One of the things that I am attempting to learn as I set aside this time to increase my watercolor paintings during Lent is experiment with my love of different formats.
I was trained as illustrator, but usually you can’t just do illustration from nature en plein aire or for that matter from from a photo you took for that purpose. Why doesn’t that work?
Mostly it boils down to the kind of connection you have with that image. Obviously, its hard to tell a story from just nature. You need people, animals, or an intriguing set up. Some artists have moved trees, added buildings, or changed the landscapes shape. This is perfectly acceptable especially for design and composition, but to tell a story you need a little more.
For illustrators context is everything. You would not put something in a place that would confuse the viewer. You have to be intentional. This is why there is a difficult line between limited market art and mass market art.
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The Outdoor Watercolor Learning Experience
Bring Him Up is a color comp. It is not a full painting. I wanted to experiment. I had a scene and a theme. Putting them together is difficult. When I started with a photo, these are some guidelines I used for invention:
Ask: What is this picture about?
Ask: What figures or objects do I want to include to tell this story?
Draw the figures from different angles.
Move the scene around.
Isolate and define the activities of the figures before putting them in.