Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Graduate Level Coloring

I know that many SoulPerSuit participants, or would-be participants, do not think of themselves as artists. The creative aspect of SoulPerSuit strikes fear in many a heart.

So I thought perhaps I'd give you a little inside information... sometimes you can just let the medium (that's art talk for the "stuff" you use to make your creation- crayon, colored pencil, paint, glue, photographs, etc.) do the work FOR you.

Here's a great example, a SoulPerSuit card I made for our recent study on the book of Esther.

I began with a black and white drawing.
This is a drawing of a tomato. Think of a kid's coloring book.

Set of 12
Then I got out our small set of watercolor pencils. I truly think these are God's gift to the creative world. These little puppies are the key to what I'm about to show you. They are not terribly expensive, and you can do so many different things with them. Things that look really sharp and make you look like you've got a Master's Degree in Studio Art. ;) Look for these pencils in arts and crafts stores, or on-line art suppliers like Dick Blick.
Love 'em. Love 'em!

Again, think of a kid's coloring book.
I used a red watercolor pencil for the tomato, and a green watercolor pencil for the stem and leaves. Super easy. Just like being back in 2nd grade.

Here's a fuller shot of the tomato plant. I got a little fancy and colored a tiny tomato like it was still ripening. But basically, I used red and green pencils all the way through.

This pic shows the blue curlicue I added in the air behind the tomato plant, trying to make some sky. What I want to point out is the texture in that curlicue... part of it looks like it's been done in pencil, part looks like it's a watercolor.

This is the trick-
Binney & Smith Crayola® Better Quality Watercolor Brush Series 1121, 6, Hair Length 11/16"
my daughter's paintbrush. After using the watercolor pencils to fill in this black and white picture like a coloring book (and the pencils allow for a lot more control over where the color goes than a paintbrush does), I dipped the brush in clear water and simply dabbed it on the colored areas then let the watercolor pencil melt and moosh into itself. This is what they are made to do.
Such a cool effect!

Here's a wider view of the curlicue.

And a view of the entire SoulPerSuit card, thus far.

After the watercolors dried, I went back with a fine line Sharpie marker and wrote some Bible verses that came to mind. You can write on watercolor pencils, paint over them, or scribble over the top with crayons They're very versatile.

The finished product.

All I really did was color between the lines and then dab over it with water. I let the medium do the work for me and it turned out quite nice, I think.

You've just earned your Master's Degree in Coloring.

*If you have questions about a particular artistic technique or medium, or would like to understand how a technique actually works, please leave a comment here and the research-and-development branch of SoulPerSuit will gladly attempt to hunt down the information. If we haven't tried it ourselves already, you can bet we'd really LIKE to.


rhon said...

What did you use to do your black and white drawing?

I love my watercolor crayons! (Yes, even more elemental - crayons. See my post .)

But I have trouble with the black lines bleeding when I go to use water on the color. Sharpie's bleed, india ink... Any suggestions?

Erin said...

hmmm... that's odd. I didn't have that trouble.

I covered the background with white gesso. Sketched in pencil first, then traced over it with black Sharpie.

I tried to avoid the black lines that didn't need my watercoloring attention. Other than that, the hardness or softness between our water quality is the only other factor I can come up with.

Betsy Lin said...

Came across your blog tonight. I enjoy it. Fun stuff!
Hope to keep up with it.

Erin said...

Thanks for visiting, Betsy Lin.
I saw you over on Seedlings In Stone (I think it was).

You wouldn't happen to know why Rhonda's black marker runs when she watercolors over it, would you?

Christianne said...

Dude, this post seriously rocks. I love what you made! So, so beautiful. You are so artistic, my friend, and I admire you for it. And I love you for sharing the 1-2-3 steps with all of us unartistic scaredy-cat types.

Oh, and just to relay how "in my head" I am with financial concepts these days, your line about letting the medium do the work for us made me think of what I've been learning all month so far: how to get money to work for us rather than us working so hard for the money. But that's a whole other train of conversation . . .