|4/25/15 Sailor Doyou and other water-soluble inks, watercolor, Caran d'Ache Museum water-soluble colored pencils, Canson XL 140 lb.|
For a long time, my favorite way to make delicate shading on faces has been to draw the contour with water-soluble ink and then use a waterbrush to dissolve the ink slightly. When I know I’m going to use watercolor, though, my usual choice is to draw first with waterproof ink. (The latter is probably one of the most popular techniques among sketchers.)
Today’s sketch (above) is an experiment I’m going to try more often: Instead of using waterproof ink, I drew the outlines of these trees and branches with water-soluble Sailor Doyou ink. I had to remember to save the power lines till the very end, or they would have blurred away when I sprayed the page with water, but otherwise, my process wasn’t very different from when I draw first with waterproof ink. I really like the way the tree branches diffused with the sprayed water and watercolor application. In the case of these particular trees, which had pale brownish-green foliage, cool, dark gray Doyou makes a good complement. The ink probably would have muddied the paint if I’d used a bright yellow-green.
|10/29/14 water-soluble and waterproof inks, watercolor|
The last time I remember doing a similar experiment was last October, when I used my long-time favorite Diamine Chocolate Brown ink with watercolors to sketch turning maple trees (at right and below). Chocolate Brown is much warmer than Doyou, so it coordinated well with orange and red leaves.
I think using water-soluble inks works best with organic subject matter that is conducive to a softer, blurry look. It’s harder to pull off with objects that require hard edges, like buildings (although I’ve certainly seen sketches of architecture done by an artist in this way to stunning effect; I wish I could remember who that was). I’m not trying to avoid waterproof inks altogether, as there are many times when I really want clean, sharp lines and distinct colors. But sometimes it’s fun to let the edges go soft and fuzzy.
|10/22/14 water-soluble ink, watercolor, colored pencils|
In addition, there’s a physical (chemical?) reason why I often reach for my pens containing water-soluble inks (containing dyes) instead of the one with waterproof ink (containing pigment): The former are almost always “wetter” than the latter, and I always prefer the easier flow of those wetter inks, which seem to make me draw more loosely.
Interestingly, Liz Steel has recently been blogging about using waterproof inks to draw into watercolor while it is still wet, making the ink lines blur a bit before they dry permanently. It’s a different way to get a similar effect.