Watercolor painting process for “The Story Circle.”

Once the backgrounds are in I continue my watercolor painting process for “The Story Circle.” It’s time to start zeroing in on single characters. Here is a brief video shot of one of the little boy characters as he develops through several spreads.

There are 7 children and the teacher as the featured characters in this book. That’s a lot of character consistency to keep track of during my watercolor painting process. This is one reason why I’m painting each character in an assembly line fashion. Nothing is more distressing than laying all your finished pages out and then noticing that the child with green striped socks is wearing purple heart socks in one spread. If I was painting digitally, this wouldn’t be a big deal. Hooray for Command-Z. Unfortunately, that doesn’t exist in the watercolor painting process. If I make such a gaff in traditional media, I have to repaint.

This is a big deal in the watercolor painting process because you have to start from scratch if it’s a big goof. Which means, more paper, more paint, matching color shades and more time. When working on a deadline, more time is usually in short supply. I plan to finish a full spread painting every three days when working on a picture book.

watercolor painting process for "A Story Circle."The finished image you see here was the trial image I supplied to the publisher when they were deciding which illustrator they would choose for this book. I’m using it to make sure the characters they liked from the sample are the same ones they receive in the final images. There were some editorial changes along the way. As you can see, the little boy in the overalls now has some cool green-framed glasses.

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