Study for watercolor painting

I’m visiting my brother Bryan and his wife Debbie in Cumberland Maryland, and yesterday Bryan and I went to New Germany State Park to do some sketching and watercolor.

I took a ton of photos, including one of my brother that I liked, and I plan to do a watercolor painting based on it. I did a study of the figure portion this morning; I’ll need to do one of the head and face as well, but I want to do that at a larger scale. Here’s the pencil sketch that resulted:

Figure study for watercolor painting.
Figure study for watercolor painting.

I had only one pencil, a 4H, so the shadows are too thin. Proportions are a bit off (big legs, small chest and arms), but I learned a lot which is really all I’m ever looking for out of a study anyway. 🙂  (And I suspect that I typically exaggerate proportions this way because of the way I hold the paper when I’m sitting; I do a better job when I stand up.) Minor technique that I worked on in this drawing: holding the pencil very far from the tip. It really does make things looser, will try to keep that one up.

Here’s the source photo I’m working from:

Source photo, taken in the woods at New Germany State Park in Maryland
Source photo, taken in the woods at New Germany State Park in Maryland

I don’t know why, but lately I’ve been really liking photos with lots of darks, and it will be interesting to mix up the darks with watercolors. Not sure yet if I will try to preserve the details – leaf litter, ferns, fallen branches – or whether I will go with a more abstract background.

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