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Rock wallaby

Step by step work in progress during the making of "Paused" (watercolour and ink).​

Pencil sketch

The initial sketch is fairly rough - just enough to see the form clearly. It is usually fairly light (using an HB or 2B pencil), although I have greatly darkened it on the scan so it can be seen clearly here. 











First ink and brush details

I use a very fine 20/0 sable brush for my detailed ink work. These brushes aren't available from all art stores because they are so fine - they only have a few bristles in them. I usually start from the eyes, and work my way around the face and head adding detail and shadows with tiny short little strokes. 

Second layer of ink

When I finished the initial ink details, I realized that overall there needed to be more shadow around the body region, so at this stage I revisited the shadow areas with more fine lines. When I use ink and brush, I rarely use ink washes, prefering to build tone through hatching and stippling. 

Starting the watercolour washes

Once the ink draft was complete, I started building up colour with watercolour of various brown hues. This softened the effect of the ink by drawing together some of those tonally similar areas. The watercolour effect was composed of small (size 6 brush) stippled areas of colour merging and overlapping each other. 

Adding the background

I wanted a fairly simple background for the wallaby because the subject itself was so detailed. So I introduced some general shapes and used gentle washes to fill the shadows.  















At this stage I realized I had lost some of the wallaby to the background and decided to outline the wallaby's form with darker ink. I'm perhaps not entirely happy with this effect at the end as it makes the wallaby a bit too cartoonish. 

Final image

After adding the background, I felt it was too warm in colour, and too similar to the wallaby itself, so decided to cool it down by adding blue glazes to the shadows. These glazes gave a pleasing mix of colours - a mottled brown, blue, purple, green effect, which is a benefit of glazing colours rather than mixing them on a palette. The final image does have a bit of a cartoon-like feel, but overall I was happy with it. 

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