I have recently written about a new digital watercolor technique that I’ve been exploring with Google SketchUp and wanted to feature this traditional watercolor process that the talented illustrator Michael Abbott used for a proposed golf course development. I built the original SketchUp model for Michael and he illustrated this beautiful traditional painting using the following steps. (I have included enlargements with the original images for you to see more detail)
Step 1. Conceptual Master Plan. Our planning team designed the golf course and club house adjacent to mid-rise residential buildings. The visual presentation material for this development included several watercolor paintings of the golf course and other amenities.
Step 2. SketchUp Massing Model. I built a simple SketchUp block model of the golf clubhouse complex. Knowing that the buildings were only going to be seen from the aerial perspective, I made the effort to insert just enough model detail for Michael to illustrate and not waste time with too many windows and roof details that would never be delineated in the watercolor painting.
Step 3. Ink LIne Drawing. Michael enlarged the aerial view to 17”x24” and first created an overlay pencil sketch of the scene for team review and comment. He then illustrated the scene on 1000H vellum with a .25mm fine point Rapidograph technical pen. His line drawing was scanned at 300dpi, lightened in Photoshop and printed onto watercolor paper with waterproof inks using an Epson wide format printer.
Step 4. Traditional Watercolor Painting. Michael had the print of his line drawing mounted on heavy foam board and proceeded to paint directly onto the paper with traditional watercolors. Some of the white highlights were painted with opaque paint. Note: many watercolor artists are integrating digital reprographic techniques into their visualization process. Once their watercolor paintings are completed, they often scan the image and continue improving the contrast and color in Photoshop!
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