Updated: Apr 18, 2020
After checking the theme for the day on r/sketchdaily, its off to doodle town. I still really like using the red pencils, they are next to impossible to erase fully, and aren't exactly non photo reproductive like they were meant to be, but I really like the feel and, at the risk of sounding artsy fartsy, depth they have.
Once I found the doodle that I want paint I have to transfer it to some tracing paper. I'm sure I cut this part of the process out and drape the sketchbook over my light box but drawing it out again helps work out any kinks and get familiar with any tedious curves.
The final trace. I take the tracing and put the water color paper on top of that and tape the two together. I throw the doodle sandwich on the lightbox and do one last trace, very lightly, before I ink the lines. I start with the finest lines .005 and work my way up to the thickest outlines 005. The pens have to be waterproof, otherwise they will run when you paint on top of them.
After everything is taped down, I'll erase all the pencil lines from the tracing. I like to lay everything out before I start just to make sure I have everything I need handy. Usually I'll leave the tracing paper up top near my paint chart for reference. The paints and the brushes are a mix of things that were on sale or I had coupons for. I started with a field kit and I absolutely loved it, but it was hard finding replacement paints for everything that I was using up so I made my own kit.
My favorite part. The only tool not pictured is my heat gun. I really prefer to let the paint dry naturally and let the pigment set where it might. BUT sometimes I need to speed the process up with the heat gun. A hair dryer works fine too, but takes a little longer to heat up. If you do use a heat gun just remember to keep it moving. If you focus on one spot too long the tape will start to lift, any pooled pigment will become brittle and the paper may start to warp.
During the process I'll start to develop the story. I won't start to write it until the very end though, usually I'll write when the paints are drying in between colors.
The last step is to take pictures. It took me a while to figure out a setup that I liked and felt comfortable with. I'm sure there is a MUCH better way to do this step but this is my best approach from my trial and error process.
Lately I've been using the portrait mode on my iPhone 7. I really dig the depth of field trick.