So, today we come to the conclusion of the steps it took to create The Pic-a-nic on the Grass, a parody of Èdouard Manet’s The Luncheon on the Grass from 1863. While the background is virtually finished, the characters and some of the foreground elements need to be painted.
The characters and foreground elements receive a bit of watercolor paint.
Color choices were once again fairly easy. Yogi, Boo Boo, the Ranger and Cindy Bear all have predetermined color palettes from their days in the cartoons. The clothing items on the picnic blanket are right out of Manet’s original painting. The basket, food, and checkered picnic blanket were my little doing while keeping in mind the cartoony nature of Yogi Bear’s Jellystone National Park world.
Like with many of the background elements, wet the blank areas with water first, let them sit a minute to allow the water to saturate the paper, then the paint should be applied on those wet areas. The result is a pretty smooth application of color with seldom random edging in the middle of the figures. You can really see in the image below how the transparent nature of watercolor paint allowed for the purple underpainting to show through creating the shading on the figures.
Cindy Bear and Boo Boo with their top layer of color applied with the purple underpainting showing through creating the shadows.
Originally I had thought to use a dark gray/black for the eyeballs and noses of the characters, but upon reaching this point in the work, it seemed best to just darken those areas with purple. My #2 brush was useful for those areas along with the mouth colors.
Do you see the highlights on the noses? During the first pass at painting the noses (which you can see in yesterday’s post), I had left the top areas paper white. In this later step, I painted some purple in lightly, then let it dry a bit. Once it was mostly dry, I went in with a wet brush and applied water, then tamped up the color lightly with paper towel. In essence, I removed some of the purple which helped give the nose highlights a gentle edge and still remain light purple. Sometimes painting is knowing when to remove paint.
So now that everything is painted, it is time to finish this up. This is where I leave painting behind for a bit and rely on drawing skills. For this image, the edges of the characters are going to be defined with colored pencils. Creating a dark line for the characters will help to define them as foreground elements, and it is a common cartooning convention. Once again, I do not use a black pencil, but I do resort to using a dark purple color called Black Grape (#PC996 in the fine line of Prismacolor pencils).
You can see the colored pencil line is pretty tight, with some sketchiness to help keep things a little loose.
You may notice in these close-ups that there are also some highlights. Those were painted in with some watered down white gouache paint after the dark outline was drawn first. An exception to that is the white on Yogi himself. In his case, I used a white colored pencil for some of his highlights in combination with white paint. The white pencil captured the texture of the paper better.
The tough part wasn't creating the highlights, but was trying to keep the real Yogi and Ranger still while they modeled for me.
So, there you have it. That’s how you can create a fun watercolor painting in five easy steps! It is fun to see what looked like a little bit of a mess in Step 3 has now come together all ready for a gallery show. Now you pick a subject and give some of these techniques a try!
Here is the final 21x17 inch better-than-the-average-bear painting all ready for hanging!
This painting is for sale. Original watercolor image area is 21×17. $2,000 plus shipping. Frame included.