One of the ways I’ve been tolerating the COVID quarantine is by hanging out in my garden. I love all the colorful flowers that pop up in the spring and summer. I thought I’d try my hand at painting them in watercolor but with a twist. Instead, I grabbed my iPad Pro and Apple pencil and taught myself to sketch and paint them using the app Procreate.
Digital Watercolor Flower Paintings
I started with some California poppies. I grew up in California, and they have always been a favorite of mine. Their happy orange faces make me smile. I was disappointed that the digital watercolor brushes that came with Procreate didn’t give me very realistic watercolor edges and blending.
So I did some research and found a fantastic set of digital brushes, The Watercolor MaxPack (for Procreate) by Max Ulichney. He’s a genius. I’ve posted a sample of a few of the marks I can make with this set ($25 at GumRoad.com). I’m especially impressed with the watercolor bloom and the waxy colored pencil.
The iris watercolor painting was next. This painting was better but still didn’t look like an actual watercolor. My final picture was the leaves, and I can see even more progress.
I look forward to painting some more botanical ink & watercolor sketches with Procreate. If you have an iPad, you should give it a try. Procreate is only $9.99 for a one time purchase. They even have a Procreate Pocket version for your iPhone for $4.99.
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This spring, I used my iPad, and the app Procreate to develop some painting ideas for a commissioned beach-themed artwork. Painting digitally is helpful because you can work with the client to try out different ideas without actually applying paint to canvas. You can easily go back and remove the changes with just a click of a button. In this sketch, using the client’s comments, I lightened and softened the large areas on the right. Then I add more tan and reduced the darker areas. I thought you might like to see how the final painting turned out. To the left is the revised digital sketch.
The final painting “Nantucket Summer” is now happily hanging in my client’s home on Nantucket Island.
Figuring out exactly what type of painting a commission client wants is harder than you might think. I start with having them review my past work and telling me which elements appeal to them. Then I ask about size, color palette, mood, and more.
I’m just starting a new commission and I thought it would be fun to share the process. The client wants the painting for her bedroom in Nantucket. She likes my “wonky circles”, the botanical elements, and the texture of layering paint and collage elements in my other paintings. She needs a 30″ x 40″ canvas and is thinking of something with the ocean. Her color palette is blue, tan, cream, and orange.
I decided to paint some sample ideas to narrow down her preferences even more. I was traveling last week so I couldn’t whip out paints and canvas on the airplane. Instead, I tried out the painting app Procreate on my iPad. Here are three ideas I presented to her.
Study One – A soothing, soft painting to enhance the calmness desired in a bedroom. The painting loosely hints at plants living both under and along the shoreline of the ocean.
Study Two – A more graphic style with the energy of the crashing waves streaming through the tide pools
Study Three- A more abstract image with lots of layers of collage-paper and paint. It’s an underwater scene of a reef that teems with life. The surging currents sweep the elements back and forth with the tides.
What’s your favorite study and why? Next steps…to talk more about what she likes, changes to make, additions or subtractions, color tweaks, and more. Stay tuned!