A3 Pen and ink with watercolour wash (blue flame added in acrylic)
Working on this piece, I'd drawn out the image on my regular 300gsm (140lb) Fabriano Artistico NOT Watercolour paper (for those that like that kind of information). I normally lay in the background washes first. If the shape I need to leave uncoloured is complex, I'll mask out with a latex masking fluid so I can get pretty relaxed with the colour and not peck around the edge with a fine brush while the rest of the area is drying unevenly. However, I reached for my pot of masking fluid to find it had set into a solid jelly in the jar. This often happens. Once air gets in, the latex dries and you need to replace it. I've lost count of how many jars have done that to me. I'm convinced it's the manufacturer's way of securing continued business. Needing to get the job done, I was too impatient to order in more masking fluid, I opted to do it the hard way. Yep, pecking around the edge while the rest of the background dried unevenly. I seldom lay a single wash on a background. This piece had four. That's lots of edge following and frustration.
When you have nothing else to look at, the characters are just areas of blank paper, all you see are the areas where the wash has misbehaved. Blotches, uneven colour, tide marks and dry edges, sitting, glaring back at you giving you a big wave of self doubt to swim through.
Picking yourself up by your bootstraps, you get on with it.
Naturally, once the characters are painted, everything falls into place and you wonder why you ever stressed over the background. A lesson learned though. In the time it took to paint around the figures four times, I could've walked to my local art materials supplier and bought a fresh jar of masking fluid. Plus maybe another as backup.
We live and learn.