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First Watercolor Painting - Mint Flats

I've finally started drawing again...over 10 years after I stopped! I'm a seamstress and my husband is a screenprinter. I sell some of my handmade items over on Etsy, then we had the idea to start doing tea towels. I've been coming up with some ideas for prints and trying to do them all on the computer, but it just doesn't compare to the freedom of being able to bring your ideas to life on paper. I drew up some designs and thought this would be a great opportunity to use watercolor since I love the look of it so much. My goal is to eventually be able to use my designs for textile printing.

I went to the art store and picked up some basic supplies - I really wish I'd taken this class first so I'd have a better idea what to get! I did do a bit of research on paints and wound up getting the Cotman "sketcher's pocket box", a quality #6 round brush, a #0 liner brush, a 200pg book of Strathmore Practice Watercolor paper, and a small moleskin watercolor book from Pen & Ink. In hindsight, I wish I'd gotten a better quality paper. I expected the practice paper to have some issues, but knew I'd go through a ton of it well...practicing. But even the paper in my seemingly nice quality moleskin book has issues with buckling and flaking. I also really want some good angle brushes now! But...maybe next paycheck.

Here is my first project on the Pen & Ink watercolor paper - a pair of mint flats I found on Modcloth. Not gonna lie, I traced those suckers right off my computer screen. But I wanted to get started quickly and not worry about the sketching. Also, I decided to ink it with a Micron pen at the end...not sure if that was the best idea. I think next time I'll use a grey pen or pencil, as Katie suggested. I could really use some constructive criticism on how to make my watercolor shading look better. 

You can see where the paper started to flake off a bit on the bottom of the left shoe. I did paint the soles of the shoes with watercolor by mixing brown and dark blue. I was pleasantly surprised by how black it looked on paper!

Here is the original photo:

Any suggestions?

Thanks to Katie for an excellent class!

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