I recently bought a new watercolor paper sketchbook. It’s gotten me inspired to try more watercolor work. I thought I would share with you the story behind my watercolor painting, titled “She Bites”. Prints are available in my store, here.
The Idea Behind the Watercolor Painting “She Bites”
I was sketching different ideas not too long ago. Sometimes I feel uninspired or want to challenge myself in my drawings. I go to various illustration challenge places for prompts. Sometimes it’s my 300 Drawing prompts book, other times it is various websites.
For that particular sketch, I went to one of my art challenge websites. I was given the prompt of “teeth”. I let my mind wander in a couple different directions to think of ideas. I was thinking of various imagery and deciding if I wanted to go ‘funny’ or ‘dark’ or ‘romantic’. There was a bunch of options and it got my creativity flowing!
Because I had previously done a “zombie mouth” design, I liked the idea of using lips and teeth together. They made a fun, stylised image. But this time I wanted it to be more sexy and romantic. A vampire made perfect sense. Dark and disturbing. Sexy while scary. Vampires are so much fun! I immediately envisioned beautiful red lips showing off some very dangerous looking daggers. And the idea was hatched!
The Materials for the Watercolor Painting
The sketch started with my usual tools. I used graphite pencil to lay down the shapes and ink to smooth out the design. Afterwards, I transferred it onto watercolor paper and outlined it with a light red prismacolor pencil. I use red because it’s not as harsh as black and could fade easier into the red watercolor paint.
I went in and painted with watercolor paints. I can’t speak too much on the quality as I don’t have a whole lot of experience with watercolors. I’ve had these forever and don’t even remember where I got them. I should really invest in some new ones. But I enjoyed them. The pigments were easy to blend with water. Once finished with the paint I went in with black ink. I did this to darken up the black spots, making the piece more graphic and bold. The final part was a light colored pencil to add a few details. I found that I just couldn’t seem to get with the watercolor brush.
The Process Behind “She Bites”
Watercolors have a distinct behavior and require a specific process when planning the piece. They need many layers on top of each other, as wet on wet will allow the colors to blend and bleed into each other. If you try to do all the paint at once it can become muddy and hard to see. I knew I wanted parts of the lips to bleed and blend into each other, so I had to plan accordingly. The other key to watercolors is to build from light to dark. It’s much easier to add layers to make them darker. But once the paint is there you can’t lighten it up (unless you go over it with gouache or something). So I kept it light and built it slow.
The Finished Painting
Here’s the finished painting! I liked how the watercolors built up through the layers. I got some subtle variations and some really vivid colors where I wanted them to be. I enjoyed the bleeding from the lips. I think I might try more experiments with this style in the future. If you are interested in a print of your own, “She Bites” is available in my shop.
If you’re interested, I have a whole video showing me painting the piece from start to finish. Check it out and let me know what you think!
I’m so happy to have you here to share this artwork with and truly hope you enjoy it. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. See you next time!