View Full Version : Watercolor Sorceress WIP/ neon effects

09-01-2005, 09:49 PM
Hello All!
OK, I finally am going to brave it!
This will be a wip that I will show how to do neon effects in watercolor. I will also attempt to do darker shading, more realistic contrast on cold press to rough paper, while producing a softer look.
I am nervous about the shading, but It's time to grow!:)

The paper will probably be a Fabriano handmade paper- a mere $35.00 a sheet that I got for only $5.00. The guy at the art store insisted it was that price! This doesn't add to the tension at all:p (sarcasm is thick right now)

The sketch attached is how I start from imagination using a spine and three cubes.
I then outline a ribcage and pelvic bones. It then "grows" arms, legs and hands. This is only an outline to gain balance, gesture, look of expression and see the begining of life. If it shows life now- then I have a good chance of retaining that life through the drawing. Sparks will be flying from her hands.

I hope you enjoy this! I know my nerves are racked with excitement and caution! C&C's and questions welcome.


09-01-2005, 10:08 PM
Pulling up a chair fron and centre, seeing as I am the first..:)

09-02-2005, 07:25 AM
Hi Roger, tried to post earlyer, but WC went down. I did post in the Fantasy forum. I'm ready for my lessons now. I'll "try" to be very very quiet. :evil: So let's rock and roll! :music: Asure

Jade Scarlett
09-02-2005, 08:57 AM
Getting my chair and sitting right next to JJ.


09-02-2005, 09:58 AM
Thank you all! Glad your all so excited! Plenty of seats for all.
Your confidence definitely helps mine. I need an extra dose!!:D
As far as the size- it will be 22x30"
This one is drawn on a 18"x24" sketch pad first, I don't know how well the handmade paper I'm going to use will erase. It will then be transfered to the final paper via graphite transfer paper. The paper is Fabriano Esportazione- cold press. Dick Blick carries it and the price went down!:clap:

I will be using either old holland or Maimerie and M. Graham paints.
Watercolor definitely shades faster than color pencil- its just that darn dry time!
Color pencils are just easier to do softer looks.:)
I suspect that I will enjoy this very much- I may leave work early to try to get this going quickly.:p
Well Enough yapping I guess I should head home and start working before the sorceress puts a few hundred volts in me to get me working faster:eek: :D

Jade Scarlett
09-02-2005, 10:08 AM
Are you home yet???? Anxiously waiting.......


T Christensen
09-02-2005, 03:07 PM
Great ....I'm always searching for neon watercolors , do you have a brand that achieves this affect the best ?.........TerryC

09-02-2005, 05:30 PM
Wouldn't want to miss this one - WATCHING!!!

09-02-2005, 07:25 PM
Ok, I normaly can draw right on the final paper without too much correction. This time I started on drawing paper- good thing cause I messed up pretty bad- no laughing out loud!:D
I decided to show where I go wrong in this Wip as well as where I go right. In hopes of showing how I salvage things.:wink2:

Here's the progress- I've completely overwork the subject- the lines are to bold, her left hand looks mangled and needs surgery and a few other things. Most importantly some of the initial gesture has been lost. I will now fix this by tracing over the appropriate lines on tracing paper to clean her up. This often shows that it's not as bad as it appears. I then will continue to sketch as the paper I'm stretching- for the first time- dries. I never stretch because I'm spoiled and use 300lb- but this handmade stuff is 140-160lb.


09-02-2005, 08:00 PM
:clap: clappies for you, you are brave to be using that paper. One of our local ,very successful artists uses it a lot. I love it, wish that I caould afford it. Very interested in your working method. I frequently pre draw on tracing paper because I am a lausy drawer. I am lucky though that I have a light table. I ink the drawing so that I can see it through the WC paper.

Wishing you good luck that you can achieve what you are looking for.


09-03-2005, 05:20 AM
I too draw on tracing paper, because first it keeps my hand light and when I try to redraw something, it never looks like the one I'v worked out and I'm happy with. My sketch book is full of drawings that when I try to redraw, do not come out the same:(

Roger... this is comming along realy realy good.... Waiting :)

09-03-2005, 09:41 AM
Interesting! I like how you are showing your drawing progress as well.


