Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sweet Dreams - Underwater Scene

This is officially my first published piece! I just completed this painting for a picture book called "Sweet Dreams" published by Tiger Stripe Publishing.  I am so excited and happy.

Here's the final piece:

And here are a few in progress shots.  Because there's so much detail, I drew everything at 1.5x the final size.  First, I transferred my pencil outlines onto the watercolor paper using a lightbox (I'll post about this process soon). Here are the original pencils before transfer.

I did a light blue-green wash over the background, adding drops of water and dabbing away color to lighten up areas I want to make stand out. I layered the same wash over the castles in the background to give an appearance of distance. I also started painting in the characters.

Filling out the characters and starting the background with wet-in-wet techniques. Behind the queen's shoulder piece, I watered down and dabbed away the background colors so the colors appears to be showing through a white transparent cloth.

Finally, I scanned in the painting into Photoshop. I took 4 scans and stitched them together (another process I'd like to share with you sometime in the near future.  Here's the painting mid-process for color editing in Photoshop. This closely resembles the actual painting. I did further edits to push forward and highlight certain areas, particularly the turtle - he tends to disappear in the mix and I love him too much for that to happen! The effect is subtle but it makes a big difference. If you're curious about how I achieved the final look using photoshop, you can view this post.

The final painting again:

And just for fun, my friends and I exploring Monterey this weekend :)


  1. Weee! you're so talented Sarah! I love reading your step by steps...and am so glad I got to see this in person, it's awesome. Can't wait for the book now.

  2. Wonderful work Sarah! Congrats!