Postcard from Washington D.C.

Greetings from the National Cherry Blossom Festival in our nation’s capitol. Milo and Millie took a quick detour back to the States to celebrate under the pink and white blooms before jetting off to Tokyo.

As you can see, things look a little different. I have been spending some time researching a bit on illustration this past week and reflecting on where I want to go with The Adventures with Milo and Millie. I decided that things were getting to be a little one-dimensional. Pick a place. Draw similar characters in new place. Paint. Repeat. Though I am fond of the simple outlined characters, I think they could be so much more.

I began the ‘adventures’ as a way to get me working toward character building and illustrations for nursery art and even possibly venturing into the world of children’s book illustration. Instead of growing, I began to settle in. It’s a feeling I’m very conscious of in my personal life. As I feel it creeping in, I tend to jump up and shake things up a bit. So when I began see it show up in my “postcard” illustration, I realized it was time to try something new and grow a little bit.

I decided to try my hand at ink painting with watercolor detailing for illustration. I’ve outlined a few of the steps below, more to wrap my head around the process, but also to bring you all in on the journey as well.

First, sketch. Get a good feel for your characters’ personalities. Use sharp edges for a more severe look and rounded edges for a softer sweeter image. I went with a little of both. I have also added in some movement through the petals, positioning and faces. Though I touched on movement and flow a little in my past illustrations, I have never really showed emotion through it. I’d like to connect with an audience and let them feel what my characters are feeling. In this case, whimsy and joy.


Next, I added the ink lines. This was my first time outlining my entire drawing in black ink with a brush instead of pen. There are mistakes. You kind of have to let the brush do the work for you, and I’m so used to being exact with pen lines. I got a few more thick lines than I wanted at first, but sometimes the mistakes became unintentionally fitting. After watering down some of the ink into different values, I applied light to dark throughout. At this point, things look very black and white.


I went back over the entire illustration with just two watercolor hues. I let them kind of run together and mix and flow until I got a palette of warm colors I liked. I applied them and then went back and detailed with black ink again to add some more accents. (Note: let things dry between ink and watercolor).


Lastly, I used some white gouache paint to lay on some accents and make a few details pop out.


All in all, I’m really happy I tried something new. I think the process added more depth and detail, and I feel like it expresses a bit of movement and joy. What do you think? I would love to hear your notes or if you have tried this technique before. Thanks!


16 thoughts on “Postcard from Washington D.C.

  1. Your work looks so beautiful, you have a wonderful gift.
    I had my first ever water colour class last Thursday but think I need to stick to writing and just sit and admire the wonderful work that others do with brush and paint πŸ™‚ Great work keep it up πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Tracey! Thank you for leaving such a sweet comment and for following! I wish you all the luck with your first watercolor class. I still remember my first three hour watercolor lab three times a week back in college. I was very discouraged at first thinking I’d make a mess of it all before I ever made something beautiful. I hope you will give it time and enjoy the process of finding your own style:-) thanks again!

      1. You are very welcome πŸ™‚

        Thank you so much for your wonderful encouragement it means a lot. You truly have a wonderful gift and I was blessed by you sharing it.

        Have a great rest of the week and keep up the wonderful work, God bless you lots πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you! I’m so happy you are enjoying it, and thanks for following! I’m a fan of your artwork too! I love how you accompany your art with little notes and messages. I also enjoy the pops of color your posts always bring. Thanks again for taking some time to say hi!

  2. Wow. I really appreciate this particular post because for a non artist like me, you helped me understand your thinking and process of how to create such a wonderful piece of art. I love it that much more because you’ve shared what you went through to get the lovely finished product. Brava πŸ’œ

    1. Hi Janah! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! I’m so delighted that you enjoyed seeing the process. I think I had to see it myself to define a clear direction for character building. It’s something new I wanted to try, and your feedback really helps me realize that taking time to explain things appeals to you and me alike. Thanks so much for stopping by and the lovely note πŸ™‚

    1. Wow, thank you! I really love to paint, and really hope to illustrate for children in the near future. A blog is such a great way to test the waters, so I especially appreciate your note!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s