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Submitted on
February 26, 2010
Image Size
1.4 MB


52 (who?)
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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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
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.
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?? :)
reubennegron Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Ha! well I'm no good at hitting a baseball.
eyyy95 Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
one more question, where do you get ceelite?
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.
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.
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!
Meerwasser Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2011
you're a magician.
reubennegron Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
I am. How did you know?
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