We have now moved on from our printing unit into our painting unit. For the first two projects in this unit, we used water color. This first project used water soluble pencils, and when you applied water to the colored surface, it would become water color. Using scraps of maps and creating a collage with them, we created a reference for our imaginary water color maps. In addition to using this new kind of water color material, our other main focus was color composition.
Part I: Creating the Map
The materials used for this part were as follows: map cutouts, glue, a medium sized piece of paper, a medium sized water color canvas, H pencil, eraser, and permanent marker-pen.
Before we began creating our fictional maps, we selected several cutouts of real maps from Mr. Laurence's collection. Then, we overlapped them and glued them onto a medium sized piece of paper, creating a collage. The purpose of this was not to have something to copy "verbatim" (as Mr Laurence says), but to have a sort of reference to give guidance to our drawing.
Once we finished making our map collages, we could then proceed to making a sketch of our maps with the H pencil onto our water color canvas. Since I had chosen map scraps that had many different detailed lines, I chose to simply sketch the larger roads, routes, and landmarks in my map. For example, I had chosen a map of a piece of land by the ocean with a couple islands around it. It had several complex thin lines on the peninsula representing roads, but for my map sketch, I only chose to create an outline of the peninsula and islands.
Now that I had completed a general outline of my map, I could deviate from the collage and add my own personal charm to it. I wanted my drawing to be a hybrid world of all the places my original map scraps had been of: Kyoto, France, Munich, Chicago, and the Island of Mull (Scotland). At the same time, my map didn't have any important landmarks, so I wanted to add some of my own landmarks. In the end, my final sketch included a Mer-Lion-like statue, a Japanese temple with deer-like animals nearby, and a hot air balloon floating overhead. I also took inspiration from some of my childhood picture books and drew a treasure map with an "X" over my map's island.
When I had completed my sketch with pencil, I outlined and refined it with thin permanent marker. Once I had finished outlining, I erased all of the remaining pencil lines, leaving only the permanent marker.
Some challenges I had faced during this part was using my original collage as a reference point. At first, I was afraid to deviate too much from it, but once I realized that it was only meant to be a guide, I then created many of my own roads and landscapes. After my first draft was completed, I realized I still had some empty space where my map's ocean was. To solve this, I drew a compass, a whale, and mermaid tail (although it looks more like tempura), and a sail boat. This added my own imagination into my map, and I am very pleased with the outcome.
Additionally, when I first began outlining, I had accidentally taken a thicker marker instead of the thin pen-like one I was supposed to use. I was thinking of simply continuing on with the rest of the outlining with this marker but the realized it would be difficult to outline the smaller details later. In the end, I switched to the thin marker-pen. Despite this, you can still the bolder outline of some of my maps' features on the left side. Although this happened, I am still satisfied with my final outcome.
Part II: Coloring with Water Soluble Pencils
The materials used for this part were as follows: water soluble coloring pencils, a bowl of water, a fine-tipped water color brush, a flat-edged water color brush, and color wheel.
For this project, we had to demonstrate our understanding of three kinds of color combinations: split compliment, triadic, and warm/cool colors. To show these three kind of color combinations, I divided my map into three sections, designating one color combo to each section. There aren't any definitive lines or boundaries to mark these transitions, but you can tell where they are based on my map's more obvious lines. Firstly, the entire section of my map that includes the ocean and island is where I used the split complimentary colors of blue, orange yellow, and orange red. Then, moving to the right where my map begins on land, you'll see I used the triadic colors of purple, green, and orange. Finally, following the red road that ends with the Mer-Lion like statue and the trees beside it, I used warm and cool colors.
