Exploring Watercolours with Animal Designs

So I have been gradually getting on with a lot of my designs throughout my sketchbook, trying to take each medium and see what else I can do with it besides just the way I would naturally use it. Watercolours for me I always try and go realistic, but I took some time to step back and try a splashy style, combine it with fineliner, add more colour. Just thinking of ways that I could try the medium without it being a total mess and waste of time. I think I did such a lot of experimenting with the leaves and things so far that I know which mediums I work well with and which ones would just be a waste of time for something as in-depth as a animal portrait.

So I started out with a more realistic approach to it here, I like the hedgehog I think I got quite a nice look with it. The squirrel position is quite nice but I think the look of it could have been more realistic with a small brush and more lightness left into the piece. I tried a sharpie to outline the next couple of studies, which I think worked well to give it a more graphic look, I think this would have worked better with a darker shade of the colour rather than black, but coloured sharpies are not as bold as I would like them and show through to the background behind them. The sharpies do help to define the ears and nose and things which I think does make it look better, maybe to take this further I could see if the technique works on all four of the animals equally well, because this is important as doing three successfully then finding the technique does not work on the last one would not be good.

I tried some splashy watercolour designs next, starting with the natural colour on the hedgehog, then going into the brightly coloured squirrel tail. I took this further then and decided to try each animal, then do all look quite attractive in this style, but it is also a style I have seen before, maybe I could consider it if I add more coloured pencil detail into it to get some details in the face and a looser and splashier background.

Here I showed where I took some of the techniques further, the watercolour and fineliner designs I think were quite effective and the mixture of techniques over the collaged old paper was interesting. I particularly like the dormouse in this one, it turned out quite nice and realistic which I was surprised about, but just going back into it and adding more shading once it dried each time helped to build up the colour well. I tried the hare in a wild pink but I do not think this worked well, I think the pink is too distracting and I like the idea of using the natural colours into it.

Overall the watercolour designs have been really fun, I have enjoyed doing them a lot but whether this is something I could take forward to the designs, may be dependant on how the rest of my designs turn out as I go along.

Plant Life Sketchbook

I found I was actually coming to the end of my first sketchbook, I chose to focus on leaves and foliage in the one sketchbook, and use a different one for the animals, and the plan was to kind of combine them and work on motifs that incorporate both in whichever sketchbook has more room left in it. But right now I think I will start another A3 book to continue with the plants and foliage, because I have yet to start with the berries, nuts, acorns or structures development in my book.

I continued to explore some styles that I was enjoying using, and working on combining them and refining them, and considering how they would translate over to a more digital format as I plan to take my mark-making over to Procreate as well.

These pages show the continued experimentation with techniques that I think could work well for motifs, although I think I would have liked to try a thin dark green outline on the lighter green leaves for example to avoid the heavy use of black, but I found a sharpie was not achieving this look in the colours and the use of paint just would not achieve that thin perfect line that I wanted, but again this can be done on Procreate.

I took some of my favourite shapes of the leaves to use and to try and name a few of them. From here I knew I wanted to go ahead and play with the solid shape of it more that I touched on previously.

I tried out some techniques here that represent the idea of shape a lot, such as the cut out and the patternwork shapes, I also tried an embroidery technique and a woven technique which I think helped to amplify the shapes and form of them more as the stitches defined the edges and the woven technique made from squares is quite obvious. I also tried the wax resist by drawing with a candle which was quite good to give a strong line drawing. I also went back to some of my favourite techniques such as the leaf skeletons, the splatter resist of the shapes and the bleach outlines too. I want to think of some ways to translate this better to Procreate and digital and see what I can do with it then.

I worked agin with lino here but made sure they were cut out shapes that would make clear motifs, I then made such the veins were the right kind of shape on there, and went ahead and tried out some patterns with these, over watercolour and bleach backgrounds or just plain white to focus more on the motifs.