Saturday, 27 September 2014

[Tips] Blueberries: Painting Bloom and Correcting Mistakes in Watercolour

Painting Bloom 

Painting something new is always challenging. Case in point, painting blueberries for the first time gave me the heebie-jeebies. I racked my brains quite long to find a way to do the shine and the bloom (the thin white coating of powdery wax on berries) right. Thanks to Sigrid Frensen for her post on painting the grapes, finally I could muster my will to do it. I could imagine how to apply the watercolour layer by layer from her painting better than from photo references.

Since I am bad at remembering, I write these steps to help myself remember. At the same time, I hope you find it useful someday.

Watercolours I used: (all W&N) 
- Cobalt Blue
- Payne Grey
- French Ultramarine
- Indigo
- Alizarin Crimson

Steps I took:
1. I based the whole fruits with diluted Cobalt Blue unevenly. I left some parts of the white paper unpainted for the brightest highlight.
2. I built the shape using wet into wet washes of Payne Grey, but left some parts pale for the bloom. Later, I darkened the bloom with another wash of Cobalt blue.
3. I used either a mixture of French Ultramarine and Alizarin Crimson, or Indigo and Alizarin Crimson for the darkest areas. I left some edges a bit paler to give them the effect of light reflection.
4. With dry brush, I added some details and created the "scratch" effect of the bloom using Payne Grey or the no. 3 mixture. And viola! It was done faster and not as hard as I thought it would be. Instead, it turned out to be fun! 
[Insights] The dry brush technique for the scratch effect of the bloom was the most fun part! I did it randomly and the effect still managed to look natural.

Correcting Watercolour Mistakes with Flat Brushes 

As I wrote here, a good watercolour paper usually has a robust surface that it forgives some mistakes. I, quite often, lift watercolour paints or correct mistakes using my old Proarte 106, flat 1/8" sized brush (see picture below, the black handle). However, the brush wore off quite fast in a couple months. The hair ends were bent, losing their accuracy of correction. FYI, I saw Billy Showell has similar brushes in her demonstration; it was called the eradicator brushes.

In addition to that brush, I have other brushes for fixing for more precise point, the cheap, flat, 00 sized brushes (see picture, the red handles), which I got from a clearance sale. As you can see in the picture, they are much smaller than my 1/8" sized brush, which usually is the smallest size of flat brushes.
They are also less thick that I can lift paints more precisely. The hairs are synthetic and quite stiff to rub papers and lift paints. They also stay in good shape longer than my 1/8" sized brushes. If you are curious why the rightmost brush is shorter, it is because I cut it with scissor. I use the stiffer hairs for the toughest stains since it is more abrasive to papers.

[Tips] I wet the area to be removed or corrected with clean water by stroking a damp brush gently, then pat the pigment away with a kitchen towel/paper.

[Tips] I lift paints using my "broken" 1/8" sized brush for a soft-edged result, e.g. to enhance highlights. In the meantime, I use the 00 sized brush for the sharper edges, e.g. to remove paints that go beyond the outlines (see pictures below) or to create lines or vines of leaves when the paint is not completely dry.
The illustration was quite small, about 10 x 10 cm, hence it was not very detailed. It is one of the 15 illustrations of ingredients and nature elements I did for Ibaco ice cream's serving cup. The project was fun, supervised by a kind art director, Diya Pallikal of Rubecon.

*Please visit my behance to see more illustrations of the project :) Enjoy!


Pappersdraken said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thank you so much for this tip! I live in Sweden so painting blueberries is something I have longed to do and now I might have a go at it! It was also interesting to see you use different flat brushes for correcting and to lift colour- so far I have only used a 4 mm flat synthetic brush, but I will certainly try a smaller flat brush too. Thank you again for showing us your lovely paintings!

Eunike Nugroho said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Pappersdraken, Lovely to hear that you find the tips useful. Have you painted the blueberries? I would love to see it. Thanks for leaving your kind comment :)

Dinda Puspitasari said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I just found your blog through your Behance, I adore your works soooooo much! I always love watercolor paintings like yours, but I've been holding my self from doing it karena suka kesusahan dapetin warna yang pas. Now I'm focusing my self in digital illustration, but watercolor is always in my heart <3

J R Shepherd said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

This is such a great post, I love the way you're broken it all down and made what most dread seem possible. Your work is great. I've always been scared of bloom and blueberries, but I might have a go now. Can't find blueberries here in my town though, so might do a bloomy fig! said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Your work is astoundingly beautiful. I can't find a place on your web page to follow you via email - am I just missing it?

Eunike Nugroho said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Dinda Puspitasari Jangan menyerah donk! Cat air jauh lebih mengasikkan lho! Kalau ditekuni, semakin lama akan terbiasa dan tahu sifat-sifat media/bahan yang kita pakai. Pasti jadi jago deh! ;)

Eunike Nugroho said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@J R Shepherd I am sorry I can only reply you now, Jess. Sometimes I feel awkward to reply comments on blogspot (too much with popping box, scrolling up and down in the mini comment box). I have just changed the setting, but the direct reply still doesn't work as I want.

I hope you have found blueberries to paint, or beautiful figs.. or new leaves, which I believe they will turn out beautiful in your hands!

Eunike Nugroho said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates Sorry it takes long time to reply you. I just added the gadget as requested. You can add your e-mail in the "follow by email" form in the sidebar. I hope it helps :)