Ivy Liliana is from the Flower Girls series. What makes this one different from my other work is that I used an extra step in creating it. I used...coffee! Yes. You have read it correctly. Before I started with the watercolors, I smudged coffee grain all over the paper to give it a stained effect. This intensified the colors even more. Let's start!
You all know by now that you need to start with a brainstorm/sketch session. Proper brainstorming and sketching makes sure that you get familiar with what you want to draw. It can also save you lots of stress when you find out during the inking stage that a certain pose or expression doesn’t work. Usually my sketches are only readable for me, in this case however. The focus was more on the paint. So the sketch work was quite minimal as I already knew exactly what I wanted to draw. So I hoped to the ink phase quite quick.
With most of my work, at this stage, I start with the painting. However, I mentioned coffee earlier and this is the time to wet the drawing entirely and smudge coffee where you want. I use the coffee ground after a pot of coffee has been made. Why coffee? I used coffee in the past to create a pirate map for my sister and I recalled this when I saw an artist using green tea for his paintings. So I thought why not adding an extra layer to a painting and see what effect I will get from of it. After you smudged the coffee ground, wipe most of it of the paper. Be careful, as you can damage the paper with the coffee ground. Then let it dry completely. After it dried completely, remove any leftover coffee ground.
Step 3: Paint, Paint, Paint.
Always start with a light wash and add more color as you go. You can see in the picture below that I added blues and pinks, yellows & oranges for the flowers and darker greens for the plants. I used a wet in wet technique so the colors flow together. After the first layer or two, I will re-ink most of the lines. This way it stands out more and it intensifies the colors.
Whenever a layer is done, by this I mean when I’ve added all the effects that I want in that specific layer; I let it dry completely before I add more color. If you work with a paper that’s too wet, you can easily lift up the paint from the paper or damage the paper. Just repeat the painting process until you’re happy with it.
Step 4: Final touches
Before I scan or take a picture of the painting, I let it sit for a day. When you work for several hours on a painting, you can easily overlook details. So usually after a day and with fresh eyes, I can spot better what I need to adjust in the painting. Usually I just clean up around the edges, re-ink some lines and add more shadow or small details.
With this, we are done! I hope you liked to see the process of one of my illustrations! Looking at the final illustration one may wonder, what magic did the person used to create this?! If you break it down in steps, it isn’t that difficult. By layering the colors, you will achieve a similar effect. It does require patience and practice. This Flower Girl is, as I mentioned before, part of a series, where the focus is more on the female character, surrounded by a blur of flowers. For now it consists out of 6 smaller illustrations and 3 big ones.
Hope you liked it and if you have questions don’t hesitate to contact me.
Thanks for reading!
Sing, My Pumpkins, Sing