View Full Version : Watercolour illustration- Medieval stories

03-16-2009, 03:57 PM
Hello. My name is Ilyas Phaizulline, I am artist from Russian Federation. I would like to start this new thread with name “Watercolour painting with Painter Ilya” where you will see my work in progress in my studio step by step. Also we will discuss this technique and may be create some artworks together.

Hi Ilya. Thank you for hosting this watercolour project.

The idea is to paint a watercolour along with Ilya, and post it in this thread.

Maybe choose a medieval tale of chivalry and illustrate an episode in watercolour. Perhaps, the don Quixote tale.

Tell us which tale or poem you choose and please feel free to add interesting links on the subject.

Ilya will be here to answer questions on watercolour technique.


As for my technique and palette I use watercolor paper stretched between two wooden frames. Also I use the plane table from time to time. First of all I create the drawing for watercolor (you can see it). Light generalized characteristic drawing. After that I start to work with watercolor. I combine the wet and dry technique. Wet for the common silhouette and dry for the details. I use the local tone to create the forms and after that I paint it anatomically and texturally. In common cases I use 5-6 colors. I never use cadmium. Exclusively earth mineral colors. If I did a mistake I wash it out and paint it again. From time to time I use the razor to do it. Because watercolor is very special technique I am working very quickly – 1-2 session.

And first artwork I want to start with you is watercolour painting “Resting Don Quixote”. Of course you know this hero of Servants. He is my lovely author and Don Quixote is interesting for me at each situation. But of course there are a lot of also deep and interesting theme for me as for the artist. Not only Don Quixote.

Some comments. Relaxed pose, slim volume the tale of chivalry, staunch jade Rocinante, desert landscape.








I am very appreciating your comments, ideas, sketches and artworks on this theme. About the composition, colors, background landscape etc. And of course about the way to continue these thread. I hope this will be interesting for you. If you want to know more about me and my art you are welcome to my gallery http://www.painterilya.com/indexE.htm (http://www.painterilya.com/indexE.htm)

03-16-2009, 06:41 PM
Looking forward to seeing your artworks.

Happy watercolour painting folks!!:thumbsup: :clap:

03-16-2009, 06:54 PM
I also want to add that your drawing of the resting don Quixote is very beautiful Ilya. Such a fine line.:clap:

For my stories, I am thinking of doing either Pocahontas or Maid Marion.



03-26-2009, 10:40 PM
Painter Ilya - i love your paintings and relish this opportunity, I will try and squeeze this project in. I'm off to google for a Don Q. image.

03-27-2009, 09:04 AM

I was thinking of using this image from the RIL as reference if I do the Pocahontas story.

Ilya, do you use reference material for your figure compositions?

Hi azul, nice to have you along...watercolours...you love them.


This project will run all through April. (possibly beyond that)....So plenty of time to join in!!:thumbsup:

03-27-2009, 09:57 AM

I was thinking of using this image from the RIL as reference if I do the Pocahontas story.

Ilya, do you use reference material for your figure compositions?

Hi azul, nice to have you along...watercolours...you love them.


This project will run all through April. (possibly beyond that)....So plenty of time to join in!!:thumbsup:

Hello June! In common case I am creating my figure compostitions from my mind, not from nature. Only at very rare case I use the models. Of course I use some books if I am creating historical painting as exemple. Don Quixote is my lovely book, I know this theme very well and I enjoy tmy work devoted to this subject.

03-27-2009, 10:07 AM
Here is the next step


04-25-2009, 07:01 AM

Sorry I'm a bit late getting going on this project, Ilya. Here is my drawing for 'Maid Marion- practising her archery skills', from the Robin Hood myths. Ths is a small one to start with, only 6 by 8 ins., on practice watercolor paper.

How is everyone else getting on with their watercolours of Medieval tales?

I changed the title to this project to see if it would generate some more interest! Hope that's OK.:heart:

04-25-2009, 10:06 AM
Ilyas, I just discovered this thread. I don't know how to do watercolor but I am watching how you do yours so I understand how a watercolor piece is completed. Especially when I have just discovered Honore Daumier and saw his renditon of Don Quixote too. I'm going to try and read the tale today.

I went to your website and your paintings are gorgeous, especially the war ones. Very involving with a lot to see.

I'm very much into learning to draw the human figure still and when I saw your piece Grief (http://www.painterilya.com/ScorbE.htm), I have to run back here to tell you how much I like it. I would like one day to do what you are doing with human figures!

04-25-2009, 06:23 PM
Ilyas, I got introduced to this thread by Sandra (gakinme) and I'm very interested in the medieval theme and would like to have a go with this. Thank you for giving this. Please tell me more about the colours you are using, Why do you choose to use only earth colours?
Because of this thread i have been looking at the British art movement of the 19th Century called the Pre-Raphaelites. Do you know of them? Aspects of medieval art influenced them greatly and they often painted highly detailed and stylized medieval romantic themes. I scanned a page from a book I have, painted by Edward Burne-Jones on large canvases. (8 x 4')In his depiction of the Sleeping Beauty tale the Knight comes across the sleepers in the story, these are the first 2 panels in the series of 4. The scanner didn't manage to get the colour, but I hope you get the idea. I may attempt to do a simplified version of maybe a detail of this or something similar. I am learning watercolour and I think this would be an interesting exercise.

I'm sorry its so poor quality. I hope you can have some idea of it.

Your drawing for your Quixote painting is excellent, did you do sketches first for the composition? I like the composition very much. I never have read the story, but the BBC did a brilliant dramatization of it not long ago on the radio. A very great work.

04-26-2009, 06:28 AM

Here's where I got to with my watercolour of Maid Marion...not very good, I'm afraid. This attempt is around 8 by 11 ins.

04-26-2009, 07:19 AM
I'm a little behind in the various projects, so I hope this one can be extended a bit so I can participate.

Ilya...I have a question: You write that you never use cadmium, and only 5 or 6 colors. Could you explain this a little further? Like, why do you never use cadmium and what colors do you use? Whatever story I decide to paint I would like to try and use your color palette.

Thanks, Janet :cool:

New breeze
04-28-2009, 11:39 AM

Here is indian twist to chivalry:


04-29-2009, 04:45 AM
Ilyas, Come back!!

June - I think the simplicity of your maid maeion is lovely. You've got her archery stance perfectly. I really like this one. Its a nice image to see the maid practising.

New breeze - I love the Indian twist - again a lovely simple rendition.

04-29-2009, 01:18 PM
Thanks Christinemir for your lovely comments on the maid marion.

New Breeze, I love your Indian miniature. We should do a project on Indian miniatures sometime!