WATERCOLOUR CHEAT CODES
I made really quick tutorials full of swatches to send my mom who wants to take up watercolour painting for a hobby. I’ll share them here as I find time to type what I wrote her.
The first two pictures illustrate discoveries in mixing skin-tones. I try to find paints that make it faster/easier to mix skin colours - even if you’re adept at making these tones out of other colours, the right combo of purple and yellow can cut out a lot of time and money. The one I have most success with is “violet gray”, then “permanent magenta” for darker and wider ranges, and “purple lake” when I was cheap and it was on sale.
Mix these (sparingly) with raw sienna. The darker the purple the less you’ll need to add to your yellow (yellow ochre works as well). Ultimately, watercolour is tricky to mix so if you’re not confident right away make sure to paint swatches before putting a loaded brush to paper, otherwise be ready to mix with water on the paper.
For a lighter, paler, redder skin tone, raw sienna + brown madder is what I prefer, although as you can see in the first image (about half-way down the page on the left), “cadmium yellow pale hue” and “cadmium red deep hue” work just as well, and might be cheaper on you. With that combo, however, it’s easier to get stuck mixing a ton of orange.
Back to permanent magenta, it’s great with browns to get darker tones, not just for darker skin but for shading. I keep three browns on my “skin” palette (last pic), “burnt umber”, “burnt sienna”, and “vandyke brown”. Mix it with some skin-tone, even just a little, to keep it from looking straight-out-of-the-tube.
So mix your skin tones, make a few test swatches to figure out how much water you need (every brush behaves differently), and lay down some washes.
In the middle of the first piece of paper is a gradation in a skin tone (violet gray + raw sienna) from really warm (“brown madder”) to really cool (“turquoise”). This was done wet in wet, to show what kinds of tones you get from adding warm and cool colours.
To the left on the bottom are a couple light washes of colours painted over a skin tone (same ol’ raw sienna + violet gray) to show how different colours look on this mix when applied dry on dry. Blue (I used turquoise again) is great for some shadows, implied stubble, and veins close to the skin, reds and most browns for warmer shading, yellow for jaundice or boogers… you get it.
On the bottom right is an example of really warm vs. really cool shading on the same skin tone mix (just guess). The initial skin tone wash is a bit warm for the cool side, but the contrast makes the shadows really evident. Different colours in shading will have different effects that way. The only surprise here is the use of dark blue “indigo” which is great for coming close to black when mixed with other colours.
On the second page are two more noses, different skin tones, and just three extra passes with skin tone washes - although difficult to tell because I was lazy and didn’t wait long enough for them to dry after the 2nd pass. The extra passes aren’t particularly warm or cold leaning, but simply draw off of the initial tone I placed.
IMPORTANT: These little quick studies serve to be as economical as possible, using few colours but still not looking just like an awkward mix of red and yellow or brown and yellow. For a more detailed or accurate representation of skin tones, a ton more colours might be added - for instance the darker skin tone on the right would have more pinks, and of course different parts of the body appear to be tinted differently. Also never forget no matter what colour or how dark skin is, skin is shiny. Be mindful of even diffused light. At the same time - perfect representation of skin is hardly necessary. More expressive colour treatment rules.
But ultimately - colour in skin - who cares! Just play around with colours you like, build a base that’s easy for you to mix quickly for wet on wet or however you prefer to work. Play with colours on different planes or surfaces of the body, with light, and take everything I say as a tips - not rules - ‘cause watercolour is really unpredictable and that is often the best part.
Another note: I use pencil tins for palettes, it keeps things portable, easy to mix, minimal paint waste, and I can rearrange paints easily to make mixing easier. I usually have three but you could get away with one or two. If you try it out, keep the paints and empty space clean with jut a bit of water and the wipe of a cloth/kleenex.
The third picture shows a really quick, easy, natural black mix I make. It’s simply “Hooker’s Green, Dark” and “Dioxazine Violet” at almost equal quantities. You can mix it with a blue or red or yellow for a warmer or cooler black, depending on which you need. I included some gradation and overlapping swatches. Just keep in mind black can be very powerful in watercolour, or any opaque application of the paint, so use it sparingly and with a plan in mind.
Despite my shitty watercolour sketches up here, I spent a huge amount of being a child working at a cooperative gallery with some contemporary and purist watercolour painters alike so I picked up a lot. If anyone wants me to be more specific about something, or maybe produce a more specific guide or sketch for a problem you have, let me know and I can try to help out.
These were things my mum asked for and that I produced with her knowledge of the medium in mind, so if it really did interest you but you’re stuck on something, or found something I said vague and confusing, let me know.
Anonymous asked: How does one write for a webcomic or a comic in general?
This is a loaded question. Comics combine visual art and the written word to create something unique, and it’s very difficult to give tips on how to make art of this kind without being a comics creator myself.
With those facts firmly in mind, here are my general bits of advice about learning to create comics.
- Read comics. Read graphic novels and Sunday paper strips and webcomics. Just as reading other writers’ work can improve a writer’s style and understanding of the art, so too can reading other comics improve a comics creator’s style and understanding.
