View Full Version : "The falling leaves drift by my window....."

05-01-2014, 09:39 PM
Well it's autumn here in Oz! Started off trying for a pen and wash look - didn't quite achieve it but I enjoyed the practice.


05-02-2014, 03:01 AM
Lovely painting but its coming up to summer here so I will put that colour to the back of my mind. Well done:)

Marilyn Anne
05-02-2014, 07:05 AM
I love to paint them during our fall. We loved our visit to Australia. It was in the coming fall.

05-02-2014, 10:07 AM
Beautiful leaves Enug!

I keep meaning to try some. Our autumn is very late up in the hills, so we don't have too many yet.

D Akey
05-02-2014, 10:08 AM
Looks nice, but you're right, it lost the effect. Nice leaves though.

AKA: Pen and Wash. If you want to have more of a pen and wash look, put the emphasis on the "wash" quality. Let your ink line do your work of putting in overall structure and detail (loose or tight - your call).

Then with your wash - really simplify and don't put in much if any detail. That's the beauty of this technique is to basically slap in a color fairly loosely, and you can let the paint bleed around and it still works. The line holds it together. And there's a lot of leeway for experimentation and fun. It's anything from a sketchbook look all the way to architectural renderings in some cases where they want to show a casual feel.

Here are some ideas. I just did a Google Images search for "Pen and Wash Techniques":

https://www.google.com/search?q=pen+and+wash+techniques&hl=en&biw=769&bih=481&tbm=isch&imgil=Fgkp6whRebxPDM%253A%253Bhttps%253A%252F%252F encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com%252Fimages%253Fq%253Dtbn%253AANd9 GcSvmInMCNvwFt-49gmqtkPKWTRcTTUhueJpcuDeR0jLs8M-9X1MzA%253B640%253B444%253BN2JzK9hLh1MaUM%253Bhttp %25253A%25252F%25252Fartbywiley.blogspot.com%25252 F2012%25252F10%25252Floving-pen-and-wash.html&source=iu&usg=__QeyJhnFzZpg0tteMAFz8vdsT6bw%3D&sa=X&ei=zrZiU6y-Jce7oQTL0YCgBg&ved=0CDAQ9QEwBA#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=Fgkp6whRebxPDM%253A%3BN2JzK9hLh1MaUM%3Bhttp% 253A%252F%252F4.bp.blogspot.com%252F-LiWO5seBkW8%252FUHp0hOgGadI%252FAAAAAAAAC58%252Fdi sQ-IP7Abg%252Fs640%252Frawady1.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%2 52Fartbywiley.blogspot.com%252F2012%252F10%252Flov ing-pen-and-wash.html%3B640%3B444

05-02-2014, 02:12 PM
Thank you everyone.

Copespeak- where I am in SA we don't get that beautiful turning of the leaves - so I had to cheat and use someone else's leaves. :)

Dear D Akey - coming to my rescue again! I will practice, practice, practice - it's also learning how digital watercolour works too. I have found Someonesane's watercolour videos and will study those as well.

05-02-2014, 03:37 PM
Enug, I have done a very quick leaf (sourced from the net) to show you the wash style I use, which is mostly using the Gloop Pen. You don't get the liney, mushy wash that you do with the actual watercolour brush, and you get a nice external line that is more 'watercoloury'.

On top of that, I have used the Air Brush turned up big, and the Airbrush Spats in the Sticker section, and the Blender to pat them down.

I did a tutorial recently with a step by step suggestions. See: http://forums.artrage.com/showthread.php?46448-As-requested-some-watercolour-methods-Dry-Brush-watercolour-27th-March&highlight=watercolour

Have a go, it's challenging, but fun! :) :)


05-02-2014, 05:51 PM
Oh! how lovely you are to do that for me. I've been looking thru the tutorials and experimenting with the various presets suggested and also looking thru my watercolour papers for something that gives the result I'm trying for. And yes, I had previously come across your teddybear/gloop tutorial and will have to go over that one again.

