Line and Wash – Damsel Fly


I wanted to try using watercolour on an ink drawing.  I decided to use foliage in a particular shape with a small animal, like a butterfly as the main focus.

First I worked out what sort of shape I wanted…


I tried several ideas for the main shape of my picture.

In the end I went for a spiral but I wanted the shape to form the structure of the picture but not be something that the viewer notices right away so I drew on some very light guidelines.

Then I began drawing.  Because I was drawing in a spiral I was concerned that as I moved around the paper I might smudge earlier work.  So, rather than struggling with that, I decided to draw in sections and then ink each section before I carried on.  This worked better than expected.



Gradually I worked my way around the picture…



…until I had my inks finished.



Then I used watercolour to colour and tone my image and then played around a little with my background using Photoshop.  (I had painted a simple gradient wash with watercolour but it looked flat and boring so I added some shapes with a large soft brush tool in Photoshop and then ran a filter over them to draw the changes together and soften them.)  Here’s the final piece…


10 thoughts on “Line and Wash – Damsel Fly

  1. You’re quite right. I was planning to adjust that background down – desaturate it and lighten it a little to make it less forceful. Unfortunately time got away from me and the post went out without the changes! You’ve clearly got a good eye, even on your phone!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m looking at this on my phone, so any of my comments may be way off the mark in reality. I love the ink drawing but although the finished colors are luscious I get the feeling (on my phone at least) that the colors mute some of the delicate ink work that I appreciate so much. Just an observation not a critique! The colors say power, the ink says calculated delicate complexity. I guess my brain doesn’t want to combine the two today.

    Liked by 1 person

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