“getting there is half the fun; come share it with me” – Kermit
As I work my way back into an illustrating routine which, is guaranteed to be interrupted again in just 8 weeks, I have changed up my color comp stage. Instead of using the computer or watercolors, I am working with wet pastels. I do a color wash over my whole page then dip my pastel in water before I draw. This medium is very forgiving and lets me push color on top of color as I find the color balance I am looking for in my illustration.
Also, drawing like this is a ton of fun!
This is the horse I drew for a word-to-image match game for my son. In this instance the pastels are the final but, this is the image that made me realize I should be using this for every illustration. The pastels take me out of my desired highly controlled zone that is colored pencils. They give me room for error and quickly show me where I should push color that I wouldn’t otherwise test with pencils.
It’s easy to neglect process on an illustration especially when you are strapped for time, as most working moms are. However, it’s necessary to get to know the illustration you want to create, in whatever way is comfortable for you, to end up with the best finish possible. My path to final was make a sketch, think about color, then head to final. I kept feeling let down by my finishes, seeing them get overworked as I tried out directions and then had to double back to cover up the failures. Drawing a piece a few times, applying color a few times, means once at my final everything comes together and I don’t end with the question is this finished. It is clear to me when I’m done.
In digital illustration you see this done through the undo button and layers that can be removed. (Many people choose to work this way because in general it can accomplish a finished illustration faster.) If, you are still working traditionally you have to find other ways to apply the undo tool. Generally it comes down to, do it again. When you are working with watercolors especially, they are unforgiving when you have over worked them. It is almost always better to start over but, don’t fret on this taking more time. Every minute you are drawing, you are practicing, growing into to the best you you can be. Eventually you won’t notice how long something took because, you know it took as long as it needed to take.
Enjoy the process. We draw because we love it, if you aren’t having a good time, you’re doing it wrong.