Thursday, April 4, 2013

Tippette #4 - Ensure that your Paper Size is Proportionate to your Photo

Tippette = Snippet of a Tip (in watercolor).  One per day during April, right here!

This is for those artists who paint from photographs.  You should know that, for best results, you've got to use the proper size watercolor paper to replicate what's on your photo, or else things can look out of proportion when you finish your drawing.
How can you ensure your paper size is proportionate to your photo?

1. Choose your watercolor paper (see my comment about sizes, below the image). 
2. Lay your photo into any corner and lightly tape it down with painter's tape or some other non-sticky tape.  Make sure the edges of the paper are squared up with the photo.  NOTE: If your photo is a vertical one, turn your paper vertically.  If it's horizontal, turn your paper horizontally.
3. Take a yardstick and lay it diagonally through the photo.
4. Take a pencil and, where the yardstick hits the end of the paper near the bottom, make a mark.
5. Using the yardstick, draw a line with the pencil (vertically up from the mark you made at the bottom...make sure the yardstick is straight up and down, or in other words, parallel to the right edge of the paper).
6. Cut off the leftover paper on the right side of the line you just drew.  I often use that leftover paper to make practice strokes or to paint swatches of color as I decide what to paint on my painting.

How to ensure you draw onto paper that's proportionately the same size as your photo.
NOTES about Paper Size:
- If the resulting painting size is too big compared to what you wanted or expected, you may pick any point along the diagonal of the yardstick (from Step 3 above) and draw your vertical line from that new point.  
- If the resulting painting size is too small compared to what you wanted or expected, start from a bigger sheet of watercolor paper and go through the same processes.
- Once you get the hang of this, it will get easier for you to select a size that you want to paint on.

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