Zentangles and watercolor are working well together, especially on a large scale forest painting, see what steps you can take to paint and draw some beautiful zentangle trees.
Start by painting the foliage behind the zentangle trees with watercolor wet into wet:
I did mount my paper on board before starting to draw and paint as the paper would be too big to manage by itself.
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After I made a rough outline of the trees on the paper I did start to paint the background foliage.
I did preserve a few whites with masking fluid before starting to paint the foliage wet in wet, letting the colors mix on the paper.
I am painting around the trunks, as their edges are pretty straight, I didn’t need to mask them all with masking fluid. Besides, I like the effect of a sometimes uneven edge on the trees trunks.
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This fluid is used to create striking white highlights or to mask areas for overpainting at a later stage. It forms a fast-drying, water-resistant film on watercolor paper and board, and is easily removed when dry.
To paint wet into wet with watercolor, I am just painting one color next to the previous one while they are still wet and let them mix on the paper.
At the end of this stage, the painting looks like this.
Painting the trees trunks and the foreground with watercolor wet into wet:
The next step for me is painting the trunks and the foreground. To paint the trunks I lay the painting on my easel in the most horizontal position my easels allows me to have.
I am setting up the materials next to the easel.
Painting at an angle allows the paint to run, mix wet into wet and makes really beautiful textures on the tree trunks.
This is what the painting looks like after all the surface has been painted
Same palette of traditional colors the great masters used a century ago. Liquid-poured means semi-moist pans respond instantly to a wet brush. 24 pans in plastic case. Also individual pans. – Master Set
The I am taking off the masking fluid, either by pulling on it,
or by using an eraser. You can also buy a masking fluid pick up tool but I like better using a regular eraser.
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Softening hard edges left by the masking fluid
When removing masking fluid, the transitions between the painted paper and the white paper are very defined and unnatural looking, this is what is called hard edges.
I am softening them with a stiff brush and water, now I have more natural looking edges that are soft.
Drawing the zentangle trees
The next step is to add designs with markers, I free hand draw some of the designs, overlapping the zentangles and the trunk watercolor washes.
And for the more complex ones, I am drawing a grid with pencil that I will erase when the design has been completed.