It's cold, miserable and wet here today - however the cats and I are warm so I will spend the afternoon playing in the water...colours.:)

05-02-2014, 06:20 PM
:) :) :) :)

05-03-2014, 02:03 AM
This is my attempt following your suggestions.


I'm also working on another, following the Google page Mr Akey sent me to - however I'm afraid I got into too much detail and it's looking more like a shiny red apple than a soft watercolour. I like it tho and will finish it and then try another without the detail. I'm finding it hard to keep it simple.

D Akey
05-03-2014, 08:57 AM
Yeah, Copespeaks the truth and her sample is very nice -- as is your following the ideas she gave. Lovely.

So the difference would be, and this is merely speaking academically, and not a better/worse scenario, that hers appears to my eye to be using dry mediums. And this is just fine as is or mix and match etc. It's all about playing around and getting a feel for this stuff.

My technique suggestions that I thought you were aiming for were more in a wet into wet underneath the line -- more of a water color effect. But that can be appealing or not. I never really used dry media like pastel because in the real world if it was under a sheet of acetate (clear plastic like an animation cell), it would tend to get smeared and pulled up by the static electricity that those sheets tended to hold from when they were stacked and pulled off (like rubbing a balloon against your hair and then being able to lift your hair away). What a pain that was, heh. I at one point even had a weird little gun called a ZeroStat that I would shoot at the acetate to reduce the static in it. It only sort of worked, but anything reducing the static was a boon as far as I was concerned.

With computer you don't have the problem and quirks of physics and can do it any old way it looks good and is fun to do. Very liberating.

One thing I recall is that I was often times surprised when flying blind with watercolor washes in the real world that would have a line drawing overlayed onto it, how irregularities in the paint seemed to diminish and it suddenly looked much tighter when the line drawing was laid onto the color work. So I was intrigued with how far I could push the wildness of the watercolor and still retain the clarity of image I intended. Very different from straight watercolor with no line at all. In that case everything showed and all I had to really worry about was the color going lighter when it dried.

Anyway, Copespeak's idea is terrific too. Go to town with it and have fun!

05-03-2014, 02:23 PM
Mr Akey, actually the image you showed me was the type of loose watercolour I was aiming for but I'm still having trouble putting down the paint - I'm fighting against detail and smoothing the edges. Ms Copespeak's example is also something that I like and I found it easier to interpret.

These examples below were my first attempts about a year ago and while I like them I'm aiming for a looser style. Today I will work again on the example you gave me - as I said I started an apple but it took a different direction from the way I intended. I'm not giving up.:(

80753 80754

D Akey
05-03-2014, 02:56 PM
Hey, these look kinda nice!

I think the line quality you are getting here speaks of quick lines. They're rather thick and thin which reminds me of some advertising animations I've seen. The thing with animations is animators can control the line a heck of a lot more than animating color with detail in it. So these have a foot in both camps.

I don't really know how many styles you can draw in, but if you're having trouble with the images because of all these new considerations, why not pick something really simple like an orange or apple on a white table with a single light source and some reflected light and just see what the line does and the color adds. And on layers add some more line and take it away, and add color and take it away just to see what happens and how you like it. Does more line help or clutter? etc.

When you later take on a subject that's more complex, I recommend taking the drawings a little further but with perhaps a little more control over the line as if drawing with a narrower pen line yet with a little freedom rather than a brush (just for experiment). The reason for that when one uses color as a loose enhancement behind the line, the line pretty much carries the image and thus you can get looser and washier with the paint. But before you paint, get the drawing where you like it without the paint. Doesn't need to be a lot of marks, or maybe it does. Or somewhere in between. That's your call.

The very cool thing about layers is that they are creating little plateaus along the way that you won't backslide from. You can then freely mess with the paint underneath and not screw the drawing up at all. You can make "mistakes" all over the place and just turn those layers off when you don't like them or throw them out or you can layer them as transparencies or. . . or. . . Sky's the limit.

This is all in order to take the pressure off you as you do it because your looseness and relaxation is important. We don't want to over-analyze ahead of time because that would be getting ahead of ourselves and see what is happening as you go. and so just just see what happens when you dabble away with the color.

