As a Christmas gift, I did a watercolor of my folk's cottage in Door County for them. I'm fairly pleased with the outcome, but of course, there are things I would tweak if I could. I took pictures, and scanned the piece as I went (with varying degrees of success). I experimented a bit in my sketchbook first, completeing each step as I thought I would in the final project to see if I liked the overall effect. I'll post it later (since I don't have that sketchbook with me today). Click on any of the pictures to see 'em bigger.
First, the final result (unframed and scanned) The scanning process increased the richness of all the colors, and I did some correction for that, but it could even be toned back a bit more:
The pencil sketch was very faint, but it's there (if you squint):
There was in intermediate step in which I penned in the cottage outline and some of it's details using a black Micron 005. I personally like the definition that the pen line gives to the piece. I was glad to have experimented in my sketchbook first, because it gave me an appreciation of how much pen could be too much and give the piece too much of a cartoony look.
In addition to my sketchbook rough, I also did a watercolor rough. I'd only ever used pan watercolors before, but had a set of tube watercolors I was itching to use. I tried them out on the rough, and although I liked the colors I got, I had a hard time adjusting to starting with a liquid instead of a solid. As a result, I reverted back to the pan watercolors for the final painting. The cottage ended a bit bluer that the blue grey it should be, and the chimney ended a bit redder than I would prefer. Paint goes on the page:
Here 'tis in its frame:
The cottage has been named Mole End as a nod to the Mole End of the Wind in the Willows series of children's books by Kenneth Grahame. I chose to incorporate my sign and mole into the "matte" instead of the painting itself because it certainly has a cartoony quality, and it's entirely my interpretation—which might be completely inaccurate since I never actually read the series. Personally, I think he's kinda cute (as far as any mole can be considered cute). Detail: