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Joseph Zbukvic helps me break through at Sketchcrawl #22

April 14, 2009

It was World Wide Sketchcrawl #22 today, but in fact I did not crawl – rather, I sat all day at the Starbucks outside of the Chinatown gate, and painted what you can see from there.

I’d been reading Joseph Zbukvic’s book on watercolor, which is out of print to the best of my knowledge, but available online in various un-scrupulous ways – or second hand for a small fortune. Luckily a fellow at work has a copy! Great book!

Key things which really helped me:

Start with a light, but complete drawing, use a HUGE brush to do TWO big washes – one for sky, one for everything else. If you need a hard edge, leave a tiny gap so these two areas don’t touch. Wash from top to bottom with a very thin (tea consistency) wash. Work fast (for natural blending). Draw the bead down, and go back to the pallet to modulate the color as you go. Let wet washes merge into themselves – then WAIT to dry.

Very important. WAIT.

That has made all the difference for me. I used to get a lot of mud at this point, due to failing to wait for the paper.

Now finish off with little shadows in gradually thicker pigment, until you’re putting on small details with “cream” or “milk” consistency paint.

Work dark over light, and go ahead and use gouache at the very end to reclaim small lost lights if you need too.

I didn’t follow his advice exactly, but tried to keep it in mind. Either way, I’m pleased with these two, compared to what I usually get.

There are also some instructional DVD’s from APV Films. I think the book is better – packed with information. Might try your local library, since the book is so costly today.

Plus, he does reasonably priced workshops – so keep an eye out for those.


19 Comments leave one →
  1. April 14, 2009 6:58 AM

    Man, that bottom sketch is really awesome. I also liked hearing the advice you got from that book. Thanks for passing it along.

  2. Frank Bettendorf permalink
    April 14, 2009 7:38 AM

    I posted my comments on the Urban Sketchers site so you can catch them there. Your write-up here is really worth thinking about. I’d be interested to read more of what you have to say about this technique. Terrific stuff! I hope you’ll use the technique more and give us your results and comments. Thanks.

  3. April 14, 2009 12:40 PM

    Really nice! The technique’s workin for you!

  4. tom permalink
    April 14, 2009 3:29 PM

    great stuff.. was hoping for some more arch. drawings and you did watercolors, even better…
    I’d love to hear about more from that book- you were right about it costing a small fortune

  5. April 14, 2009 6:46 PM

    That’s beautiful stuff Marc! So patience is a virtue with watercolor, who would have thought? Inspirational!

  6. April 15, 2009 3:27 AM

    These are great! Love all the greeeeen :D

  7. April 15, 2009 5:22 AM

    Wow, just wow! Great progress man! I had to double-check to see if this was your blog. You’re watercolors are majorly improving. Quit pulling ahead! :-D

  8. tarosan permalink
    April 15, 2009 7:19 AM

    heh, thanks for the good words! I hope I can keep pulling ahead :P That’s the idea of this art obsession of mine :)

  9. Dayanna permalink
    April 15, 2009 5:12 PM

    These are amazing! Great work! Thank you so much for relating the advice from the book to us. I’ll keep it in mind :)
    What is the name of the book you were talking about? Or could we find it by just his name? :)
    Take Care and can’t wait to see more.

  10. tarosan permalink
    April 15, 2009 8:36 PM

    It’s “Atmosphere and Mood in Watercolor”…but yes, his name is quite distinctive :)

  11. April 16, 2009 7:56 PM

    Absolutely amazing stuff. I chanced upon these two sketches in the urban…. and went to your flickr stream…..went thru the entire 43 pages…..yup, loved it.

  12. April 17, 2009 3:50 AM

    Marc, I find fantastic this two scketches, and also the nudes I’ve seen before, they are genials. I’ll link your blog to mine, if you don’t mind, and invite you to visite mine. I’ll like to have continuation showing and seen our respective works.
    Nice to meet you.


  13. April 18, 2009 5:46 AM

    These are awesome mark! Really nice details

  14. April 19, 2009 12:01 PM

    These are great :D Love love them.

  15. Tony Arechiga permalink
    April 21, 2009 2:13 AM

    DAMN MARC!!!!

  16. April 22, 2009 8:44 AM

    Beautiful dude! Wow this really makes me want to try watercolour again!

  17. April 30, 2009 1:19 AM

    Hey Marc,

    Really really nice works. Inspirational – you’ve inspired me to give watercolours a try. Good stuff!


  18. February 20, 2019 6:35 PM

    Great sketches. I have his book, it’s a gem in my library. I hope to have him sign it this year in SF!

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