25 June 2015

Illustration Step by Step: Preparing the pencil sketch for coloring with watercolors

Hello! I've recently finished this illustration:

It's been my first try at a watercolour manga illustration without the typical ink/pen/digital outlines, and I've documented my process to look back on it in the future and laugh at how serious I took this. Yes.

Whenever I try something new, I'm all about trying my very best - because if it doesn't go well, I'll know that maybe it just isn't a way that works for me, not because I was sloppy.

This was the initital sketch (left) and the transferred drawing.

I transferred the sketch onto a new sheet of paper using my light table and a soft pencil, because using anything harder than 2B makes it impossible to see my own lines against the backlight provided by the light table.

Using a soft pencil meant that the resulting drawing was quite heavily outlined despite the lack of pen or ink lines. So before moving on to colours, I 'redrew' the lines. First, I reduced their visibility with a kneadable eraser, dabbing away any excess of graphite and dust. This also smudges the drawing a little, so I went in with a hard (H) pencil to add definition and details to improve on the inital sketch.

The result were detailed, sharp lines that were at the same time barely visible. Using a kneadable eraser instead of a normal, hard one also makes damage to the paper less likely, so I was left with an ideal starting point for adding watercolours.

I've made a speed drawing video of this process, as it's kind of hard to explain in words without sounding over the top, haha...

Next part will be focusing on colours!

Material used for the pencil drawing:

- Printing paper (80g) for the first sketch
- 0.5 pencil (2B) for sketching
- Light table ComicMaster Tracer LED-A4
- Fabriano Watercolour/Acquarello in Artistico, Extra White/Hot Pressed, 300g/m2
- 0.3 pencil in 2B
- Pencil in H 
- Kneadable eraser 


  1. JUST WATCHED THE VIDEO AND WHAT. WHAT. WHAT????? YOU DREW THAT??? HOLY S%*T. I am in awe of your skills.
    I used to really really enjoy drawing, but I haven't done it in a while now. Your lines are ridiculously clean and geometric/'harmonious', because if I were to do the same in the 'waves' portion, they'd probably be all in different thicknesses. Aw man, I miss owning all these art supplies now! I used to take art classes for a few years, so I know the lingo ;)

    1. Thank you so much!! I've been lurking around your blog for a while and and to see you here is like WHAT?? So happy you like drawing (even if you don't draw atm) - but hey, where I draw clean lines on paper, I suck at eyeliner, so there you go. ;)
      But I love geeking out about art supplies as much as I love collecting makeup 'supplies' and drawing on my own face!

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