• I want to challenge myself to paint my first traditonal watercolor illustration, based on one of my inktober piece. Here is my plan
    Week 1: I will go through my inktober drawings, and using the art questions by Lee as a guide to decide one image to work with. Maybe I will also get familarise with the watercolor paint I have, doing some color mixing excises. I will also re-watch @Lee-White's watercolor tutorial videos on SVS.

    Week 2: I will play with the composition, see if I can come up with a better compositon than the image I have already done in inktober. Then I will do color study digitally. Then move on to mixing color with paint to match my digital color study.

    In week3-4, I probably will paint the same images multiple times. I just assume I will skrew up many times since this will be the first time I try to do a complete illustration with real watercolor.

    I do not know if I will have a portfolio level finished piece after Slowvember. I do this besides other projects in November. My goal is to learn a thing or two about working with watercolor in general. Any excise suggestions, resources and tips on working with watercolor are more than welcome :-).

    Anyone else working traditonaly with #slowvember?

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @Eoin-Cassidy Coming up with a prompt for subject matter is very tricky for this project. Everyone is coming at it from such different places. And portfolio goals are so different for each person. Someone looking to do a book might want to do a spread or two from a manuscript. Someone who is doing character designs will want to focus on characters. For me, I'm probably going to paint some of my textural/abstract work on a larger scale than I've done previously.

    My advice is to answer the questions from the worksheet I mentioned in the video. Look at the people that really inspire you. Then make something similar as best you can. : )

    Hope that helps some! This is a personal journey and part of the process is figuring out who YOU are and the kind of work you want to create. : )

  • @Lee-White Ah thanks for getting back to me. Great advice based on where I am at actually. I will have a read through the documents and have started having a scroll through Pinterest so will start playing around with some ideas shortly.
    Your idea sounds interesting. What size were you thinking?
    I'm excited to see where everyone takes this challenge!
    Thanks Lee!

  • SVS OG

    @Lee-White I'm very interested! Unfortunately I am leaving town today for a week and won't have my Cintiq with me, but I'm taking a sketchbook. Maybe I can do the research part anyway.

    Like you said, the hardest part is finding a worthy subject matter. I think I want to do either one of my neighborhood kids in the context of a larger scene, or a book spread. Ok guys, let's go! 💪

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @Eoin-Cassidy The size I'm thinking about is probably 30"x48". That is big enough to be substantial, but small enough to still fit into a car.

  • I may sound like an idiot right now but i am a bit confused on how to go about this. I tried to answer the questions in the questionnaire and i got stuck. I have previously made inspiration boards for each artist i admire to help myself find my way to what i want to do. At this point i really focus on getting better at drawing in general since i am nowhere nearly as good as i should be to become a professional. On the other hand i do want to build a portfolio that aims for illustrator/comic artist.
    Can someone please help me untangle my thought train O.o?

  • SVS OG

    Hi, @Lee-White Thanks for working with all of us on Slowvember. I appreciate the explanation but still have some confusion on the R&D part. I am starting to work through the questions but wondered about the "theme." For example, for the three (of several that I like) that I chose for this assignment -- Arthur Howard, Helen Oxenbury, Andrea Zuill -- how does one determine the common theme? Is it the how the artist shows expressions? Or maybe their use of humor? Or how they show the individual characters be they human or animal? And what if they diverge in their styles -- somewhat real, somewhat abstract? They seem to use soft lighting. I like the watercolor feel of their work. Does that mean I should try work for individual expressions and use watercolor with soft lighting for my piece?
    Thanks for any guidance,

  • @xin-li I have 2 main references for choosing watercolors for a palette, which is just the first step when starting to paint, but might be useful nonetheless.

    I like Jeanne Dobie’s use of transparent watercolors to avoid mud when mixing. She has very good examples of combinations to make your own saturated variety of blacks and interesting complementary grays she calls “mouse greys”. (I have never used a tube black watercolor, because making your own is much more interesting). She has updated her palette to address criticisms of her use of fugitive colors like Rose Madder Genuine (

    I like Bruce MacAvoy’s guide to watercolor pigments to find transparent pigments and learn equivalent colors by number if I like a particular brand. For example, a nice transparent yellow by Daniel Smith that is more lightfast than aureolin yellow (PY53) is PY150. If you like Schminke, look for “translucent yellow” or Winsor & Newton’s “transparent yellow” or “Daniel Smith’s “nickel azo yellow”, all the same PY150 pigment.

    Have fun 😊I am sure your watercolor efforts will be just as wonderful as your inkings!

  • @Coley Sorry about your friend. I hope things get better. If you haven't gotten a chance to watch it yet, he says to take the 1st week to take a break, just think about things, & do research. So you're already following the steps. 😉

  • Maybe it's a bit late, but I'll join in. Just squeezing the days a bit, then it'll fit this month 😉 It's so great having people there who work on similar things and actually not to walk alone all the way ❤ Don't have an idea yet, but I have some hours tomorrow morning to get into it.

  • @Miriam thank you 🙂

  • @Inge-Permentier , You don't sound like an idiot at all! Talking things out & asking for advice often helps us figure out our own thoughts. It's really tough trying to figure out what to do. Especially when you add the pressure of wanting to make a living on it.

    You said that you want to develop artistic skills, and you want to build a portfolio. I think it was in one of Jake's videos that he shared a quote--something like: "The obstacle is the answer." Not having a portfolio is an obstacle, so the answer is creating one. You only get better at something by doing it. As you work on each new piece for your portfolio, your skills will increase.

