Monday, November 19, 2012

The watercolor to digital Method

So while working on , I found that I was being too much of a perfectionist with the value stage of the page. I do a black and white value painting and then paint over that with color adjustments. The problem was that It was taking so long to get through this stage. I decided to give up some control and do this stage in watercolor. I went from having total control to having very little with watercolors. I have been using watercolors for years. Its always been my preferred medium when painting traditionally so I do have a pretty high level of control for a medium that is notoriously hard to control.

The first step in this process was sketching out the page. I don't have the original scan of this but just imagine a really rough bad drawing that is little more than chicken scratch on the page. I take this into Manga Studio and do a really quick inking on the page. Manga Studio is great because I can drop in perspective rulers and get things laid out fairly quick.

I take that inked page to photoshop, drop the value (in HUE/SATURATION>Lightness to maintain the line), Then print it on Bristol. At this point I block in the drawing with a 2h pencil and then start to lay in my values with watercolor. I am constantly trying to refine the drawing and tighten up parts that I want to stand out. 

Once that is done I scan the final watercolor/ink drawing into photoshop at 400dpi. I clean up the paper texture with a few filters to just get the watercolor and the ink in the scan. I then throw in some quick light and shadow to try and bump up the value. The part I enjoy the most in painting is painting people. I spend the bulk of my time on this and it tends to be the focus of my work. I paint out some detail on the figure and try and make it pop. From there I color the piece. My color process is a whole tutorial onto itself. Its totally different than anyone else but it works for me. I will post a color tutorial in the future as well as the Pre-Viz tutorial I promised awhile back.

So there you have a rough look at how a page comes together. The full page can be found at

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