Watercolor Development Technique + Hiraku, a Poem

This is one of my favorite techniques to use while in "development." I refer to it as digital watercolor development, because in a way that's sort of what it is. You begin with an image, create a color fill for an overlay, then slowly scuff away the layer of color you've just added. You are in that sense, developing the image as you would in the dark room, letting the image burn its way through until something beautiful appears through the chaos of the developing tray.

In the darkroom, it can be very difficult to see if your eyes aren't acclimated to the darkness. Eventually, you can get used to it, and you learn how to recognize the images and the their forms as they settle into the development chemicals. I remember doing this as an undergrad, shuffling the tray, lifting it back and forth before the image managed to make it through onto the paper. Using this technique feels a little like that old process-- a little organic, a little patience, some assumed blindness for the unknown image that's going to come through.

I mentioned a post or two back that I wanted to post some of our client's photoshoot results here-- I'll probably be bringing those here pretty soon. I mentioned to a friend earlier this week that I would post this "tutorial" kind of deal, so here it is, me keeping my word-- my ninja way! Anyone get that reference? Maybe it's Uzumaki Style.

At the end of the post, I'll give you a link so you can download the brushes I like to use.


Watercolor Development

Watercolor, 1

Beginning of the image. Create a new fill layer and choose a beautiful neutral.

Watercolor, 2

Step 2: The fill layer, scuff it away with a calligraphic brush or a "water color" brush set. use the "Eraser," and only select the fill layer or you'll scuff away your background as well. Remember the black wax over a colorful image? This is a sort of rendition of that, but water has a larger interplay than wax here ;)


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I work mainly with graphic poetry; a way to articulate a medium with both images and text. I really enjoy digital photography, and poems that make you want to think, and feel. A lot of my poetic subtext will be associated with Indie Poetry and Ecopoetry as ways to focus on expanding Social and Ecological awareness through a creative medium. It's my focus to find a way for others to connect through this visual medium, to have a way to express thoughts in a unique form, but also, to express our concerns with the constantly changing environments around us.

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