Our SVS Virtual Studio FEBRUARY πŸ™ƒ2021



  • @Tiffany-Thomas I love this piece. I think the combination of water color and digital is very successful here. Looking forward to see more with similar techniques.

    @Melissa-Bailey-0 I have been thinking doing my next book with traditional and digital combo. I will probably bug you and Tiffany for tips soon - All the watercolour scanning, and technical stuff, hehe...



  • @Melissa-Bailey-0 Yes! I think there is so much potential for exploration here. I've noticed my style changes a bit when I only draw digitally and there is just something fun and unexpected that happens when you use mediums that are a bit unpredictable (such as watercolor). My background is fine art so I'm used to letting the mediums do a bit of their own thing as part of my process. On the other hand I love the control I have with digital, I can re-size, recolor, layer and move things around if needed, but I'm a bit of an over renderer so I think trying to find balance between the two will be good for me. Are you drawing in Photoshop after you scan your watercolor images?



  • @xin-li Ooohhhh I'd love to see what you come up with, I think the combination would really lend to your style! Feel free to reach out anytime for tips, I'm still figuring it all out but I'll share anything I've learned πŸ™‚



  • @Tiffany-Thomas same here! And I forgot to say ... your piece is absolutely wonderful. Love, love, LOVE it! (Forgive me for not saying so before.)

    Watercolor will probably always be my favorite medium and colored pencils were my first love, so these will probably always have a spot in my illustration arsenal. However, since getting my first iPad at the end of 2018 and thinking that it could help streamline the initial sketching & composition phase, I've found myself using it more and more. Never thought this staunch traditional media girl would illustrate a book entirely digital, but it happened! Twice!

    Like you, I'm really loving the freedom of using the media I love while using technology to work faster and better. As far as my process goes, I usually start with a digital sketch so I can do all that moving and resizing that you mentioned, print it out on watercolor paper, use my traditional media, scan, and finish it in Procreate, also using Photoshop for its clone stamp, converting to CMYK, and better editing and resizing capabilities. Wow, that sounds really complicated! But believe it or not, it has actually streamlined things for me.

    Please share any tips you've found that have worked for you. Absolutely love your work and your style. Can't wait to see more of your stuff!



  • @xin-li thanks! Ask away ... perhaps you can share some of your tips with us, too! Love your work and can't wait to see how your next book turns out!



  • LOVE seeing what everyone is working on this month! This is SUCH a talented group, as we all like to keep saying.

    This month, I've been holed up working on a new book that is pretty much a rush job but such a rewarding project and an honor to illustrate. For it, I'm trying out something new: a mix of traditional and digital. The book is set at sunset, so I wanted to utilize watercolor for that (and for me, it's just easier to render sunsets in watercolor), but to work quickly and efficiently by starting and finishing the illustration digitally using Photoshop and Procreate.

    This is the test illustration to see if that would even work, and I'm liking this approach so much I'll probably start using it more.

    sunset bay.jpg

    (@Tiffany-Thomas & @xin-li -- this is my first experiment using that mix of traditional and digital we talked about.)



  • @Melissa-Bailey-0 Awww, thank you so much! I really appreciate the encouragement. I've been moving towards illustration for the past 7 years or so, starting with copic markers and micron pens and evolving into digital & watercolor. I have a degree in painting and drawing but was never taught all the principals of illustration, so I've been a bit unsure of my progress over the past few years. SVS has been an amazing discovery for me!!! This community and the classes are so awesome!

    I have an ipad as well and a similar process. Haha, I guess it is pretty complicated when you actually write it out step by step. I have not tried designing first digitally then printing the sketch on watercolor paper. I'll make that a project for this coming weekend! I recently got a Cintiq and I've been exploring Photoshop drawing but, in my opinion, nothing compares with drawing in Procreate on my ipad.



  • @Melissa-Bailey-0 I love the light! That glow and the texture of the watercolor really works with the mood of this image. So warm and wonderful! I love the contrast of the warm & cool colors and that little hint of magic swirling through the air!



  • @Tiffany-Thomas YES! SVS and the Three Point Perspective podcast is so helpful. Since I've been working as a freelancer, basically on my own for self-publishing clients and very small publishers, there's not a lot of opportunity to get feedback and much-needed critiques, so that's another reason why recently I've been focusing more on SVS classes and the forum.

    And yes ... try out designing digitally first, then printing out the sketch. It really streamlined the process even more for me, and it also adds a cool effect. What I do is alpha lock the drawing layer, colorize the lines, then quickly switch over to Photoshop to lighten the opacity (about 60-80%) and have greater control over printer settings. Printing out the sketch erases the transfer step of tracing out the drawing on a lightboard. Sometimes I refine the sketch with pencils, sometimes just jump into painting. The light ink lines blur just a teeny bit (my printer's ink is water resistant, not waterproof) and the colored lines show through and I love how those unexpected pops of color add a bit more personality to the piece.

    Printing out the sketch might not be for you and how you prefer to work, but definitely worth a try!



  • @Tiffany-Thomas thanks so much! So nice to get validation from a fellow creative that this was a good way to approach the illustrations. 😊❀️



  • @Melissa-Bailey-0 The Three Point Perspective podcast was how I discovered SVS! It's so good!!! I used to stream Netflix shows in the background while I made art and now I just listen to the podcast, lol.

    I'm going to definitely try out the printed sketch method, thanks for the tip, I'll let you know how it goes ;).



  • @Tiffany-Thomas yes, please do! ❀️



  • @Melissa-Bailey-0 sure. i would love to share my learning. I am going to check with my client to see if I can share some process video online. Will let you guys know πŸ™‚



  • @Melissa-Bailey-0 absolutely fun image. love it.



  • @Melissa-Bailey-0 This is wonderful! I love everything about this sunset project! Would you mind telling me what weight & press of watercolor paper you're printing on, and what printer you use?



  • @xin-li thanks so much! Will keep an eye out for your process video too.



  • @Valerie-Light thank you! ❀️

    For this project, I'm using Fabriano Artistico soft press, 140 lb. Usually, I use hot press so the texture of the paper doesn't show up heavily in a scan. This is my first time using Fabriano's soft press for a project but I have used it before for one-off pieces and loved it. It's one of my favorite watercolor papers!

    The printer/scanner combo I'm currently using is an Epson Workforce 7610, which is no longer being manufactured and is known to be a glitchy printer. However, I took a chance on it because it was all I could afford at the time -- it IS glitchy but when it works, does a nice job of printing and scanning. I'm currently researching other printer and scanner options -- will probably stick with Epson (but get a more reliable model) or go with Canon, as their products get good reviews from art professionals as well.



  • @Melissa-Bailey-0 Thanks for the the thorough response! One more question: are you buying the fabriano paper in a printer-friendly size, or cutting down from big sheets?



  • @Valerie-Light cutting it down from big sheets. It’s more affordable that way. Because of my lack of large storage in my studio, I order paper as needed from Blick, doing the math and ordering how many sheets I think I’ll need, plus one backup.



  • More clouds practice. I got this really cool book full of photo references for artists. Such a great resource for guilt free reproduction. CE72A38D-4867-41D2-BD5F-25AD25054653.jpeg
    Also newfound respect for those landscape artists who do a great job with sunsets. Clouds and lights are hard...grrr.


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