Saturday, July 4, 2009

Elf with Flute

Since Mr Zzyzx encourages us to post doodles, here is one of my favorites.

The beauty of doodles is that they are not drawn with the idea that anyone else will see them, so they have an unexpected freshness that even surprises the artist.

Such is the case here. This particular doodle was first drawn with a ball point pen, so all of the sketch lines show through the watercolor. Turning it into a watercolor illustration was an afterthought.

In the early-mid eighties when I drew the Elf, I had purchased my first set of Dr Martin's concentrated watercolors and looked for every opportunity to use them and found existing sketches to paint for practice. One convenient aspect of painting over ball point sketches is that ball point ink is greasy and repels water making it possible to see the lines through the paint. Of course, that is also the problem with using ball point: nothing is hidden. Painting with watercolor over pencil covers the lines better but the graphite softens the color of the watercolors because the graphite is somewhat soluble. That too can have positive effects depending on whether the composition favors a milder or bolder result. In my experience, the ball point does not interact with the watercolor and so maintains the intensity of the color.

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