Friday, 11 April 2014

learn: Watercolour Collage with Nicky Johnston


This is the illustration I did for week 11 – Architecture. I have been fiddling around with some collage effects for a little while, and decided to use this technique with this illustration.

I didn’t take progress photos of this exact work, but have replicated it to show the steps I used to create it. I am by no means an expert in collage, but am happy to share my personal process.

To begin with, I drew a quick sketch of the building shapes I wanted to use.





Using my light box, I lightly drew an outline for the background which I painted in watercolour. Using a very wet brush, I mixed the colours I wanted to use. I began at the top and painted the shape, adding lots of water and paint to allow it to seep.

Working very quickly (so the paper doesn’t begin to dry) I changed colours, painting the bottom (keeping it very wet, as well) then blended the two colours to create the horizon. I allowed this to dry completely before doing anything with it.

I usually do a few background blocks because I am impatient and sometimes never sure which one I will actually use!

(Below is one I didn’t use, but is still shows the effect.)

 



Next, I traced over each of the building shapes, cutting them out and using a fine liner to give them an outline.

I have had my light box for decades (I saved it from the tip, from a printing business that was closing down) but you could easily use a window and natural daylight to get the same effect.




Once the buildings were stuck, I cut the card, leaving a 1 - 2mm white edge around the buildings.

I used the colour tones from the sky to add shading to the buildings to give a 3D effect, painting darker the buildings that are behind the front ones.

I then attached to the watercolour background using padded double-sided tape. You could simply glue it to the watercolour background but I wanted to enhance the 3D effect by having the buildings appear slightly above the background.

I did the same process with the balloons, although I painted directly onto the card, so the red colour would really stand out! I made the balloons appear to float by simply making them bigger the further out of the city they flew.

I have had a lot of fun with this collage and I have now even created my own ‘text newspaper’ documents to print as I require for any future projects.


See more on Nicky's fabulous work and books at www.nickyjohnston.com.au.

4 comments:

  1. Great little demo Nicky. Something anyone could have a go and explore creatively. Love the balloons - nice touch.

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  2. This is great Nicky, so simple and effective. It is the attention to detail that makes the difference. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  3. I love reading how artist's create their works.
    How lucky to find a light box that way! You have inspired me to do some collage in the next few weeks. Thanks for giving us an insight into your processes, Nicky.

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  4. Fabulous. Inspirational, I love seeing your process.

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