This is the lesson sequence from last semester for the new students.
Journaling Lesson Sequence
There is no “must” in art, because art is free. Wassily Kandinsky
Material from Keeping a Watercolor Sketchbook by Brenda Swenson
Materials and Techniques to Try
- Water soluble pens.
Using Water-Soluble Pens. For these sketches, water-soluble pens are very useful. Once I’ve drawn the general shapes with this tool. I can wet the edge of my lines with a damp brush and easily create form and shadow. I can even go back and add more color with my pen if I want,
- Pencils, ink, watercolors, erasers; white plastic, kneaded eraser.
- Permanent pens keep your drawing from being affected by water.
- Colors; what paints are you using? Do you understand these paints?
What is value? It’s the way the eye reads light or dark. Most people are familiar with a gray scale of values, but colors also have a scale of tonal values. Yellows have the lightest hues, greens and reds have mid-range hues, and purples have the darkest hues. It’s easier to see values when squinting.
Saving and Retrieving Whites
Lifting color with masking. Protect the surrounding color with artist’s tape, then lightly scrub with a damp sponge to remove color.
Lifting color without masking. Using a stiff brush loaded with clean water, gently scrub the paper to remove color.
Masking fluid. this rubbery substance can mask whites. Apply the mask, paint over it and then rub off the mask when the paint is dry.
Scraping with a razor. For small areas you can apply a razor to already-dried paint to gently scrape off lines of surface color.
Scraping with a knife. When damp paper has just lost its shine, you can use a palette knife to scrape off color.
Testing Transparency. Although watercolor is a translucent medium, not all paint colors are equally transparent. Knowing the strength of your colors’ transparency will help you predict how the colors will interact. Test each watercolor’s opacity by painting it over a dry band of water proof black ink. If the hue is visible on top of the line when the paint is dry, the color is opaque. You can also try overlapping different colors from you palette to avoid surprises when you combine the paints in your sketches.
Overlapping Colors to Test Transparency. Colors that are more opaque than the yellow shown here (new gamboges) will seem to float above the yellow line, whereas colors that are more transparent will seem to sink below it. Even semi-opaque colors will appear transparent if diluted with enough water.
Glazing Colors. Because of their transparent nature, watercolors can be glazed on top of one another. The under-color will affect the top color, but the effect varies depending on the transparency of the colors used. Paints with the same quality of transparency will produce more equal visual blends.
Granulating Colors. Certain pigment (such as manganese blue, raw sienna, and cobalt blue) granulate- meaning their pigments separate from the binder and settle into the grooves of textured paper. These colors can produce exciting effects, especially when depicting rusted metal, rocks, or wood. Experiment by mixing them with other colors or try them alone.
Mixing Greens. You may have already noticed that I don’t keep any green paints on my palette. I find that the ranges of greens I can mix with my existing colors are richer,m more varied, and more natural than those that come straight from the tube. Try mixing the blues and yellows from your palette to sample some of the many possible combinations.
Drawing what you see
There is a big difference between sketching what you actually see and sketching what you think you see. Because we have expectations about what we will see, in truth, we spend very little time looking. Take a few minutes to explore with your eyes. Don’t just register the objects around you , but look at their shape-or the many shapes that comprise one object. Notice how light affects the edges of objects,, and pay attention to whether the shadows are long or short. Then note if the colors are bright or muted. If you take the time to slow down enough to really look at the world around you, you may find that you begin to see things in a different way-and you may even see some things for the very first time!
Simplifying Objects into Shapes and Forms
Every object is a three-dimensional form based on some combination of four basic geometric shapes the circle, oval. rectangle and triangle. Learning to see and recognize the shapes and forms in the objects surrounding you in essential if you want to create realistic sketches. It’s much easier to depict an object once we are able to break it down into simple shapes and forms!
Try turning everything into these elements. Combine these elements to become your subject.