You can also adjust the layers making them more transparent and so on. This is just to get a handle on it as a starting point till you see where you want to go with it -- and if you like the drier style, that's also fine and dandy.

Last word on it for now: Let the white of the paper breathe through so it has a translucent quality. Lighter is often better. Not always. But in a lot of cases that's the better choice. . . that is if you want to hold the quality of a wash rather than opaque. You kinda have that in these flowers. It's close but it looks worked a little as if rubbed out to lighten.

05-03-2014, 03:34 PM
Whew! That's a lot to take in - I appreciate so much the time you are taking to help me. Onwards and upwards....;)

05-03-2014, 06:37 PM
Enug, I like you leaves and especially the second one that you painted. I also like the two flowers that you posted. I find the lily intriguing.

Also, thank you D Akey and Copespeak for you tips. I would love to be able to use water colours. I've never managed to get the right free kind of look.

D Akey
05-03-2014, 08:03 PM
Like so many things, it takes far longer to explain something remotely like this. It's not such a complex thing. But start with the simple parts that filter in and then expand as you get able to juggle more and more balls at once. You can do it. I get wordy sometimes. We all have ways of working and I came to mine after many years at it. I started out pretty much like everyone else and picked it up as I went. Just make it fun. The rest comes in due course.

05-03-2014, 11:26 PM
Thanks. I think I just get too caught up with details.

05-04-2014, 02:29 AM
Mr Akey- what do you think of this way of painting? You have to click on the 'Free Preview' to view the snippet I'm referring to. http://artistsnetwork.tv/p-282-the-pen-wash-course-with-margaret-evans-part-2.aspx

PS I'm still working/struggling with my homework.:eek:

D Akey
05-04-2014, 05:06 AM
I do like her accent, lassie. Hahah. I keep forgetting the internet is worldwide. Very delightful as I love accents.

Unlimited access to all their lessons for a monthly/yearly price I guess is how all these learning sites are generally structured. I have subscribed to guitar sites and software sites in the past and for me it's been hard to stay focused because I want to sample it all. :rolleyes: Sometimes it spread me a little too thin.

But with Art, which is generally less about absorbing detailed information and more about practicing skills, if one replicates the lessons being taught, I think you can certainly expand your bag of tricks. The only thing is that if you don't get feedback from a teacher, you lose the critique guidance portion of that and have to sharpen your own evaluation ability. Someone looking over your shoulder can see where you handle a brush a little differently for a better result, that would be missing. But not all teachers in the real world are that hands-on helpful anyway. So this site does have some appeal for sure, even if it's to try it out for a month and see if it works for you (if you were interested in taking classes rather than just referring to it as a technique so we're on the same page here).

So about the linked lesson, that is one way to do it surely. And in ArtRage you could do that with no fear whatsoever. You can lay in color washes definitely on a layer. Then you could go at each subsequent level of painting on separate layers. You can toggle those layers on and off or throw them out along the way so you would never kill a painting through a bad drawing on top of a wash, or when she painted in the boats and shadows, she could well have missed the mark. With digital painting, that is all editable. And of course there's always the [Undo] button.

So yeah, laying in the wash first and painting subsequent elements transparently -- to put in shapes and sharpen detail is a real world watercolor method. Where it differs from what I have usually done in the past when there's a drawing involved, I would usually start with the drawing. That way I know generally where things belong. But my background is illustration so seat-of-the-pants art making would not have worked for my purposes. But it's certainly legitimate for fine artists who can experiment and delight in happy accidents. All methods have their place.

The thing with digital is you can go at it any way in any order. Background color first, or line drawing first; you can let the happy accidents lead you or you can start with a "blueprint" and direct your paint to make that work. Depends a lot on how important the accuracy of your information in the painting is.

Just as an asides, about what that lady was demonstrating, when you are in among the hard core watercolorists, they would probably not think that using a pen or ink line at all in a watercolor would be legitimate. And they also don't approve of opaque white for highlights and things like that as it's crossing the line into mixed media. They *might* approve of a light pencil line for compositional guides (or not).