09-03-2005, 01:29 PM
Thanks all- sorry this is taking a little longer to get to the watercolor part than I expected.

Aszureblue- I have the same problem- so I try not to trace the actual face- I complete it last to retain that spontinaety.

Otter, Patty,JJ, Terry, Uschi, and Jadee thanks for watching.:wave:

BTW Jadee- I love your personal pic- the pose and gesture is great, if its cool I may want to do a painting based on it- or I may try a little portrait work.:)

Jade Scarlett
09-03-2005, 04:20 PM
OMG, Roger, I'm so totally flattered (where's the icon for blushing???:D). I'm not really photogenic and this is the only picture I kinda like. By all means, use it if you wish.

BTW, still here anxiously waiting for your sorceress, I'm so totally into strong magical female beings, can't wait to see this! Your drawing is coming along fantastic.


09-03-2005, 06:04 PM
Checking on update - clappies!!!

09-04-2005, 06:08 AM
Where'd our teacher go!!! ROGER, OH ROGGGGGER, come out,come out, where ever you are :rolleyes:

I thought it would be fun to paint along with you. I learn much better by doing. So have my nude :eek: already and waiting :music: Aszur

09-04-2005, 06:25 PM
Hello All!

Thank you Uschi, Azsureblue and Jade. Sorry about the huge delay- I was called to work unexpectedly. :( Some new develpments- I had to change paper to
Jack Richeson 300lb because the handmade stuff didn't take well to lifting or masking.:eek:
I redrew the Sorceress larger directly on the 300lb. surface.

I'm glad you want to go along with me Azsure... sounds good!
I'm interested to see your nude.
Thank you all for your patience. :wave: :wave: :cat:
I posted the final layout on the paper
I just have to do the face, hands, hair and finally the magical sparks!
Believe it or not the easy stuff is whats left.:wave: Please Hang in there;)


BTW Jade do you have a larger picture?

09-05-2005, 04:45 AM
Squeezing in, last row, climbing on chair ...
Good thing that i haven't missed too much yet.
glad you showed your drawings and method, thank you :clap: :clap:



09-05-2005, 08:16 AM
Roger... I'm so glad I peeked in... your thread is already interesting and thought provoking... I've learned a great deal and you're just beginning!!!

I'm rating your thread... and will be back...

09-06-2005, 03:49 AM
Hello all!

Boy, what a busy weekend. I finally got some time to work on this. The sketch is all but complete- I just have to finish the hair. I hope to be doing the watercolor by my next post. Thanks again for your patience everybody!

Jutta and Charolette-glad you joined in and I'm glad your finding this informative. I hope its just as enjoyable as it is useful. Charolette, I look forward to the rating- thankyou- I've never had a rated thread before.:)

Here's the sketch/ layout on the watercolor paper. She is levitating a pyramid stone with electricity coming fom her hand. It starts from he fingers goes to the pyramind- focuses the energy and emits it from the point. The electricty will be glowing neon. Her staff is studded wih crystals that will be glowing as well. All the electrical sparks will be masked off with masking fluid.
Sorry if its hard to see-the lines are light- needed for watercolor. ;)

09-06-2005, 06:35 AM
MASKING FLUID :eek: "I know I have some", looking, looking, bump, bang russel russel. Muttering , looking, "Hold on I'm looking" :o

09-06-2005, 10:07 AM
So very interesting already :clap: Pulling up a comfy chair :D and anxiously awaiting the color!


T Christensen
09-06-2005, 02:03 PM
Looks fab so far , curious on how you treat the bg ...Checked out your site , great stuff , especially love the one with the Moorish Idol ( I've had a reef tank for 15yrs) . May I say you need to watch your proportions with the neck and shoulders ( too wide of neck and too narrow of shoulders) . This one looks great though so maybe you caught that . ...........{O< TerryC

09-07-2005, 03:04 AM
And let there be Neon! I didn't think it would be the first color.:eek: Nor did I think I would get the effect without the dark background being laid in.:eek: :eek:
I hope you like the way the neon is turning out so far.:)

Anyway- let me finally tell you how I did it.

