Quinacridone Rose, Quinacridone Magenta, Perylene Violet, and Neutral Tint
Inks: Robert Oster Blood Rose (shimmer), Oklahoma City, and Eucalyptus Leaf
Pens: TWSBI Go with Stub 1.1 nib. Jinhao x159 in Black with Fine nib.