Contour drawing is an excellent way to exercise your observation skills because it forces you to slow down and concentrate on the subject at hand. To create a contour drawing, first acknowledge the overall shape of your subject; then concentrate on one edge-or contour-at a time, To make a contour drawing carefully draw each edge as you follow it with your eyes, Focus on one edge at a time and draw exactly what you see. There’s beauty in a well-done line drawing.
If you would like to challenge yourself, you can also try making a continual-line contour drawing. With this approach, you draw the entire subject entirely without ever lifting your pen. Find a starting point. place your pen on the page and begin drawing the outline of your subject. Don’t pick up the pen until you have finished. The subject usually becomes a little distorted when working this way, but I think of the distortion as part of the charm.
Contour drawings are direct and honest representations of what you see-and they allow you to say so much with so little!
Break a scene down from a large to a small detail. Instead of drawing the whole valley of wildflowers, pick a few single blossoms to render.
Working in Monochrome
I typically draw with a colored water-soluble pen, pulling color from the line to lightly tint the paper. In the darker passages, I use the pen alone, without diluting the ink with water. You can also approach a monochromatic study by drawing the scene in pencil or pen and then tinting the paper with any one watercolor hue.
Monochromatic sketches done in sepia or burnt sienna have an old-world feel, similar to that of a tinted photo from long ago.
Simplifying with Vignettes
The vignette is an open format that keeps information out of the corners and touches the border in only two or three spots. The uncomplicated design give the sketch a somewhat unfinished appearance, allowing a more spontaneous approach, I typically limit myself to four colors when working in a vignette format-applying a simplified palette to a simplified format. Try putting an outline around the drawing. (framing)
Finding the Best Format
Square, Vertical, Horizontal (both rectangles). Panarama rectangles(high contrast ratio); vertical and horizontal
Choosing a Viewpoint
Eye level, Bird’s eye view (above eye level), Worm’s eye view (below). These distinct viewpoints can add a more dramatic feel to even the most ordinary subjects. To experiment with points of view place your horizon either lower or higher on your page; then alter the angle-or perspective-accordingly, as shown in the examples here. You’ll often find that artists use more exaggerated points of view when painting landscapes and city scenes but still lifes and interiors can benefit from a slightly different perspective as well.
Be willing to edit what you’re drawing and combine things that don’t necessarily really exist. Take a little of this and a little of that and combine them into one drawing or painting. Or make a Visual Collage of multiple images onto one page.
It’s a good idea to make your own color wheel, so you can experiment with the color and how to mix different hues.
Warm and Cool Colors
Choosing colors isn’t just a matter of replicating what you see; colors possess an emotional quality that should also be taken into account. For example, warm colors (yellows, oranges and reds) emit life, energy and strength; whereas cool colors (greens, blues and purples) evoke quietude, tranquility, and serenity. You can use the inherent emotional aspects of colors to your benefit by exercising “temperature dominance.” Before you begin painting, first determine whether the mood you want to express is warm or cool; then let that choice guide your color selection.
Placement and Style of the Writing
You need to find a style of writing that is easy to write but is “easy” on the eye. When there lettering that is evenly spaced and enough light throughout it is more pleasing to look at on the page. Consider where you do the illustration and where you arrange the writing. I have an “italic” style and a “copperplate” style to choose from. It needs to be very evenly spaced so it compliments the drawing. You don’t want it to create dark spots on the page, it makes it too chaotic.
You need to learn to combine the illustration and writing in a harmonious way. Some of the ways to do this is to draw with the pen that you do the writing. At least include some strokes with the same tool that you will be writing,. Another technique is to put some of the color from the drawing into the writing. I like to put a brush stroke of one of the colors under the initial capital letter of the writing. Somewhat like an illuminated manuscript would start with the decorated capitals.
Composition of illustration and writing
- Picture with captions
- Picture with wrap-around text.
- Writing with picture drawn or painted on top.
- Picture with writing on top.
- Columns of writing with picture.