I drew curvy lines with masking fluid- think curly willow. If you do neon lights, draw the middle of the bulb.
Go over the masking fluid lines thickly ( only a little water) with the color- I used M.Grahams Quin.Rose. Be sure the line is wide enough to cover both sides of the masking fluid line.
While the paint is wet spray it with a fine mist of water. Let the color bleed.
Use a paper towel to control how far the color bleeds. Blot lightly- Do Not wipe.
After the paint is dry, remove the masking fluid.
Sorry about the glare, the paint is still wet, the masking fluid is still on the paper. The reflection makes it look white though.
BTW, The hair was changed to give more texture and life.

Terry and Lauren, thanks for the compliments and I'm glad you could join in.



09-07-2005, 07:01 AM
Cool! But how are you going to keep that effect once the background is in?


09-07-2005, 07:44 AM
Roger, what did you use to apply the masking fluid with? Pin or brush? If I get it on too thick, will it be hard to get off? Bet you can't guess who has never used masking fluid before! :o

09-07-2005, 08:16 AM
Roger, what did you use to apply the masking fluid with? Pin or brush? If I get it on too thick, will it be hard to get off? Bet you can't guess who has never used masking fluid before! :o

Have a look HERE (http://www.wetcanvas.com/ArtSchool/Watercolors/SimmonsTips/usingfrisket.html) ..

I use a rubber cement pick up (http://www.dickblick.com/zz249/08/)to get my masaking fluid off. Doesn't matter how thick it is..

09-07-2005, 08:45 AM
Hi Roger... wow... interesting technique!!! But, my question is the same as Patty's... what is the background going to do to that wonderful colour??? BTW... is that quin rose???

09-07-2005, 08:45 AM
Hi Roger... wow... interesting technique!!! But, my question is the same as Patty's... what is the background going to do to that wonderful colour??? BTW... is that quin rose???

09-07-2005, 10:01 AM
Thanks for the compliments and questions Aszurblue, Patty and Charolette,

I knew the question of how I applied the masking fluid would be asked. Sorry, I should've put it in my post. So this is what my laziness and insanity had me use- the quill of a small feather split in the middle with a razor blade (x-acto). Didn't want to go get toothpicks. The feather came from my fly tying supplies.
I usually use a toothpick that has been split or crushed at the tip with great success. I don't use brushes as they get ruined.
BTW I'll leave the masking fluid on until the background is done.

As far as lifting the masking fluid- I find thicker is better- to a point. And nothing has worked better at lifting the fluid for me than the dried clumps of masking fluid on the inside of the bottle cap or outside of the toothpick.- did I mention I was lazy and insane?:p - use them like a tiny eraser- as you lift more masking the eraser gets bigger. This works better than my erasers!

As far as the Background- we'll see- just kiddding. I intended to put the background in first as usual but I thought I'd try something different in hopes of keeping the color bright. I'll paint the background in upto approx. 1/8" from the color- hit it with mist from the spray bottle and let the colors bleed for about 1/4". I'll use a thin line of BG color in between the sparks and mist only if I need to. The BG color will probably be less staining than the Quin Rose- so blotting any BG color thats to dark shouldn't be a problem.
The darker background should intensify the effect- or should I say illusion.:D

09-07-2005, 07:10 PM
hehehehehe.. I'm starting to like this. Oh by the way, will all of the background be dark?

Thank's JJ.

09-07-2005, 08:02 PM
I'm so sorry I missed your name:o ooooops:o
Thanks for the info on the Rubber Cement Pick-up:clap:
I'll have to try it- It will probably make life easier!

Aszure- Yes the whole background will probably be mottled shades of dark.
I may do a night sky though.

09-08-2005, 02:30 AM
Here's the latest.



09-08-2005, 02:49 AM

09-08-2005, 06:13 AM
Wow is right!! Is anyone alse doing a painting along with us?? Aszure

Sharon Douglas
09-08-2005, 08:50 AM
Fantastic effect of neon so far, I can`t wait to see more.

09-08-2005, 12:08 PM

Wow here too!!

The background is terrific!!



09-09-2005, 01:32 AM
Thanks Jutta, Sharon, JJ and Aszure. I'm glad your enjoting this.:)

Well, Here's the latest.:)

Finished the background and the crystals in her sceptre.
I also took the masking fluid off. Sorry the pic came out a little blurry.
Hope you're enjoying her.