    If you subscribe to SVS, try watching Lee's class, "How To Discover Your Style". (If you haven't already.)

    Maybe go back to the Slowvember questions, and try to answer them without thinking about what you want to do for this specific project--just answer them as if a friend asked you in a conversation.

    For example, a major theme that is important to me in my life is peace (within myself--world peace would be great & all, but we have to start with ourselves). This is true of the outlook I try to have in general, and I find that I resonate with peaceful images, and calm colors.

    What is something that drives you in life? What types of images, entertainment, activities, people, colors, lifestyle, philosophy, etc. are you drawn to? What type of person are you? What makes you happy? What kinds of emotions are important to you? What makes you feel that way? What is it you like about comics and the kind of art you want to create? What motivates you to make something? Try to open yourself up to exploration without obligation. Just jot down a bunch of words, and maybe something will surface. Either way, introspection is beneficial.

    I hope this helps!

  • @Miriam Thank you for your advice 😃 It really helps 😛
    I will try to answer those questions as you explained.
    And i will definitely take the course on SVS! I really want this to work out because it is what i love to do 😃

  • @BichonBistro thank you so much for the references. Hmmm, I have to read up a bit more, I can barely follow your reference about "transparent watercolors". I have a box of Sennelier watercolor (12 colors) for years. I use it occassionally. They are suppose to be artist grade color.
    Vesper Stamper has a video tutorial on SVSlearn, which she explains how to use 5 color to paint everyting in watercolor. I thought I might give a try since it is not a very big invenstment.

  • @Inge-Permentier I know the questionaire can be a bit hard to follow in the begining. Take your time. Watching Lee's "How to Discover your style" will help a lot with answering the questionaire.
    If your focus is to getting better at drawing in general, I recommend going through the SVSlearn's curriculum. The classes are organized in the way that you can follow from begining level to advanced.

    I personally got a lot out when I got a chance to go through classes together with other fellow SVSlearn artists here in the forum. Often people will post on the forum about the class they are working on, and post homework here in the forum for feedback and accountability. You can always join in other artists here to do the same class, or start a class thread on your own, and let other people join you.

  • @xin-li that sounds like a really great plan! I had been struggling to get things going on this myself but you've gone and made it much easier for me! I think I will follow the same steps that you described and plan on using watercolor also. As a watercolor newbie, can you suggest which SVS course might be the best one to start with? Also I must say that your Inktober submissions are wonderful! You've kept them so bright and lively even without using color. I'd also recommend that you have a look at James Yang's course on Portfolios. A good thing to keep in mind when creating new personal project pieces is how it would compliment your portfolio.

  • @Eoin-Cassidy thanks. I will definitely take a look of James Yang's course. I am newbie with watercolor also. I found 3 watercolor classes on SVS and watched them all earlier this year, and they are very inspiring. I think all of them are beginner friendly, especially the last one by Vesper Stamper. Lee's loosening up in watercolor was the course made me really inspired to work with watercolor. Enjoy.

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @Inge-Permentier Hi Inge, You are not an idiot at all! This seemingly simple assignment of creating one piece that you care about is actually very difficult! The problem is we have been led down the road of constant "quick" assignments and small projects. Like I said in the video, it's easy to spend a day on some art challenge like Murmay or something because it doesn't ask much of you as an artist.

    Don't get me wrong, I love those challenges too, but at some point we have to slow down and ask ourselves "What do I really want to make". Some people may not have ever really considered that simple question before. So if you feel confused, it probably means we are asking questions that you need to figure out, but haven't yet. What should you be working on? Only you can answer that. You may not be perfect at drawing (none of us are!), but it's time to dive in and try to make something that you like that starts to build a portfolio.

    So what happens if the end result isn't great? Well, that's ok too! Just do another one. Like I say in the Loosening up in Watercolor video: "The worst case scenario is that I messed up a perfectly good piece of watercolor paper". No one was hurt in my painting except for my ego! haha! So just paint another one and move on! That is how great work is made. It's a series of errors that all lead to getting good. Without the errors, there is nothing to judge yourself against. So dive in and figure out what kind of work you want to be creating and then go for it. : )

    Good luck!

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @Maureen All the things you noticed are great! Those can definitely be something to pay attention to. When I say "theme" I was more so referring to what they are painting. What kind of subject matter is inspiration using?

    Now, one thing to know is that there may not be a common theme that is obvious. That is ok too. But it's important to at least look for it. I'm trying to get you guys to look at your inspiration from different angels. Subject matter, character design, media, format, etc. We need to figure out why we are attracted to certain work. That way we can integrate that one thing into our work without taking everything from the artists we are looking at. Some artists I just love their line work, but don't really like the finished art per se. Mobius would be an example of this. I am not a huge fan of his finished art. I've never been too much of a sci-fi guy. But I LOVE his line work on some pieces (but not all). I love Lizbeth zwergers backgrounds and monocromatic work, but not her color work.

    I try to analyze each artist I like and see what it is that really pulls me in. So any of the things you noticed on your inspiration could be what draws you to that work. Or maybe it's something else? You need to look hard and see what it is. : )

  • SVS OG

    Thank you, @Lee-White OK, now I think I get it. I liked looking at the artists you referenced so I could "see" what you are talking about. I appreciate the many approaches to communicating something -- being told about, being shown, trying something and getting critiqued, etc. -- and your willingness to go further to help us learn. Back to my research ...

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