The above two paintings were created by my Granddaughter and me this past week. I first learned about this technique by reading Carol King’s post about a new technique she had tried after viewing a video by Karlyn Holman.
This was a fascinating procedure and we will try some more of these. They work well for drawings and wash or finished watercolor paintings. I may even teach this in my beginning drawing classes as those students are always eager to learn something new, as well as the watercolor artists. It is a great technique for studying value and ads some interesting effects to the paper.
We began with an ink drawing, using the “Elegant Writer” calligraphy pen by Speedball. I purchased the finest point I could find. It said it had a 2.0 F tip. We both drew the compositions in light graphite, first, and then traced the lines with the pen.
In the next step, we took a large round watercolor brush (wet) and worked it up next to the inked lines where we wanted to add shadow or a darker value. The ink begins to run and the artist begins to see green and pink tints show up, along with the gray. Once the ink has been wet and dries, it can not be activated again. Understandably, we did not need to touch all the lines because some areas must remain white. Karlyn suggested we spray a fine mist over the entire drawing to set the lines we had not activated. Otherwise, we might activate them when we add color via the watercolor pigments we planned to finish our paintings with. I got a bit carried away with my mister and will need to correct that the next painting I attempt using this technique. Mine ran more than I wanted; BUT!! it did set the line and I had no more running after this. Below is what we came up with after activating the lines, shading our drawings, and setting the remaining lines to preserve the whites:
The rosey or pink color can be enhanced or brought out more by blotting the wet runs of ink with a tissue. The scribbled leaves were wet by flinging water with our brush on the inked scribbles. This prevents the leaves from becoming watery blobs and preserves the textured marks we made with the pen. Karlyn demonstrates all of this in her video.
We allowed that stage of our paintings to dry and then painted our scenes with watercolor.
My nine year old Granddaughter has been painting since she was a toddler. That helps when we work together on projects like this, but she was so intrigued with this technique and wants some of these pens for home. She remained interested in the process throughout. Just saying! If you have young artists at home, this is fun!