09-09-2005, 04:24 AM
Your background is quick beautiful.. Looking forward to more please..:)

09-09-2005, 06:25 AM
I'm enjoying her very much !!!
I noticed you already did something to her eyes.



09-09-2005, 06:31 AM
Beautiful backround textures


Jade Scarlett
09-09-2005, 06:58 AM
WOW, this is coming along BEAUTIFUL. Can't wait to see more.


09-09-2005, 08:02 AM
Oh Roger, this is just sooooo cool!! I have made a proper mess of mine, can't get the masking fluid off in places :( think I diden't put it on thick enuff. Will start over today. :o Aszure

09-09-2005, 09:15 AM
Thanks JJ, Lauren, Jutta and Aszure.
Your comments are very appreciated.

Aszure- what paper are you using?

09-09-2005, 09:47 AM
Roger it's cotman 140lb cold pressed, 14x10 inch acid free.

09-09-2005, 10:05 AM
If its not too late you might want to try a paper with a stiffer sizing such as Arches, fabriano, or Winsor Newton artist paper. Strathmore Gemini should work as well. If the paper is to soft, the masking fluid will rip up the surface.
Buy a full sheet. You can always cut the sheet in half.

I didn't do any masking on the crystals, just some blotting and lifting. If this is good enough you may be able to skip the masking.

09-09-2005, 11:17 AM
Thank's Roger, printed out the list for paper and next time shoping will get some.
I just now got the masking fluid off!! :clap: I used my Top Grapic a-1 eraser and it came up like a dream. But still not liking the painting much. I did it free hand useing a brush (a first) pluss it's a emotional (another first) piece from my mind's eye. Never very good at these. So going to give it another go :music: Aszure

09-10-2005, 02:24 AM
I'm looking forward to seeing what you produce!
Emotion is greater than anatomical acuracy IMO.

09-10-2005, 10:50 AM
At the rate I'm going, not anytime soon!! But this is about your wip and neon like colours. So let the lessons keep comming :D

09-11-2005, 03:43 AM
Here's a little progress I got to today.

09-11-2005, 05:16 AM
Hi Roger, just lovin this.. What colour are you useing for the first lay down on your lady? How do you keep your lines on her so crisp and clean?

Well, I'm back to work today :( so will check in when I get home :music:

09-11-2005, 01:14 PM
I used the same colors as in the background.
Raw Umber, sepia and Lake Blue(Old Holland Phalo).
I also used Deep Ochre (old Holland), but Its so close to Raw Umber I' wouldn't use it again. I must say I'm very impressed with the Maimeri Raw Umber! Very Nice- I may have to get my Maimeri palette going!

As far as keeping the line crisp- a good brush and the rest is a secret- but I'll give you a hint- Its one word that starts with "P" and ends with "E".\
This is where my teaching skills lack- because I wasThinking to myself "I hope no one asks how I do the skin tones like this cause I don't know how i'm doing this!":eek:
I could never describe how I work on the figure, I could only show.:o
I scrub a lot, use alot of water- I buckle 300# paper and work in small sections very quickly. A good squirrel/ synthetic mix brush- or synthetic.

BTW- I have to give a lot of credit for the textures to the badger brush I made. The entire body was done using this single brush.

The Kolinsky weasel is endangered- and it takes many tails to produce a good brush- W/N series 7 boasts that it takes 600 to 1000 tails to make one dozen #12 and #14 brushes. I find that the sqirrel brushes are too floppy. And I hate synthetic- they release to fast. So I took my fly tying skills and started making my own from, badger, beaver, squirrel and fox. All plentiful animals and I can make many brushes from one animal. I actually buy the fur in 2X2" patches for about 2-3 dollars each. More "magic" seems to come from these brushes as well- they help me connect with the elements.


