Working Opaquely with Watercolor

August 5, 2020
Sketch of Romesh Ranganathan on lined notebook paper using a Sakura Pigma Professional Brush Pen, Pentel Brush Pen (covered those lines with paint) and Daniel Smith Watercolors used transparently and opaquely. In some final highlight mixes a little Schmincke Titanium Gouache was used.

Today’s sketch isn’t an example of leaving something out (details on the shirt and jacket) to balance something else. I simply wanted to only paint the face, beard, and background. I thought about painting the shirt and jacket but I liked the lines that were showing through. (Sometimes you simply fall in love with your lines  and I like the colors thinly mixing on the page, which has its own printed green lines.)

Fun Things To Try With Watercolor

If you look at the detail of the sketch you can see that I’m sometimes putting in layers of transparent watercolor wash, and other times applying the paint opaquely.

Also original pen lines in the face have pretty much been covered by the paint. Detail lines you see at the eye are all paint with no ink visible. I decide on the fly whether I want the ink lines to show or not.

Something I find fun is the slick surface texture of this paper means you can push the paint around very quickly. It isn’t sized for watercolor so you have to watch your water use as you do when working on any non-watercolor paper. 

But on some papers you will often see that the printed lines of the paper repel the watercolor and show through. (This has to do with the type of ink they are using and results will vary from notebook to notebook.)

While most of the watercolor in this sketch was used straight from the tube, some colors like the light blue in the hair, the grayed lavendar near the eyes and lips, and the highlights incorporate various amounts of Schmincke Titanium Gouache. 

In the background if you look closely you will see there are layers of color I put down, and then rubbed off with a paper towel. This is seen very clearly in the shirt and jacket where this action hasn’t been covered by other paint.

There are lots of fun things you can try while painting.

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