Watercolor Girl in Dress

watercolored ink drawing of girl in medieval/ renaissance dress.

Yes, “Watercolor Girl in Dress” is a pretty lame title. But, it describes what I’m talking about.
I just finished this ink/watercolor project. This image was born from a combination of my love for the work of Arthur Rackham, which makes me want to do watercolored pen/ink, and the fact that my sister owns a cool medieval/renaissancey dress.
I started by shooting reference photos of my sister in the dress. We just tried different poses and I decided which to use later.

I would include the photos here, but I haven’t asked her permission to show them—they look a lot like the drawing, only more photographic.

Work in progress shot of drawing girl in medieval/renaissance dress

Using the photos for reference, and having found a hairdo on pinterest that I liked, I made a pencil drawing on watercolor paper (Arches).

Work in progress shot of drawing girl in medieval/renaissance dress

I inked the drawing with a Pentel brush pen (I like the thin black pocket version best). I used to use a nib pen for stuff like this, but you can get really great lines and variety with these pens without having to dip or clean.

Work in progress shot of watercolor girl in medieval/renaissance dress

For the next stage I use watercolor techniques, but with acrylic gouache. The result is very watercoloresque but once it’s dry, the acrylic polymer sets and it won’t run if you rewet it. As you can see, I forgot to stretch my paper before I started painting. It buckled quite a bit and I had to soak and dry to flatten it when I was done painting.

Work in progress shot of watercolor girl in medieval/renaissance dress almost finished.

finished ink and watercolor drawing painting of girl in medieval/renaissance dress.

Once finished painting I photographed it because my scanner is tiny, and overlaid a some handmade textures using photoshop.

I suppose I could just paint my textures right on the paper, but I like to be able to play around with the layers until I find how they work best. I also like to preserve the original the way it is.

Hope you enjoy. I’ll be selling prints on Etsy.

Dimensional Illustration Finished Series

Dimensional illustration portrait of adventurer prior to shipping out on a seal hunting schooner.Dimensional illustration of dock scene with explorer prior to shipping out on seal hunting schooner. From art exhibit "Five Months on the Ice" by James Gardner at Gallery 303, Harris Fine Arts Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally decided to post the finished series, as I promised. If you haven’t been following along, I have various posts documenting the production of these illustrations. The series tells the story of an adventurer who signs aboard a seal hunting schooner.

Dimensional illustration of schooner sailing near drift ice. Framed between icebergs.

Dimensional illustration bow of ship amongst drift ice. From story Five Months on the Ice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The_vessel is out too late in the season and strikes ice. When the schooner begins taking on water, the crew abandons ship–all except our hero who was rendered unconscious by a blow to the head. He awakes to discover that the ice has closed around the vessel and locked it in place. After gathering supplies, he strikes out, knowing that the schooner could be lost at any time. Unfortunately, I had to pick and choose my scenes. I wasn’t able to illustrate many of the adventures he experiences on the ice. 

Dimensional illustration from Five Months on the Ice. Arctic survivor trudges toward a ship wreck locked in the ice.Dimensional illustration featuring wreck survivor struggling ashore after five months on the arctic ice.

 

 

 

However, I did one of my favorite scenes—when he finds the Ship with the angel figurehead just as he is about to give in to exhaustion and cold. After resting, resupplying and weathering a storm in the Angel ship, he strikes out again. Eventually (five months after the original shipwreck) he sights land and struggles ashore.

Dragon and Falconer Illustration

Illustration of a hunter, come face to face with a dragon in the forest. He has a hawk too.

Here is another illustration executed in a traditional/digital combo method. I paint the basics a little roughly, and then scan and finish with digital paint. I like for any of my digital images to have a more physical feel and I have a hard time getting that without at least a foundation of real paint.

As you can see, this fellow and his hawk have just come across a dragon in the forest. People keep telling me it is a dinosaur and I can’t figure out if that is because I painted something that looks like a dinosaur, or if popular culture has taught people that it is reasonable for a man with a sword to meet a dragon, but men with rifles are only likely to meet dinosaurs.

This started as oil on panel and then went to pixels on imac.

Hidden Face

Oil on panel, woman in veiled headdress from fantasy culture.

This is a painting I did fairly recently. It is Oil on panel.  It isn’t supposed to reflect any real-world culture or religion. Once again, I’ve painted something that is actually directed at the fantasy crowd. I started with a sketch, transferred that to toned paper and worked in some highlights. I scanned the toned version and printed it and then mounted the print on my panel using acrylic matte medium. I painted in three stages.

Stage 1 involved painting until I was really tired of painting on it.

Stage 2 was taking a break and not working on it.

Stage 3 was looking at some of the artists I admire and thinking about how i could improve what I had done based on what I learned from them.

Stage 4 was doing the things I learned in Stage 3.

Yep, I told you there were three stages, but it was really four.

Sketch for painting oil portrait on panel

Toned drawing for oil portrait on panel