09-13-2005, 04:47 AM
The background is absolutely great!! And i really like the figure, all is coming together so well :clap: :clap:

Most of all i LOVE that brush!!! I used to make one out dog hair (used the tailtip hair). It didn't look as grand as yours but it was a superb brush.
My favorite brush nowadays is a chinese brush, perfect tip and very thirsty ;)



my new fineart website (http://www.diva-design.de/JBB/index.htm)

09-13-2005, 05:04 AM
Hi Roger, sorry to be late for class, but it takes me a few days to get back into the swing of things after being off work that long. My day starts at 1:30 am and trying to get to bed early so I get enuff sleep is a pain.

You "Make" your own brushes :eek: I have a hard time just trying to buy some!! I can be very hard on mine, so just stick with "good" ones now.
I am sooo :envy: , Maimeri paints!! Saving up for some..

Is the secret word Please? :rolleyes: My back ground is in yellows, oranges and reds. So not sure what colour to pull in for my lady. If not too tired, will try to work some on it this afternoon. Waiting... Aszure :music:

09-13-2005, 06:37 AM
That brush is also a work of art!


09-13-2005, 10:22 AM
Thank you for your comments Jutta, Aszure and Lauren.
I'm glad you like the brush and it's so good to hear others make brushes that work great too.

Jutta, what did you like about your dog hair brush? What size was it?

Aszure, no worries, what paints are you using? I'm using M. Graham, Old Holland, and Maimeri. Don't go out rushing for Maimeri yet, I still have a few colors to try. The truth is the paint isn't as important as the paper and brushes. So as long as it's a lightfast permanent artist paint. Old Holland is the exception- nothing performs like it- its just different, definitely not for everyone. Honestly the paper is what I find to make the largest difference.

If you have limited funds, put the money in a decent brush and invest good paper. I've scrapped at least 6 paintings before finishing due to the paper.

09-13-2005, 12:19 PM
Roger - my dogbrush was around a size 9. it was great for doing bold strokes and it formed a nice tip to do fine strokes too. Kinda like the chinese kaligraphy (sp) brushes do.
Tried to make one from our new dogs hair but it is too coarse.



my new fineart website (http://www.diva-design.de/JBB/index.htm)

09-14-2005, 10:22 AM
Thanks Jutta,

I just made one from grey fox- about a size 12 - 14. It may be too soft, we'll see!
I tried dear hair, but it was to wild and didn't release well. I need a finer part of the deer I guess. I want to start using exotic hardwood handles now or even eucalyptis twigs- very common here.

09-15-2005, 09:27 AM
Roger, just woundering where you get all that fur to make your brushes?? How long dose it take you to make one?

Because I also like to do acrylics, I pretty much stay in the middle of the road as far as brushes go. I do take very good care of them tho, but as stated before, can be hard on them.

How is your painting coming? Haven't seen a update lately, Pleaseeee :D
Do you have any advice on how to do pieces of broken mirror :confused: .
Think I have bit off more than I chew (ahh Paint). When drawing, I do just fine with the mirror look, but can't get the look with paint on paper :( Aszure

09-15-2005, 05:58 PM
Hi Aszure. Thanks for your questions and reply.

I get the fur at fly fishing shops- about $2 for a 2"x2" patch.
Synthetics are best for acrylic as they would destroy these fur brushes.
Broken mirror pisces would be gre or green or blue on the sides.
The main thing to create the illusion is the reflections and refration of the different angles a broken mirror would produce. If the mirror is cracked, whit crack marks might be enough.

I'll have an update posted tonight- I need to give her skin some warmth to it.

rue d'oak
09-17-2005, 01:29 AM
Whoaaa! Just dropped into a spare chair, and Roger, this is facinating :clap: and Azure, your work along is bringing up all kinds of interesting tips and approaches. Bravo to you both. :clap:

09-17-2005, 04:08 AM
Hi Jen! Glad you joined us. Thank you for the compliments! I'm glad your finding this thread useful.

Sorry about the delay - family/ work stuff.
This paper is realy giving me a hard time- its as if There is no sizing left- this never happened with fabriano or arches.

Well anyway here is the latest- I added Maimeri transparent mars (eh..its OK) Old Holland Vermillion red and Golden Barok- both colors to lust after.
I warmed up the body and face- I need to do more work on the nipples and neck- I may have to get mars violet- Old Holland's.
Hope you enjoy her progress.


