What Are You Thankful For?
This will be a quick assignment that gets us all in the right mindset as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday. For this project I want you to choose one thing for which you are truly thankful. After choosing it, take a well arranged photograph of it to be used as the resource for your illustration. This particular illustration will be created using a loose watercolor technique with colored pencil applied over the surface for more detailed resolution. The final image should contain both a loose and tight quality at the same time.
Watch the video below for guidance on the technique you'll be using in this project:
When choosing your image, understand that it doesn't have to be a portrait. It can be an object or even a concept rather than a portrait. What's most important is that you have a deep gratitude for something in your life, and that that you are willing to pay homage to that in an illustration.
The loose watercolor with colored pencil combination is a great way to make a quick and striking illustration. This project will work best for you if you have quality watercolor paper and good colored pencils. I cannot provide you with those materials under these weird pandemic conditions, but both are available at Michael's if you have the funds to get those quality materials.
Begin the illustration with a light proportional sketch in graphite of your subject. As you begin to add the watercolor after your sketch is complete, make sure to start with the lightest colors on the value chart. I find it helpful to start with light yellows first, then work my way toward oranges, browns and reds. I like to add my blues and purples last to give it that pop and contrast. Working in this way allows you to build the values slowly without getting too dark too fast.
Leave loose ends with your work, and don't be scared to let the watercolor drip some. Those uncontrolled drips can add so much expression and energy to the image you're creating. With this illustration, I want you to allow things to float a little bit. Give them atmosphere and room to dissolve.
There's a term many illustrators use called "Selective Detail". That's what I want you to seek in this work of art you are making. Give us the details, but only where they are absolutely necessary. Let the watercolor be loose where the resolution isn't as needed.
Above all else, have fun with this project. Be expressive, experiment, and enjoy walking the line between controlling the medium, and letting it do what it does by nature.