I mentioned in my last post that I am working on some Lord of the Rings-themed winter watercolour scenes, and I thought I would show a walkthrough of how I worked on one piece; which is Durin's Door (the entrance to the mines of Moria, or so I'm led to believe).
Firstly, I did some research and collected lots of imagery of Durin's Door as well as pictures of gnarled trees and the like. With this little collection I was able to sketch up this scene...
I did a lot of quick sketches to figure out how I wanted the composition/layout to be, did I want a lot of the trees to be in shot? How close did I want to be to the door? And so on, so in the end I came up with the above sketch.
Once sketched I used my light box to do an inked up version on some watercolour paper (I'm not very savvy on my watercolour papers I'm afraid, I'm in the process of just experimenting with different ones as I go along - I suppose I've not found one I'm amazingly happy with yet)!
The green stuff you can see on the inked version is masking fluid, so I was able to paint large sections (like the background) with ease rather than having to be really careful around the fiddly branches and such. Now having painted the piece, I wish I had used more, don't underestimate how much you are going to need!
So then it was on to the painting, I started with the background first.
I wanted the light from the door to stand out in the piece, and so was careful to make my paint fade to a more lighter colour as I went nearer to the door. I also added a light blue to enhance the ethereal glowy-ness.
Once I had finished the background I removed the masking fluid making up the pattern on the door cause I was too excited to wait to see how it looked!
I then moved on to the trees and basically all the other bits and bobs in the piece, just making sure I painted from left to right (being right-handed) so I didn't put my hand in any wet paint! (I still happened a couple of times though when I was jumping about the piece, but hey ho)!
And once all the paint had dried, I used a tiny bit of dry watercolour pencil to add to the glowy-ness of the door and to add to the lighting cast on the trees and rocks and such. I can't resist adding pencil to any watercolour piece I do cause I just like the rough texture it gives to them, I think it makes them look down to earth and homely I suppose.
So there we go, there is the finished product. Hopefully reading about the process is kind of sort of interesting or maybe even useful to people. Once all of the paintings I'm working on (just Rivendell to go! Woo!) are done I'm thinking of getting so many printed as greetings cards for Christmas time and maybe even a few as larger prints! Phew, and then it'll be on the next project I can think of! I should give myself a break sometime...