Before using any water and activating the paint inside the water soluble pencils, I first colored everything according to these color combinations. First, let's talk about the split compliment colors. On the color wheel, you'll see that on the left and right of each colors are colors that are a "step" closer to the next closest primary color. For example, on the two sides of orange, there is orange-yellow and orange-red. As you can probably guess, the orange-yellow is a "step" closer to yellow (hence making the color more yellow also), and the yellow-red is a "step" closer to red (hence making the color more red). For split compliment, we used three colors. At first, we choose a color, then look at the color directly across from it on the color wheel. Instead of using that compliment color, we used the colors on the left and right of it, the "split colors" of the original color's compliment.
For this color combination, I chose blue. Blue's complimentary color is orange, so then I would use the two colors beside orange: orange-yellow and orange-red. In order to achieve this color, I would first color down a layer of the lighter color, then layer on the darker color on top. This way, when I painted over it, the two colors would blend and create my desired color. An example would be first layering down yellow, then orange (since yellow is a lighter color). These three colors (blue, yellow-orange, and red-orange) were what I used to complete my first section on the far left.
The second color combination we had to use were triadic colors. These were any three colors on the color wheel that were evenly spaced apart, creating a virtual triangle when you connected the lines between them. For example, I chose the triadic colors green, orange, and purple. Like with the first section, I first colored in the roads and shapes with colored pencil before adding water. The only different thing I tried here was that I left some spaces white. Mr. Laurence said that it was good to leave some "breathing room" for the viewer in the face of all the color on our maps, so I decided to leave the footprints, the swan, the spaces between buildings, the spaces between my thin orange road lines (on the far left), and the walls of my stilted house free of color.
The last color combination was used from the top right corner to the bottom middle of my map. You can clearly see a red road dividing sections II and III. Here, we used warm and cool colors. Warm colors were colors that we associate with warmth and heat: red, orange, yellow, and the colors between them. On the other hand, cool colors are those we associate with lack of warmth: blue, green, purple. However, the colors between warm and cool, red-purple and yellow-green, can be either warm or cool depending on the colors around them.
Essentially, all of the colors on the color wheel are either warm or cool, so in that sense, I could use any colors I wanted. However, a focus for this section was to make certain items on our map pop, so in order to do that, I decided to color the objects I wanted to stand out either warm or cool, and then the background the complimenting color combo. For example, I wanted my temple on the far right to stand out, so I colored it in warm colors. In order to make it pop, I colored the surroundings in cooler colors. While I did used yellow-green for the grass, in this case, it acted more of a cool color since the tree trunks were blue. I also wanted the trees and the deer-like animal to kind of stand out (but not as much as the temple), so I also colored them a warm color: yellow. Since this color was rather close to yellow-green, it didn't pop as much as the red and orange of the temple. However, it was still a warm color, so it did give a certain extent of contrast.
Now that everything had finally been colored, we could then proceed to using the water and water color brushes. All we had to do was, for the larger areas, dip a flat-edged water color brush into water and slowly drag the brush around the section. This would activate the water soluble pigment inside the colored surface and create a smooth-like consistency: water color. For this, it was important to only color one section of the same color at a time. Otherwise, your brush could spread the color into an unwanted section. For finer details, I used a fine-tipped water color brush. I then repeated this process for the rest of my map.
Some challenges I faced during this part was the actual coloring with colored pencil. At first, I found it difficult to only color with three colors for my first two sections. If I wanted to color my ocean blue, then what about my whale? What if I wanted my whale to also be blue? I later solved this by realizing that although I could only use three colors, I could use an unlimited number of tints of that color. That is why, for my ocean, I only colored in lightly, but for my whale, I pressed down more, creating a darker blue. I did the same when I encountered difficulties with the yellow-orange and red-oranges also.
Additionally, I found myself wanting to create more variety within a section, but like with my first challenge, I felt limited to only three colors. Instead of changing the pressure of my coloring this time, I decided to only color one section of an object and then later pull that color across with water to the rest of the object. An example would by the purple tree right below my Mer-Lion. I had colored the far left side of it purple, then used my wet brush to drag that purple color across to the right side. This created a sort of ombre effect.
Overall, while this project was very different from my previous experiences with water color, I am still happy with my final product.