Monday, March 28, 2011

Wormworld Saga Watercolor Painting Steps

For the last days of the kickstarter campaign I felt encouraged to create a special item for a $1000 pledge tier. It had to be something really rare and unusual and I decided to create a watercolor painting. For the first time in 10 years (I'm not kidding you!) I took out my box of watercolors, cleaned the dust out of my brushes and filled two pickle glasses with water. I sat for hours to create an actual original artwork. Apart from my original pencil sketches this is my first original artwork in years. And I really had fun doing it! Here's the result:

I also want to tell you some details about my process. Since I wanted to have creative freedom with the drawing I created it in Photoshop. There I was able to balance the black areas with the white areas more effectively compared to pencil on paper. Here's the digital drawing:

I then printed a dark gray version of the drawing out on regular printing paper. I used a ballpoint pen and carbon copy paper to transfer the drawing onto the watercolor stock which I mounted with tape onto a small drawing board. In this picture I'm half way through the transfer process:

And here is the final result of the transfer:

After the transfer I took a lot of the carbon off the paper with a kneeted eraser in order to lighten up the transfered drawing. Then I started to paint with the watercolors. This is the result of the watercolor stage:

Now this was really lacking contrast and I was very anxious if the end result would look good but of course I knew that the final step of filling in the blacks would most likely do the trick. I used black pigment ink markers to ink the black areas. In this picture I was already half through the inking process:

At this moment I knew that the artwork would look very nice. The solid black areas build a nice contrast to the subtle coloring. I really like the result and it definitely is something very special. And it already found a new owner on kickstarter! 

I will create a painting like this (with a unique motive) for everyone who pledges $1000 on kickstarter and you have 3 days left to get hold of one of these (and a whole bunch of other prints that also come with a $1000 pledge by the way). And let me point out once again that everyone who pledges $25 or more will receive special edition prints as a reward. 3 days to go! All to be found at:


  1. Oh wow, that looks great. I should get back to water colours.

    Good luck with this project. You are a real inspiration ;)

  2. Thank you so much for posting this! I've always wondered how to transfer digital drawings to watercolor paper without buying a very expensive printer. I never thought to use carbon paper--what kind of carbon paper do use?

  3. Beautiful indeed! Thanks Daniel it's a great work, and great gift for fundraisers.

  4. Hi Daniel.
    Gefällt mir sehr gut dein Making of aber ...
    Dein Bildtransfer von Ausdruck auf Aquarellpapier Schein mir doch sehr umständlich.
    Warum nicht direkt auf Aquarellpapier drucken oder das Bild mit einem Laserdrucker auf Links ausdrucken und mit Hilfe der Nitrfrottage übertragen.

  5. @ Rachel:

    You know, I bought that carbon paper 10 years ago. I have no idea if this product still exists. It isn't anything special anyway. I think you can use any carbon paper that you can get at office supply stores.

    @ Kiwi:

    Wenn ich das häufiger machen würde, würde ich mir sicher Gedanken darüber machen. Für diesen Fall war es halt eine halbe Stunde Arbeit, die Zeichnung zu übertragen und das Schöne an dem Kohlepapier ist, dass ich die Zeichnung nachträglich noch ausradieren und damit auf den Level bringen konnte, der mir sinnvoll erschien. Übrigens habe ich beim Durchzeichnen auch noch ein bißchen die Zeichnung "interpretiert", so dass dieser Arbeitsschritt tatsächlich sogar noch eine kreative Komponente bekommen hat. Ich denke, für seltene Einzelstücke ist der Prozess durchaus geeignet.