Always learning ~
 
It may seem strange, but when I get stuck on a project I'll set it aside and try to learn something new. This way I can disengage my brain so it stops spinning its wheels, step away from the problem to clear my thoughts, and expand my skill-set. Then when I'll reapproach the project with fresh eyes and sometimes new tricks that can often unjam my block. 

So this time around while being stuck on the comic, I decided to dust off my watercolor skills from when I was in middle school and high school. I love watercolors becuase I like how you can get these thin layers of color to build up, almost ghost like tones that blend together and create something ethereal. Of course when I was in school my skills weren't so refined and I worried I'd be just as heavy handed this time around. And at first I was - but as I kept doing paintings, slowly I relaxed and remembering various things I've learned over the years got into a groove now where I'm having fun doing these paintings with my morning coffee. It's like a new morning routine that helps me relax and face the day (which is very important right now with a lot of stress still carrying on from last year.... ).

And while right now I'm not doing characters related to the comic at all, I hope to change that soon. I hope I can use these skills to help create pages that I like without Photoshop filters. I also hope to use it to help me create color designs for dolls to help me paint them and design their clothes. 

STEPS IN RELEARNING WATERCOLOR (small disclaimer, yes there's a typo, sorry! )

Okay, so I have to admit that my little rabbit girl isn't the first one I did. Before her I did one failed painting to get a feel for the paints again (technically I'm using watercolor pencils and gouache). Then I did 6 basic paintings of yokai to learn color blending. After that I did two for fun pieces to work in sketches with the painting. Then I took up my pad and started to sketch a face as I watched TV (well, actually we don't have cable TV anymore - but my roommate and I spend perhaps too many evenings watching random dramas on Dramafever). The next morning, I gathered up my courage and started to paint. 

Using a lot of thin washes, I started out with her face, slowly building up the colors mostly in the areas I knew there would be shading. My set of gouache actually has a color called flesh which thankfully works really nicely as a base color for skin, so I didn't have to worry about mixing colors yet. I then moved on to her hair and then the fine detail areas. The part that gave me the most trouble was actually the flower - as much as I love flowers and botantical drawings/paintings, it's not a skill I've managed to learn no matter how hard I try. But I'll keep on trying and maybe someday I'll have a break through ^^

All total it was about an hour and a half to sketch and about an hour and a half to two hours to paint. I think it took so long because I was very careful in adding my colors and letting parts dry before laying colors on top for fear of ruining things. It might get faster as I get more of them done.