I finally get the value of value studies

I’m obsessed with artist Carol Marine‘s book, Daily Painting: Paint Small and Often to Become a More Creative, Productive, and Successful Artist (read my review here). One of the things she mentions in it is that getting values right is the biggest thing she has to help her students with. It’s one of the things I’m focusing on right now, and her lessons are helping me a lot. My drawings and paintings often end up without enough contrast — too much of the page hanging out in the middle value range. I also keep painting over highlights in my watercolor sketches,…

sketchbook - ink and watercolor wash sketch of a vase of flowers

Loose and sketchy watercolor flowers

After watching a recent Draw Tip Tuesday video on pen control, I was inspired to draw a vase of flowers by loosely holding the pen at the end away from the tip. I started the sketch by roughly doing a single-line contour drawing, lifting the pen only a few times to reset. I knew I was going to go over with a wash of watercolor, so I focused more on suggesting the foliage instead of carefully drawing every item. And instead of obsessing over making the roses look like literal roses, I made swirly ends to suggest the petals. I’m happily…

ink and watercolor flora from the Redwood forest 4

Watercolor and ink flora of the Redwood forest

Our summer vacation amongst the Redwoods gave me much-appreciated space and time to play with watercolors. I could have sat for hours and hours experimenting with color blending. Actually, I guess I did sit for hours and hours doing just that. It was interesting to get familiar with the feeling of different blending techniques, and by the time I was working on the final plant drawing in this set, I felt like it was clicking more. I like the bold, graphic quality of first drawing with a black ink pen (the Rapidograph in this case) and then filling in with watercolor….