Questions on planing a Toot & Puddle master copy
RobinCampbellArt last edited by
Hi fellow illustrators,
I’m wondering the best way to work in traditional watercolor for a master copy of one of my favorite illustrators, Holly Hobble.
I love the cover of her picture book, I’ll be Home for Christmas. The cover illustration is the one I want to recreate. I’m including a copy of the illustration and a line art drawing.
My questions are:
What are the likely steps Holly Hobbie took in creating this image?
Do I start with the background doing a brown wash of watercolor?
Do I exclude the tree area in the brown wash, or does it not matter?
After masking out items in the xmas tree, do I wet the tree area down to do wet on wet greens, let it dry, then add pine branch details?
What other steps do you think Holly Hobbie used in creating this image?
Norman Morana last edited by
Watercolor can be a tricky beast. You'll likely need to do several versions of this. I'm not sure of your level of comfort with watercolor, so I'm going to approach this as if you're new. Please pardon me if something is old hat.
There is really a lot with watercolor, I'm going to do my best at explaining just a few steps that I can see from looking at the book cover. You may want to use your pencil sketch as a transfer sketch, so that you can transfer this to multiple sheets of watercolor paper, if you haven't done that already.
Some things to think about with watercolor:
-Generally, work from light to dark.
-Watercolor pigments vary in there level of transparency. If you have worked digitally before, think of it as everything is set to multiply.
-The paper is important. Cold Press paper has more texture and Hot Press will be smoother. (Hard to say for sure, but based on the lack of tooth in the big areas of color, I'm guessing they used HotPress. Cold press is more common though. Try both if you can?) There is also sizing to consider. Sizing in watercolor is referring to how absorbent the paper is, it's a binding agent. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but the more sizing, the more pigments will sit on the surface, giving you brighter colors. Sizing varies brand to brand and you can wash some of it off when you stretch you paper.
-For masking, you'll want to leave some elements in the illustration masked longer than others. Seems obvious, but I had to remind myself of this when thinking through the process for more complicated watercolors pieces lol.
For the steps I think they took.
You'll want some masking fluid for this one, like you mentioned. It looks like the ornaments are masked, the pigs, and parts of the tree. If you look in the bottom left corner of the tree, on the lightest branches, it looks like it was masked, the background (BG) painted, mask removed, then green on top. You can see some areas around the lightest part of the tree, on the edge, where the green pigment went on the brown BG a bit. It is hard to tell for sure though, because on the left side of the tree you can see some areas where it looks like they painted wet into wet.
You'll have to experiment, but I think you're on the right track. Starting with the BG, moving to the tree where there seems to be some wet into wet with the BG, then once dry adding the darkest greens of the tree like you asked. Red streamers last to be unmasked. Most of the white parts no the tree look like they were added last with an opaque white.
Writing through this and thinking more, for the tree, they may have had the branches masked, then while doing the BG, did some wet into wet with the green and the BG. Once dry, removed the tree mask, then paint those branches green, using washes of green. Did that make sense?
Long winded, but I hope I was able to make sense and this was helpful.
Hi. I have this book so I took it down and looked at it with a bright light. Definitely mask off the lights, sparkles and I think also the colored ornaments, including all the red decorations. Also, unless you are really good at painting washes around a white area, I would mask off Toot and Puddle, too.
The background is definitely layered washes. Its possible that the first wash is a light brown and light sage-y green. Then I think she built up from there, painting around the tree details with the layers of brown, and maybe even green at the same time in area's. There are a couple of small bleeds. With everything masked off you can get into the detail of the tree with out worrying that you might lose a sparkle here and there.
She uses a light ink here and there after all is said and done.
Good luck and FUN! I can't wait to see it finished. I LOVE Holly Hobbie. =)x