The idea is to outline your drawing with the soluble lines, and then paint inside the shape with a wet brush or water brush to dissolve some of the line into a sort of automatic shading.
I had tried this a few times before, but had not given the idea a real workout.
No time like the present . . .
I like the look in black & white, but I was more interested in how this trick would work as an underpainting for watercolor.
The tricky part would be to add a wash or glaze over the shading without moving it around too much or polluting the glaze color.
So, I thought of Inktense pencils, because once wet and dried, they are supposed to be permanent. This is a relative thing of course, because if you haven’t actually wet the Inktense thoroughly, it is still soluble.
(I learned more than I ever even wanted to know about Inktense when writing my Inktense Soup to Nuts Workshop, and you can too. If you are intrigued by these pencils, check it out.)
It turned out that in a smaller space, if the whole area got wet, the Inktense would dry into a flat wash, but if you left a white area in the middle of a larger space, you could get nice modeling.
And it turned out that my favorite result came from painting a watercolor glaze over the dried Inktense shading . . .
But, I did make some other interesting discoveries, and I will give you a close look at them here.
My least favorite leaf resulted from outlining with a Koi Brush marker. They are rich and juicy, and very hard to control once you wet them. Over painting then made a real mess . . .
This isn’t horrible or anything, but not subtle either!
Because graphite is somewhat water soluble, I tried a #2 pencil with this technique and then overpainted with a watercolor wash.
Subtle, but I think a little too subtle . . .
Finally, I discovered something really interesting about some inexpensive markers I had been using to paint some wildflower illustrations last summer.
They are called Fibracolor, come from Italy and cost only about $22 for 100 at Amazon.
I think I like them the best of any water soluble marker for this painting technique.
Anyway, we all know black is made up of many colors (all colors if you’re talking pigment).
This shading technique brought out the colors in the black marker and made things very interesting . . .
Look even closer . . .
I just love that!
This test was done in my Stillman & Birn Beta Sketchbook.
I hope you have learned something useful from my little leaf test. I certainly did!