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Process in Work II by reubennegron Process in Work II by reubennegron
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Ok, picking up where we left off, I've printed out an at-size copy of the original drawing. I tile it together and, using guide lines drawn on the front of my watercolor paper, attach it to the back. I then use an 8"x10" ceelite [link] to trace the drawing onto the watercolor paper piece by piece.

Here's where it gets tricky... The original drawing is 11"x17". The final painting is 40"x26". Two things happen when you take a small drawing and blow it up to be used for a large painting. First, you just can't fit that much detail on a small drawing (your pencil lead has a certain diameter that you just can't get beyond). Second, the fine detail you do have is partially lost or no longer relevant due to the blowing up of the line work. This is especially a problem in areas such as the face, hands and feet. To compensate for this and the fact that I am tracing through a sheet of 260lbs watercolor paper I re-draw the entire image by looking directly at the reference and using the tiled drawing underneath only as a skeleton. A side by side comparison of the detail above and the drawing I posted here: [link] will give you an idea of what I mean.

Inevitably things change. I see details I hadn't seen before, edit ones I made earlier, re-work portions of the image to suit the scale of the final painting; anything that needs to be addressed before I start applying paint.

Once I'm happy with the drawing and I've given it it's last looks, I stretch the paper. There are a few different ways to stretch watercolor paper and my way is different from the text book version but it works for me. (I tape down the dry sheet with artist tape only, then wet the paper, brushing off the sizing with a coarse 4" house painting brush.)

Next step: the under-painting.
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:iconeyyy95:
eyyy95 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
your watercolor skills are amazing :D but may i ask, how do you tile an image? i have a huge problem when drawing onto huge sheets of paper with distortion of proportions and figures
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:iconreubennegron:
reubennegron Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Tiling the image is bit of a pain in the ass but as you mentioned - it gets rid of lens distortion. Here is a break down of what I do - It might seem a little complicated but it works for me.

1 - Scan the drawing into my computer.

2 - In Photoshop, I increase the scanned image dimensions of the final painting size. (For instance, my drawing that is 11x17in will become 40x26in or whatever is proportionately close to that ratio).

3 - Next, I use guides to grid off the enlarged image in proportionate and equal sections. This will require doing some math on your own.

4 - Once I have the image gridded out I will create a new "Print" file that best supports my gridded sections. (For example, if the sections are roughly 9.5x14in I will create an 11x17in Print file.)

5 - Back in the large file (the one with the enlarged image that has been gridded out) I use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to select an area about 2 inches LARGER on each side than you originally gridded. (This is extremely important as it will allow you to later overlap your printed images and create a successful tiling.)

6 - Once I've made my selection I copy and paste it into the "Print" file I just created. Be sure to create a new layer for each selection you paste.

7 - When this is done you can print each separate layer onto a separate piece of paper.

8 - When the printing is done trim the excess white from around your image area.

9 - Using a lightbox, overlap your drawing (this is why you leave the 2 inch excess when making your selection) and tape them together.

10 - When you are done you should have an exact - 1:1 scale - copy of your finished painting/drawing. I then mount the drawing onto the back of my watercolor paper and using a lightbox once again. start the transferring process. If you prefer to use carbon paper you can mount the drawing to the front of your drawing surface (not recommended for watercolor paper.)

That's it in a nutshell. I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any questions.
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:iconeyyy95:
eyyy95 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!! :DDDDDDDDDD you are so helpful and your art is amazing, is there anything you can't do?? :)
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:iconreubennegron:
reubennegron Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Ha! well I'm no good at hitting a baseball.
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:iconeyyy95:
eyyy95 Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
one more question, where do you get ceelite?
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:iconreubennegron:
reubennegron Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
It was a gift but I think it was ordered online. I'd google it. It's normally marketed to special events planners but it's an amazing light pad.
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:iconstoffkimba:
stoffkimba Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
I have a question concerning the artist tape: Is it self-adhesive or the kind that you have to get wet to make it stick to some surface? (I'm asking because in my country it wouldn't be called the same way and since I have had some problems with paper stretching, I'd like to find that tape of yours and try your method.)
Amazing body of work btw.! There's too many water-colorists who can't really paint or draw. Really refreshing to see sb who's got the skillz.
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:iconreubennegron:
reubennegron Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks for the comment!

