Whether it’s a drawing or painting in any medium, we need to come up with a value plan that reduces the subject into a simplified value range of darks, mid-tones and lights. We can squint our eyes and see these values in less detailed shapes. Try linking shapes, reducing clutter and seeing the image like a puzzle. Once the largest puzzle pieces are determined they are a great “road-map” to painting or shading in the largest basic shapes first. This simplifies the project and helps serve as a stage for all the smaller details that will come later.
When it comes to the tools we work with, we either have our tried and true “friends” or wonder where to begin. Most of the work I have admired over the years has had quick painterly strokes from the shorter brushes that have “spring” to them which includes 1 inch and 2 inch flats. They serve as great brushes for overall washes and clean sweeping strokes. More recently I have begun falling in love with quills – full bodied brushes that are excellent for large and small wash techniques that also can come down to a controlled fine point. The name “quill” comes from the original manufacturing of a large feather quill ferrule, however nowadays it can be either natural or plastic. Look for quality brands and you will not regret this purchase!
How-To: Watercolor – “Cormorant Island Docks”
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