As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved the look of watercolor. Interestingly though, there aren’t that many artists who do cartoon watercolor painting. To date, my own attempts at incorporating watercolor into my large scale cartoon illustrations haven’t worked out well.
Now I’m REALLY determined to learn cartoon watercolor painting!
The catalyst this week has been an illustration flop. I created a cute new cartoon drawing for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Draw This! contest. The June Draw This! word prompt was “Camp.” As you can see, I had a lot of fun imagining what goes on after hours in a boys’ cabin! I really wanted to keep that sense of play when I moved on to working on the colored draft.
However, four versions later, I STILL wasn’t happy with the result!
(As you can see, I tried a variety of mediums. Pictured, clockwise from top left, are: an all watercolor version, a watercolor pencil version, yet another watercolor pencil version, and a fourth version using both Copic markers and watercolor.)
I didn’t like any of the above versions. Sigh.
So I settled on an India Ink wash for this illustration.
(I say “settled” because I would have really preferred color for this illustration!)
Which means I’ve decided to go back to school (well, Youtube University, for a start), for some pointers on watercolor painting.
One intriguing and helpful site I’ve discovered so far is by the very talented Singapore-based artist and teacher Teoh Yi Chie. Although he’s not a cartoonist, he does occasionally draw people. I really admire the colorful, easy style of his ink and watercolor urban paintings. And this drawing video on painting with a limited primary watercolor palette has been eye-opening, too!
My first limited primary color cartoon watercolor painting resulted in this whimsical sketch:
(I used only yellow, red and blue watercolor paints to color the above cartoon sketch. The resulting shades you see were obtained by mixing those primary colors. I also used Fabriano hot pressed watercolor paper since the Bristol board I use most frequently for my cartoon work is a bit too thin for really wet media.)
Could there be promise?
Will be to try “drawing” first with blocks of watercolor before I add any inking. As much as I crave more freedom in my work, I draw the line (literally?) at showing visible guidelines in my finished cartoon illustrations.
Hope you’ll stay tuned…