With her technique in the real world you would need to develop your eye and ability to look at something and get it down reasonably well with a brush and thinking in terms of shapes primarily (not a bad thing to be able to do). And were she able to just keep using her finer brushes to put in more and more detail via shadow and some line that way, she would be doing proper watercolor and there would be no need for ink line whatsoever.

But any way you get to the end of the painting is legitimate. And remember, you're not only ever doing one painting where everything has to be mature. You will evolve your technique as you go based on what you've done prior.

Hope this answered what you were asking. Looks fun.

05-04-2014, 06:04 PM
A good and thoughtful reply Mr. Akey - I felt it was such an interesting approach and wanted to know your opinion. Now I do.;)

05-04-2014, 09:05 PM
This is the sole survivor of many attempts. You may wonder why such a simple image took so long to execute - I've come to the conclusion it's because I can't draw! The line work is more important that the painting I now realise.


05-04-2014, 09:44 PM
Sometimes the most casual line work is the most effective!

05-04-2014, 11:04 PM
Your leaves and banana look great

05-05-2014, 02:47 AM
Thank you ladies. :)

D Akey
05-05-2014, 05:49 AM
No No. . . it's a good piece. . . and Ms Copespeak is right. Sometimes a loose drawing works great. It's all a matter of working with your abilities where you are at the moment. And loose carries a specific voice -- more informal, casual and personal sketchbook like.

And of course if you choose to develop your drawing skills, that would be great too. But I think that because you're tentative about what you're doing, it may not be hitting the level on every area you want -- not just yet. But that will come as you get a little more experience with the technique where you can put some of those things you're holding front and center onto auto-pilot and focus on specifics.

This is not a bad painting for all its looseness. You're zeroing in.

I think you had better eat that banana soon though. I'm looking at his brother here and yes, there are little bits of brown in the yellow skin here as well. I think I had better eat this one pronto. No portrait for this one.

05-05-2014, 02:12 PM
Thanks again Mr. Akey for your guidance. I know I should spend some time learning how to draw but time is running out for me as well as the banana.:p

The red apple was a breeze compared to the banana - who would have thought?

05-05-2014, 11:09 PM
I like Your delicate leaves paintings!

05-06-2014, 03:03 AM
Thank you Caesar for looking and liking. :)

D Akey
05-06-2014, 03:32 AM
Time is too short to work on drawing? Hahahaha. Listen, that might have flown when you were making up excuses when your mother asked you to do a chore, or be home by dark. But this posturing won't fly with me, you young stalker. . . er. . . banana. . . er, young lady. :rolleyes::p:):):):):)

05-06-2014, 03:59 PM
OK then, I'll pretend I'm young again with plenty of time to learn but I'm afraid no more dancing 'til the wee hours - I'll be home early - can't take those late nights any more or pretend away the arthritis. :rolleyes:

D Akey
05-06-2014, 06:27 PM
Ugh. I am truly sorry that you're in pain. You may stay out as late as you like, rug cutting or no. Sounds like dance is one of your creative things. Bet you've found lots of joy in it. Creativity will find a way to express however it may, I guess.

Well with the computer, just as in real world mediums, there are ways around limitations, as you probably know. Pen and wash, as Copespeak said, does not have to have drawings in any exactitude. It can be free and loose. Your marks are your marks and it's what you do.

Also, color and tone are less affected by linear precision. Your aesthetic voice can come through that way perhaps. I know this may come across as cavalier, but if you find a way of having fun with whatever it is, it will give you a whole lot more open road than you might think. Personal experience talking here. It may not be exactly what I thought it was going to be, but life can be that way. And I keep myself challenged.

You seem to be doing great. . . seriously. Cheering you on here! :cool::cool::cool::cool::cool:

05-06-2014, 07:26 PM
Thank you sir, I can hear the cheers way down here!

I'm quite bionic really, with having bits n pieces replaced and I'm flying interstate next week for some new therapy so I may be 'cutting a rug' or better yet 'leaping tall buildings in a single bound'. :D

05-06-2014, 10:15 PM
As requested! :) :)


05-07-2014, 01:16 AM
Ah! - thank you, a yummy banana but don't let it get overripe. :) I can see texture which mine is lacking. Do you use a regular watercolour brush or have you customised a brush? Seeing another interpretation gives me a comparision and let's me see how far off the mark I am with mine.