The tape I use is the standard white, self-adhesive artist tape you can find in the art stores. I've tried using the kind you have to wet first but I find that kind of tape really troublesome. Here is a link to the kind of tape I use: [link]

It's important to note that you have to tape the drawing down BEFORE you wet the paper. If you try to wet the paper first then tape it down the water will dissolve the glue and it won't work.

Hope that helps. If you have any other questions I'd be happy to answer them!
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:iconmeerwasser:
Meerwasser Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2011
you're a magician.
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:iconreubennegron:
reubennegron Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
I am. How did you know?
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:iconmeerwasser:
Meerwasser Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2011
too obvious.
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:iconmollinda:
Mollinda Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2010   Traditional Artist
I just use regular masking tape to stretch paper too for the same reason - it doesn't wreck the paper edges and it wrinkles anyway so a tiny wave isn't going to make a huge difference.
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:iconreubennegron:
reubennegron Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
Here Here! Tradition be damned!!
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:iconmollinda:
Mollinda Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2010   Traditional Artist
Damn right!
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:iconmjbivouac:
MJBivouac Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2010
Doesn't anyone stretch watercolor paper properly anymore??? All the hours and hours of work you put into your art, and that paper is just going to wrinkle!
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:iconreubennegron:
reubennegron Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
The traditional method just doesn't work for me for a few different reasons. First off, the dedicated 'watercolor tape' currently on the market just can't handle the size of my paper. There is too much strength in the pull when my paper dries and the only tape I've found that works is the artist tape from Pearl Paints which needs to adhere to a dry surface. Another issue I face is that all of my work is displayed floating in the frame so for me it's really important that I retain the look of the deckled edge of the watercolor paper. In the rare case where I matte my work, I do wet the paper first and tack down the edge - but 90% of the time that's not the case. Another thing I've found is that paper is paper and all works of paper are subject, even in part, to humidity. Even the flattest of the flat paintings I've made will inevitably buckle, even if just a slight wave. The only way to avoid it is to keep the paper in a controlled climate or a very dry one, but being from the North East, that's just not an option. It's not perfect but neither is the medium itself. In the near future I'm going to be experimenting with permanently adhering the paper to various kinds of boards to see how it affects the surface and the overall feel of painting. But for the mean time this is what works for me.
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:iconmjbivouac:
MJBivouac Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2010
Well, they do make watercolor board, that might work for you. Looking at your work, you do manage to control the wrinkling and warping surprisingly well. I had a very demanding professor in college that insisted on stretched paper. So I still retain that discipline when I do a serious watercolor. I have had good luck with plain old gummed packing tape and a heavy drawing board(no masonite), BUT I have never done a watercolor as large as you do. So I must take your word for the PULL a large sheet generates.
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:iconreubennegron:
reubennegron Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
I've looked into the pre-made watercolor boards and the only problem, once again, hast to do with the size. I do like the concept behind them and have thought about making a custom one of my own. But that's one of those projects that keeps getting pushed to the side as I have more and more work pile up. I'd really like to find a way to do away with the framing all together so I've been thinking a lot about alternative ways of stretching paper to make it permanent, meaning that it can hang as is... but that might have to wait until I'm done with my current body of work.
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:iconmjbivouac:
MJBivouac Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2010
I might suggest...you could order a small sheet from Blick or whatever on-line art supply place you prefer, and just doodle on it to see if it works for you. If you like it, fine, if not your not out very much. Really, far be it from me to tell you what to do. Your work is just excellent!
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:iconreubennegron:
reubennegron Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
I appreciate any advice when it comes to improving my work so thank you for the suggestion. I'll certainly look into it and let you know how it turns out.
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:iconmjbivouac:
MJBivouac Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2010
Thanks Man1 It's always nice to be able to talk with an artist as skilled as you.
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:iconreubennegron:
reubennegron Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
Cheers! :beer: Likewise.
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(1 Reply)
:iconheliocyan:
Heliocyan Featured By Owner May 7, 2010   Traditional Artist
Thank you for sharing this! It's always very interesting to see work in progress... :)

Love your artwork
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:iconreubennegron:
reubennegron Featured By Owner May 8, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
Well I'm just glad you enjoy it. I actually have one more installment to upload where I actually show how the painting progresses. Stay tuned...!
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:icontordo:
Tordo Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I didn't knew about the Ceelite thing, is it too expensive?
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:iconreubennegron:
reubennegron Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
I don't know all the prices but it's not too bad. It's worth it though. They come in pretty large sizes and they are flat so it makes drawing much more natural.
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