I’ve been meaning to get some new watercolour brushes, as the ones I’ve been using (although having served well for years) are fraying and/or have rogue hairs going in one direction. Debating on whether or not to invest in squirrel-hair brushes, I decided it wouldn’t really serve me any purpose as I like painting in a particular way; and perhaps even more impractical for those who use hot-press paper. There are definitely a wide range of brushes out there and admittedly quite overwhelming, but after watching some reviews by other artists on Youtube I settled for trying out the Princeton Neptune range. I went for the Round Synthetic Squirrel in 0, 6, & 12 (as they are the sizes I use the most) of the 4750 Series. I’ll provide links below of where I got mine, even though this is not sponsored, and I’ll be sure to provide updates on how they fare with more use. I’m loving them so far, as the handles in particular feel more comfortable than my standard ones from the art stores here like Deserres or Curry’s. If any of you have used brushes from this brand please share your experiences in the comments, or even what your favourite brushes are; I’m sure we could all glean something useful from it. In the meantime I’ll be continuing using these new brushes as I’ve done for this latest piece, and will be retiring my older brushes for inks and acrylic washes.
As usual I started out with my drawing on tracing paper, eventually transferring the finished product with a graphite backing and tracing all the lines and details. I was sharing this thought on Instagram as well but, does anyone else hate ‘transfer’ days as much as I do?! Recently I’ve been laying some scrap paper as masking (as you see on the right side), just so I have less graphite residue to erase off of my watercolour paper when I’m done transferring.
There’s no better feeling than finally getting to put pigment to paper.
You always feel ambitious with the thought of filling a piece with knotwork, until the realization sets in of having to trace said knotwork for a second time accurately. I cheated a bit with this piece as you’ll notice with my preliminary drawing as I drew in only one side; the other side was cheekily transferred by doing a mirror/flip transfer of the paper. I also decided to incorporate some cute little Robins as well; going on themes of death and souls for this painting. You might be wondering what on earth I’m talking about, and rightfully so. I often tend to come by weird articles and stories (go figure), and a few that have interested me are of Robins visiting people in grieve and mourning. One in particular was that of a woman grieving the death of her child at his grave and a robin flying and landing on her. I hadn’t known of the bird’s connection in folklore and symbolism surrounding death. Truly fascinating.
I guess this really is my first finished painting/artwork of 2021; not counting the Kickstarter group projects. I wanted to start the year off with a smaller piece, before I get underway with a painting I’ve had my mind on for a while. Hopefully, the next piece will have more improvements on anatomy and hair. Speaking of, hair…the struggle. I’ve been looking through as many watercolour tutorials as possible for painting hair in this medium. I’ve grown to dislike the way I’ve painted hair these last few months; mainly the way the strands fall, making it a bit more cartoony/’anime-y’ (for lack of a better word). I don’t know though, the verdict’s still out on this one. It may turn out that I don’t like too much realism after all.
a closer look.
I’ve been getting better at reminding myself to take more progress shots. Honestly, it’s probably one of the reasons I haven’t attempted any more Youtube videos. I mean kudos to all the art Youtubers out there, but having to constantly pull out my camera is a chore in itself; not to mention having to be pulled out of the moment to record every stage. X__X
As usual I started with a drawing on tracing paper, although you’ll notice I didn’t add the flowers. Sometimes with more simpler design details, I’ll go in directly to the watercolour paper. The drawing isn’t really meant to be ‘finished’, just the line-work (the simpler the better) so I can graphite-transfer it onto the paper. I’ve learnt the hard way that detailed line-work combined with the tooth of even hotpress paper, tends to warp the transferred drawing you get. So the solution for myself anyways, is to keep the initial process simple and add details in before painting. I’ve also stopped printing my line-art/drawing, as I used to for transferring drawings. Personally, I haven’t been finding the need to waste more paper; just using sharp pencil over the tracing paper drawing works fine. I’ll usually scan the drawing before I get started on tracing with graphite, so as to preserve all the lines I originally had for reference.
washes and paint | work in progress.
Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post. I’ll have the original painting up on the Shop section sometime at the end of the week, and prints should be up by the time this blog post goes live. Take care everyone!