I bet you don't often get commissioned for something like this.;)

:o I remember now, you have already told me about the Gloop tool - I will use that next time

05-07-2014, 01:21 AM
... a banana from me too then ... LOL:o:D

05-07-2014, 01:44 AM
:D:D She looks snug in her banana sleeping bag. Now let's see what I can come up with next to see if you have a version of that also. No doubt Mr. Akey will have some marvellous comment on Miss Banana. ;)

05-07-2014, 02:02 AM
Reclining Banana Caesar! She looks so comfy! You are so creative and funny at the same time! :) :)

Yes, I do use the Gloop tool a lot and mostly have on this banana. I tend to get my rough in and then Duplicate the layer until the colour reaches the right saturation, then merge those layers down ... maybe erasing some here and there, and blending with the water colour blender.

I do get the Ink Pen and drop some saturated colour in and blend that ... see the green.

If I have the right shapes to start with I either select those shapes and keep that selection alive so I can work within that area without leakage. Or, lock the transparency, if that will do the job.

I've probably confused you terribly, so here's some quick grapes to make you feel better!!! I'm feeling fruity tonight. :) :)


05-07-2014, 07:13 AM
Enug: this paintings are great!;););)

D Akey
05-07-2014, 12:36 PM
Copespeak, that's one seriously great banana and the grapes are wonderful as well. It looks totally effortless, which belies the skill level. And therein is the mark of a great performance. Also shows that changing the line color can serve to give a particular flavor as well.

Caesar I think you got spun round a bit on this concept. The girl doesn't go into the banana. . . the banana goes into the gir. . . oh nevermind. . .
<Italians. . .Sheesh!>

Enug, so you're a cyborg. . . that's cool. Do you have GPS installed in your twinkling toes as well? Nothing like knowing where you're headed. Following the stars is good, but navigating using satellite technology is also heavenly.

05-07-2014, 01:32 PM
I've probably confused you terribly...

No you didn't confuse me - I've used PSP for many years so I understand, layers, blend modes, selections, etc. Thanks for the grapes, they are delish - taste good too. :)

damasoci - thank you for those encouraging words.:D

Mr. Akey - no GPS but I do have problems at airports and I have to be careful when walking past the fridge so I don't become another fridge magnet.:p

05-07-2014, 02:39 PM
I love Autumn colours and I think they are all beautiful :)

05-07-2014, 04:24 PM
A great thread on pen and wash as well as I really like all these drawings/paintings style. Very refreshing too. From autumn leaves to yummy fruit ! And, that banana lady from Caesar is priceless :p

05-07-2014, 08:05 PM
Thank You, dear Enug, Robyn, dear D Akey and Pai from Miss Banana too! I wouldn't cite Josephine Baker or a song in a famous Italian movie with Alberto Sordi about a comedy troupe travelling through Italy during the fascist period to add a cultural flavour to my humble visual joke, but girls and bananas were quite often related to each other in various teasing suggestions which are probably elaborations on what D Akey keenly observed and tend to raise crass laugh ... :o:rolleyes::)

D Akey
05-08-2014, 07:08 AM
Mr. Akey - no GPS but I do have problems at airports and I have to be careful when walking past the fridge so I don't become another fridge magnet.:p

Haha. Yes, they usually don't let us choose who will be checking our packages at the airport. Luck of the draw. Of course, as far as preference, from who I've seen working those posts, the correct answer is always "D. None of the Above, but thanks anyway. I'll call you sometime."

In and airport I was boarding a plane in Virginia, they had one of those x-ray scanners where you walk through and you stand like da Vinci's man and you know they are looking at everybody naked. . . and the real problem is there was NOT ONE sketch pad being employed by security. And not one request for action poses or even smiles. What a waste of naked.

You were wise to delete that line, by the way. You don't want to tempt fate. Heh.

05-08-2014, 06:32 PM
Yes deleted as sometimes the written word doesn't come across with the same intent as the spoken word.:o