Day 42 – A Chinese Tea Farm in Ink and Water

I love reading the National Geographic Magazine.  It’s like being able to travel and see loads of interesting things without leaving the comfort of home.  I was tidying out a bookshelf when I came across a really old issue from 2010 about Mount St Helens:

natgeomtsth

 

In it was an article called ‘The Forgotten Road’ about an old trade route in southern China where they used to trade horses and tea.  There was a beautiful photo of a tea farmer in southern Yunnan province drying his tea.  In the background was, what I think was, his home.  It was obscured by the drying tables for the tea and was at an angle but I could see enough to use it as the basis for a sketch.

I tried something new with this sketch.  I used the reference photo for some of the colours and a number of the details but I drew the man’s home from straight on and in the photo is was at an angle.  I made up what I couldn’t see and added other elements which weren’t there at all.  Since the builing he was living in looked really old I drew a person who might have been there a few hundred years ago in my picture.

I inked the sketch again with the Kuretake water soluble pen and then again used a brush and water to draw the ink out to make a grey scale wash.

Here’s the finished ink drawing…

chinese-farmink_finweb

 

I felt I had better control of the ink the second time around but I still found it to be brillliant fun!

Once I’d scanned it in I began to colour it in Manga Studio.  I started using the colours I could see but quickly added a whole raft of colours which weren’t there.  I used the three cell shading technique I’ve been working on lately but blended the shades afterwards so that the colours worked well with the ink style.  Here’s the final picture…

chinese-farmcolfinweb

I like this one much more than the boat picture I did yesterday.  It has better tonal range and the light is coming strongly from one side which, for me,  helps add to the drama of the moment.

The method I used to paint this digitally could very easily be adapted to traditional watercolours.  I might think about doing that in the future if I’m feeling courageous.  🙂

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