09-17-2005, 06:46 AM
Wow Roger, your lady is really starting to pop! can't say that about mine, #3 is about ready to hit the trash can :mad: #4 coming up. I just don't have enough experience yet to get the effects I want. This painting just will not go away!! I just keep coming back and back to it(sigh) :(

I would like to take this time to say a big THANK YOU for sharing your time, patient's and marvelous talent with me and all who are looking on :clap:

Well on that note, it's back to the easel :music: Azure

09-17-2005, 07:21 AM
Looking wonderful..

09-17-2005, 12:46 PM
Thank you for you comments Aszure and JJ.
Its been a pleasure sharing with you all - I've been learning a good deal as well.

Aszure- Keep going- even if you don't get the exact effects you want- you can still learn from what you are doing. Many effects I do were discovered by mistakes made trying to get some other effect. Are you using any of the paper I mentioned yet? As I've learned before, paper can be great or lead to frustrations beyond belief, especially with these kind of effects.

09-18-2005, 05:34 AM
Hi Roger, thanks for the words of encouragement. I haven't gotten a chance to get the paper yet. At this point, the way I'm going threw it, cheaper is better.

I see the effects I want in my minds eye, but putting it down on paper is a whole norther thing!! I left it alone all of yesterday, but it keeps calling " fix me, fix meee". Maybe will work on it after work today, lord knows I'll be thinking about it enough. Azure :music:

09-19-2005, 03:02 AM
Here's the latest- almost done- this paper is becoming a nightmare, you can see the spot by her navel where it looks as though there is no sizing. Its happened on her face too. Hope you like her progress!:)

BTW Aszure if it wasn't for her calling keep going, finish me I would've stop because of the paper once the neon effects were done.

09-19-2005, 04:44 AM
She looks beautiful, shame about the paper...

09-19-2005, 05:07 AM
Roger, she is so lovely!! Now that she has a face, she is a person. What was wrong with your paper? I was too tired yesterday after work, to much more than say hi to mine. My work is very physical and this old body just wants to rest. :( Azure

09-20-2005, 03:43 AM
Thanks Azure and JJ.

The paper has spots missing the sizing- a lot of darkening when wet and lghtening when dry. It also results in a flatter plaster look- like an old ancient fresco- not bad, just not what I wanted.

09-22-2005, 10:38 PM
Yes, She is finally done!
Thank you all for veiwing this with me.

"Sorceress Amanda" 22"x30" Watercolor





09-22-2005, 10:42 PM

Oh heck sorry caps lock stuck..........

09-23-2005, 06:59 AM
Oh Roger, she's so lovely!! I was wondering when you would give her a name. I really like the close up of the electricity sparks shooting up. Thank You very very much, I have learned so much from you!! :clap: :clap: :clap:

I will be working on #4 some today, more in the mood for it. I've had two yucky weeks at work, so tired when I get home, that I'm not getting much done, painting or otherwise.

Again, I Thank You!! Azure :music:

09-24-2005, 03:55 AM
Thank you Azure,
I really learned a lot as well- I'm so glad you talked me in to this and that you have followed along. Thank you it is very appreciated.

I think I'll start another watercolor this weekend...I may do it as a wip if your ready for another.

09-24-2005, 09:19 AM
YOU BET IM UP FOR ANOTHER!! Bring it on!!!! :clap: :clap: :clap: Azure :music:

09-26-2005, 03:00 PM
OK Azure. I'm thinking of the pose and elents of the painting as we speak.

09-28-2005, 05:37 AM
OK, you think and I'll Wait. :) By the way do you know if there is a book on how to paint special effects? Cant believe I'm having so much trouble with a mirror. Keep coming up with a glass look :( Yup! still at it :o

09-28-2005, 03:58 PM
I'm sorry I don't know any books for special effects.
Start a new thread and show us what you have so far and what your trying to achieve.
I'm sure we can help.

09-30-2005, 07:12 AM
OK, might take you up on this... need to wait for light tho, It's 4 am here and still dark out. I'm not good at this posting thing, so may have some trouble with it. Which one would you like? I can't believe I'm still going around and around with this :(

09-30-2005, 09:35 AM
any one will do - maybe your last attempt and the one your working on now.