Free Demo: Kris Parins Watercolor Step-by-Step

In the December 2010 Issue of Watercolor Artist, Kris Parins shows you how to use Photoshop to prepare a reference image. These 14 steps show in detail how she painted her piece, Let the Good Times Roll, starting with pours.

Original photo

1. I started with a preliminary pencil drawing on tracing paper.

2. I taped a clean sheet of tracing paper over the drawing, and placed a sheet of graphite transfer paper against the watercolor paper. Using a sharp pencil, I transferred the outlines of the white areas to the watercolor paper.

3. I transferred only the whites from the drawing to the watercolor paper.

4. I masked the whites with masking fluid; this brand (Pebeo) is blue-gray in color.

5. I wet the watercolor paper with water from a spray bottle. I  then poured the pre-liquified yellow paint into the warmest areas of the scene.

6. While the painting was still wet from the yellow pour, I poured red in, and then blue around the edges.

7. When the first value pour was dry, I transferred the outline of the next value to the painting surface, using graphite transfer paper and a sharp red pencil.

8. I removed the tracing paper; the next value can be seen outlined on the painting in graphite.

9. After the second masking dried, I poured yellow, red and blue to create a darker value.

10. I outlined a still darker value and transferred it to the painting, this time using a blue pencil.

11. Next, I applied masking to the outlines of the next value I wanted to save.

12. I poured the final and darkest value using only French Ultramarine Blue with some red spatter.

13. After the painting was thoroughly dry, I removed the masking using a rubber cement pick-up.

14. I added the final details using a brush, taking care to maintain the same flat quality of color already created by the pouring technique.

Let the Good Times Roll (watercolor on paper, 20×14)

Find Parins’ tips
for using Photoshop
to refine your reference image
in the December 2010 issue
of Watercolor Artist.


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