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Old Favorites Brought Back to Light

December 20, 2011

I’ve been experimenting with a “new technique”. Well, a slight variation anyway. These might not look that new at first glance :) Actually they’re quite old! Some of my favorites from San Francisco. So these must be at least three year old drawings. What I’m playing around with here is a trick to allow me add watercolor to my old sketchbook pages.

A lot of my early on-location drawings were ballpoint pen and brush marker on ‘cover stock’. Sort of one step above photocopy paper.  I really  like this combination. Black and white line is great for a rapid sketch, and the smooth paper is very nice for drawing. Pens just zip along the surface. For a few years I was carrying a stack of this stuff everywhere.

But when I get a pen drawing I really like – I regret not being able to add much color. You can paint on cover stock if you’re careful – but it won’t take much water before it buckles.

There was a time I might have been tempted to color sketches digitally. That can have a nice effect – but it’s not what I’m looking for these days.

What I’ve done here is print a ghosted image of the original sketch on a 140lb watercolor paper (using my new Epson 4900 printer’s manual feed).  Then I tape it down and watercolor over the faint line drawing, as if I was painting a pencil drawing. I scan that back in, and composite the original black line drawing on top of the new color image. (Using a multiply layer in photoshop). I can also experiment with tinting the line drawing – I used a bit of a purple line on these. And it’s possible to significantly enlarge your drawing while doing this –  if you scan it at 1200 dpi for example.

I’m going to try a bit more of this to see what else I can come up with.

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