Step by step work in progress during the making of "Metamorphosis" (watercolour and ink).
I took the initial photo for this piece in my garden where a newly metamorphosed dragonfly was still stretching and drying its wings before being ready to fly off. It remained in the one position for hours, and you could gradually witness the crinkles in its wings smooth out as it dried. This pencil sketch was the basis of my composition.
Masking the foreground
I planned this painting to be in the format for a printed card, so I already had the dimensions and a built in border arranged. I masked the foreground and put washes on the background attempting to create some subtle detail.
I then used a second layer of masking fluid, but this time just on the wings (and some select background grass stalks), in order to contribute to the delicate translucent effect of the dragonfly wings.
This is an example of when things go wrong. Unfortunately I was over-zealous and removed the masking fluid on the right upper wing before it was completely dry, tearing the surface of the paper slightly, and removing the underlying colour. Since this ruined the intention I had for the piece, I decided to use this as a practise run, and I tried out some ink outlining techniques and watercolour washes around the dragonfly's head.
The second attempt at the image when much better, and I was able to add some additional details to the dragonfly's wings. Unfortunately the background washes were not as satisfying as there was less detail.
I detailed the foreground and dragonfly using both fine ink lines, stippling and hatching, as well as watercolour washes. I tried to retain the subtle effects of the wings by not adding too much detail to them with ink.