Every once in a while I look through all the stuff that I have made (usually a terrible cellphone pic) and I think “That’s pretty good.” Most of the time when I review my art I pick it apart and try to figure out what I could have done to make it better. Then I plan to “remake” it.
I have not actually remade anything yet. I do not think that I will ever “remake” anything I have ever made. I may do something better with a similar theme, but never an actual remake.
This post is not really about that. It is about trying new things and getting out of your comfort zone.
Out of my comfort zone is water color. I do not really like to work with water color, and I do not really have the patience for it. I certainly do not have the needed equipment for it. Wrong paper, wrong brushes, wrong paint. It still turned out interesting in the end.
The goal was to do an original “painting” for a flyer I needed to create. A cyclist in a yellow rain coat in a city. I had spent hours searching the web and stock photo sites, even art sites, to find one that was what I needed. I could not find one so chose to try and make one (otherwise we were going to use an umbrella.)
I spent a little while looking for a good base photo. I am not very good with perspectives, a good base photo is important for artists with my handicap. Thankfully I found this wonderful image of a cyclist in a city setting.
Only, its not raining and he is not wearing a rain coat, and he has that messenger bag, AND I do not live in California (our street cars are white and blue, not green and cream.) There is a bit of work that needs to be done on this to make it fit my needs.
My original idea was to tinker with it in Photoshop to make it work. I quickly realize that was out of my league and would have to use what I am good at, sort of. To the paint!
First thing I did was draw out the shapes, a bunch. I did ten or eleven outlines. I settled on this one. It had the shapes and was not really dark (I also have a bit of a heavy hand.)
Now I had to figure out how I was going to make this look like water color without having water colors. I ended up watering down my acrylic paints, and using them. The paper was also an issue. I do not have any proper watercolor paper on hand (not really a need of mine, most of the time.) The best I could do was one of my sketch books. I found two water color brushes, one a 3 and the other a 1. Gotta use what you have…
I want to point out that watered down acrylic paint does NOT behave like actual water color. There are many techniques that I tested that would have worked with water color and did not work with the acrylic. Always test your medium to make sure you know what to expect.
First layers of paint went on well. It did take almost two hours each layer to dry so I could do the next. There was a lot of waiting. I played a lot of World of Warcraft between layers.
Once I got the feeling for it I got everything else done in 48 hours. Most of that was drying time. 5-10 minutes of work would leave me with 2 hours of drying time. Big reason I dislike water colors.
I kind of forgot to take photos after this point. I think you can get the gist of what the process was like. Paint a bit, let it dry, paint a bit, let it dry.
Here is the last photo of the finished “water color” painting.
It does not have a lot of detail and I did not like it. Looks kind of like a five year old painted it. There are also several spaces that bled over because I was to impatient with the process.
I too a good, hi-res photo and imported it into Adobe Photoshop. I scoured the internet to find some textures that I could use, I found some trees, yellow rubber, brick, clouds, and road, plus an image of the local street car. Time to get to work!
After lots of cutting, pasting, moving, cloning, and tinkering I came up with the below image. I think it came out pretty good considering that I was way out of my comfort zone.
Don’t forget to be super at something, even if it is being cute like Guido.