Dragon Watercolor and Final

By Justin Gerard

Color Comp

Last time I posted a color comp and a few studies for a recent personal piece.  This is how the watercolor turned out:

 12" x 18" Watercolor on Bristol

As you can see, the watercolor is not nearly as intense as the color comp.  This is something I run into a lot when I do really saturated color comps.  I would like to say that it is a "feature" of my work, rather than a deficiency in my own ability, but I never plan for it.  Somewhere along the way I get taken in by the subtleties and then can't quite bring myself to take it further traditionally.  
Which is where the digital comes in:

Digital work over Watercolor 

The digital allows me to get a lot closer to that initial comp, while at the same time leaving the watercolor alone.  But this, like invading Russia before a winter, leads to its own set of problems. For one, things become more tedious.  In the initial color comp, you are pulled along by the joy of exploration.  There are still mysteries and borders never crossed in the world. But with our comp, we have already been there.  Now we are going back with magnifying lenses and little shovels and rock sampling kits.  It takes a different mindset for exploration. And while I usually love it, it's generally not as exciting as the initial comp for me.

I find that often the only time I ever get excited about a piece again, is after it is printed. Only then can I really judge wether a digitally modified piece has been a success or not.  The digital format can tell awful lies. Sometimes you need to get a piece into the light of physical reality before you can really know. 
Until then, like others whose armies got bogged down in Russia in the dead of winter, I am usually left second-guessing myself and wishing the final was a little closer to the original comp.   
In other news: I have been working on Sketchbook 2012.  Preview next week!