- Read The Comic Books series by Scott McCloud. The books are Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, Reinventing Comics: How Imagination and Technology Are Revolutionizing an Art Form, andMaking Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels.
Understanding Comics really helped me take a closer look at the way I read comics, their function and method and form. It is an interesting, fun, easy-to-read book that is crammed with great tips for comics creators.
- Study fine art, good writing, and pop culture. Study fine art to get a grounding in the style and composition. Study good writing to find examples of story structure and the importance word choice. Study pop culture to understand what and how people consume the art around them. From music to advertisement to movies, videos, and memes on the internet, tapping in to pop culture will help you find topics to write about and a niche to nestle into.
My strategy has always been to find the story that needs to be told to your generation and hold yourself responsible to tell it. After all, only you know what that story is and what it can be. Go and share it with the world.
So, how do you learn to create comics and webcomics? To quote my favorite line in the Bleeding Cool series (see below), “You teach yourself. You find a way to put in however much time and effort is necessary to gain whatever you need to gain.” (x)
Here are a few great resources on creating comics:
- Don’t Write Comics Series:
- How to Write Comics & Other Stuff by Robert Weinberg
- How To Write A Comic Book Script and Other More Important Things by Chris Oatley
- Writing Comic Books by Barry Lyga
- Comic Book Writing How by Terrance Griep, Jr.
- Bleeding Cool Series:
- How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #1 – First Class Discipline
- How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #2 – Recommended Reading
- How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #3 – Homogenized For Safety
- How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #4 – Why Don’t You Grow A Spine?
- How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #5 – Network King
- How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #6 – Whoever Knows Fear…
- How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #7 – A Beached Hero
- How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #8 – Bester Both Worlds
- How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #9 – Continuity Day
- How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #10 – End Times
- How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #11 – A Reading List
- How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #12 – Creating A Narrative
- How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #13 – The Rule Of Three
- How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #14 – Serial Killers
- How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #15 And #16 – Double Sized Edition
- How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #17 – Making Pictures
- How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #18 – Aren’t They All?
- How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #19 – The End Is Now
- How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #20
- How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #21
- How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #23 – Take Notes
- How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #24 – More Notes From A Lecture Theatre
- Ten Things To Know About the Future of Webcomics by El Santo
- So You Want To Start A Webcomic… by Kitsune64
Thank you for your question! If you have any other writing-related questions or any comments about this post, hit us up!
Hello! Thank you for your question! There is one post on the blog about lineart, specifically about how to create lineart in Illustrator as a vector instead of in the traditional method. It can be found here
That said, if you are having trouble with clean, smooth lines, popular choices are programs like Open Canvas and SAI, which have pen stabalizers you can adjust to your liking. Photoshop inking tools also lend a certain degree of control where a free line may not.
List of tutorials that helped me with environmental painting:
“How to make your own Perspective Grid in PS” <—- this one is the best thing I’ve ever discovered. Srsly CHECK IT OOOOUUUUT!
Snuffen’s Background Tutorial P1More or less ALL tutorials by Griffsnuff is awesome, so make sure to check out the rest of them!
More or less ALL tutorials made by AquaSixio!
List of youtube channels that also helped and inspired me:
FZDSCHOOL - More or less one of the most known concept art-related resources I know on youtube. It’s great to sit and draw and just listen to the talking.
SinixDesign- This guy is also great! He has some design workshops ever now and then where the viewers can send in their stuff for critique! very encouraging and inspiring!
moatddtutorials- This guy is more into drawing than painting, and has a more cartoony style. He has interesting methods when it comes to perspective. And he also challenge himself in some of his videos (the engine block video is a great example of this)
foxOrian- Also known here on dA for his awesome perspective and composition tutorials. He has a youtube channel where he posts some videos that might be interesting as well.
because it is the bane of my existence to see artists who don’t even TRY to get bird anatomy right, when they’ll gladly put forth the effort to learn mammalian anatomy
BIRDS ARE SO EASY TO DRAW
THERE ARE NOT MANY MOVING PARTS ON THEIR FACE
NOT LIKE US SQUISHY MAMMALS
still debating if I should make my own HOW TO DRAW WINGZ ref or just link to some good ones I’ve seen, since there are a plethora of both good and god-awful tutorials out there for wings already. I’ll probs make my own because other guides neglect to mention that GASP DIFFERENT BIRDS HAVE DIFFERENT SHAPED WINGS BECAUSE THEY FLY DIFFERENTLY
THIS IS AWESOME BUT JUST ONE NOTE
Almost all birds are capable of moving their upper beak, aka prokinesis, it’s just that parrots have the most obvious degree of it. prokinesis is the movement of the beak at the point at which it is hinged to the skull of the bird.
There’s like a million different types of kinesis to do with the beak/rhamphotheca/whatever but yeah, parrots aren’t the only ones :D
I can’t find any good pictures to demonstrate but yeah, it’s present in almost all birds. Loons and ducks are good birds to look at c: