I want to paint de­tailed feath­ers us­ing wa­ter­colour dig­i­tal brushes. Can you help?

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Imaginenation Artist Q&a -

March 2015

Ed­die Carter, Eng­land

Dave replies

Much of the charm of wa­ter­colour as a medium springs from its phys­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics, and as a re­sult the cre­ation of con­vinc­ing dig­i­tal wa­ter­colour tools re­mains elu­sive. Re­cently I’ve been achiev­ing good re­sults us­ing a dig­i­tal work­flow based on the Wil­liam Stout recre­ation of Arthur Rack­ham’s ink and wa­ter­colour tech­nique. I sketch my line work in graphite, and ink it with Faber-Castell sepia artists’ pens.

The­o­ret­i­cally, you could do the line work dig­i­tally with a tablet, but I find I get more character by ac­tu­ally ink­ing the lines on pa­per. I scan that inked art, and colour it in Pho­to­shop or Pro­cre­ate.

When­ever pos­si­ble, I try to work non­de­struc­tively, which means lots of layer ef­fects, layer masks and some­times a Smart Ob­ject or two. This will en­able you to eas­ily try many vari­a­tions on your colour­ing ideas – a big ad­van­tage to work­ing dig­i­tally! Line work and colour are kept on sep­a­rate lay­ers, with mask lay­ers for eas­ily block­ing in im­por­tant ar­eas. This prac­tice will give you a lot of flex­i­bil­ity when ex­per­i­ment­ing with wa­ter­colour brushes and tex­tures.

This creature is my in­ter­pre­ta­tion of a vild­vit­tra, a small but scary Swedish vari­ant on the harpy of legend. Block­ing out the big form of the wings is an im­por­tant first step. De­tails come later. For now it’s cru­cial to get the proportions right. To paint con­vinc­ing wings, first look for good ref­er­ence, such as the con­struc­tion of in­sect wings

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