WORKS IN PROGRESS:Below is a crop of a WIP in watercolour, as usual with me the 'subject' is drawn freehand on the paper with very little measuring. I make adjustments with paint if necessary....and boy have I had to make a lot of adjustments with this one!.
This young snow leopard is named "Sky" and is being rendered on A3 300GSM Smooth (HP) Arches paper.
Many thanks to Steve Tracy (on Flickr and FB) for the use of his beautiful reference photo. Sorry Steve I know you would have preferred a scratchboard!, but a scratchboard using one of your other lovely reference photos is in the pipeline!.
There is around 5-6inches of paper below his right paw (your left), and 4-5 inches at the sides. Nothing is finished and I have to paint in the rock he is sitting on.. Lots of work left on the paws and chest. So far the painting consists of many many layers of washes/glazes and very fine brush strokes with a 000/0000/ brush in numerous colours. The right hand side is nowwhere near finished, being a 'lefty'I tend to favour the left-hand side!..
Although Arches paper has been really great in the past, I have heard of many problems with their 300GSM paper in cold press (rough) and I feel that this problem is/has also been present in the hot press (smooth).
I purchased this paper in a pad of 15 sheets in 2010, and was probably 'older' stock. This is my second watercolour painting since March/May 2010 and prior to that early 1991).
I have found this paper to be highly resistant to the paint in many areas, obviously due to sizing problems, and if you purchase this paper from a store with low turnover of stock you may possibly run into the same problems: ie: paint not drying for days, (hence mixing of layers); paint layers lifting off entirely up to a week or so after application; areas where paint doesn't take at all leaving holes in your artwork, paint sinking into the paper resulting in a great loss of detail, and blurry eyes where they should be clear and shiny. Other than that the paper is nice and thick and resistant to too much buckling. I have never soaked or pre-stetched my paper.
A3 300GSM Arches Watercolour Paper.
Windsor and Newton Artist Watercolour tube paints.
Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer watercolour pencil - white.
000/0000 WC brush.
#4 Smooching brush.
Mop brush for background washes.
I started these scratchboards some time ago, I am only showing a small preview of each board at earlier stages. The elephant and zebras images only show a small portion of these boards, whereas the chimp board is basically missing approximately a few inches or so -i.e: mothers' face, etc. So many more layers of scratching, re-inking and tinting (using either watercolours and/or inks) was done for each stage in layers, of course some of these boards are much further on......I have not used a fibreglass brush in any of my work - although they are very tempting as they can speed your work up to just a matter of several hours or days, and can be used for a multitude of textures and effects - they can be extremely dangerous to your health, your family's health and your pets if proper precautions and clean-up methods are not used!.
The only abrasives I have ever used and as little as possible where required are oil-free steel wool, sandpaper, and ink eraser. Care must be taken using steel wool and sandpaper also - and you should never sand past the ink layer into the clay!. My favourite tool which I have used for the majority of my work is the Ampersand Scratchknife tool - fine nib. The reference photo for the chimps board is courtesy of Emmanuel Keller (AKA) Tambako the Jaguar of Flickr. Many thanks to my friend Tamby again!!!!. The elephant photo is not any particular reference photo but from collecting information from several different photos, (and from what I remember from life) and is basically an exercise in rendering elephant hide and tusks at this distance. I have a close-up headshot SB in mind for later plus a multi-animal board.