Monday, October 15, 2012

Qilin process (2)

Right, so last time I showd you the steps I take to prepare a watercolor painting. Here's the actual watercolor process.

These are my beloved liquid watercolors. I have a couple of tones more (yellow, red and ocre), but for this illustration, these are all I'll use.

The first step is painting a light base layer which will give a tone to the whole piece. In this case, I picked a light blue and light green where the light sources will be.

I let it dry completely, and then I apply masking fluid. That's the darker blue-ish stuff you see on this photo. This is so I can paint the background without much trouble, so I mask off the edges where I don't want the paint to go in if I paint fast and sloppily.
Masking fluid is amazing, even though if I'm not careful to rinse the brush often with soapy water, it will destroy the brush because it sticks to it and is impossible to get off afterwards. So never use a good brush for applying masking fluid!

Here I start painting the background. I paint wet-in-wet at this stage, so I moisten everything I want to paint with water first and then apply the color.
I started with the firefly lights and went from light to dark. I'm leaving the ground out yet, because the color dries to fast to do it all at once.

Now the ground. Still, wet-in-wet technique, though I'm careful to not let any water touch the areas I had already painted. That would cause blotches.

I decided the background needed to be darker, so everything got a second layer. No wet-in-wet technique anymore.

After I'm satisfied with the background, it's time to rub off the masking fluid. I love doing that!
But before, I made the firefly-lights a bit greener.

Now, base layer for the foreground and the plants at the Qilin's feet.

And now for the Qilin itself.

First shading layer on the foreground. Here's when I start to flesh out the volume.

Annd first shading layer for the creature.

The second shading layer already adds SO much more depth.

More shading on the Qilin. This is starting to get somewhere.

Even more shading on the Qilin. Now it stars to look good.

Foreground also needs more shading. This is much better. Actually, I'm almost done!

Time to pull out my gouache colors to add some highlights. I mixed a yellowish light green which I used for everything except the eye (which needs pure white).
This is one of my favourite steps, it's like "bam!" and then it looks so much better. Especially adding a little highlight to the creature's eye gives so much life to it immediately.

Annnd it's done! =D
It turned out a lot more blue than planned, but who cares after 20 hours? XD

As a little extra, here's what the final finished painting looks like with the frame I had custom-made for it (please forgive the camera's flash) - I think it turned out lovely!

Process part 1
Finished piece


  1. This is amazing! Thanks for shar it with us :)
    I know, I usually don't post a comment in the blog, but I read almost every new post. Be sure!

    Greetings from Spain (and sorry for my english... I'm trying to improve it!) :)


    1. Gracias! Y puedes escribir en castellano, si quieres. ;)
      Me alegro de que te guste y de que leas mi blog. ^^