Painting watercolor illustrations is time intensive. I’ve been substitute teaching for the local school system and it seems like the flu is smiting the teachers this month. Last week, I was called in for one teacher and during her free periods, I got asked to cover for 2 other teachers’ classes. After a day like that, I just don’t have enough energy to dive into a painting watercolor illustrations.
I’m working on one of the more imaginative passages this week. A roadrunner and an armadillo racing. I had a lot of fun going hog-wild on the coloring for these beasties. I could have gone realistic in their coloring, but the child is telling a story from his imagination, so I wanted to get some of that whimsy into the image.
As you can see, I start with light shadow area first, then add background details while moving in clumps around the paper. I find this keeps color consistent as well as avoiding the flatness that can happen when painting a premixed color in a focused area of the image. I find this gives the colors a bit of depth and spark of life.
I often work in an assembly line when I’m working on a big job like a children’s book such as this one. I find it works best to approach each character individually through the progression of the book. I didn’t do this with my first few books and I had what I would classify as severe character drift. At this point in my career, looking back at those books, I’m almost embarrassed by how much I didn’t know about illustrating sequential art. Much of what I learned the hard way back then is now easily found on the internet. I wish the now me, could travel back in time to the then me, and mentor myself. My books would have been light years better than they were.
I’m having a lot of fun painting this spread. Could you tell?