How I create my art!

I want to show you my process for making my illustrations and paintings! I draw and color everything by hand, because I find computers tedious and boring! LOL! ;)

I enjoy the ease and authenticity of the traditional way, so I'm sticking to what I know and love. ^_^

Dorothy Tully's art process! Let's go! -->>

  • 1: Sketch!

    Working from my favorite little thumbnail sketches, I draw my picture with pencil on watercolor paper. The earlier thumbnails in my sketchbook help me figure out what I'm drawing and how to lay it out in a way that makes me happy and tells the story best!

  • 2: Ink

    I take my various waterproof pens and go over my pencil drawing. Oftentimes I add more detail in this step that I hadn't bothered sketching in pencil before. I love inking!!

  • 3: Erasing

    I take an eraser and erase, erase, erase all the pencil lines, brushing off all the eraser dust as I go, hopefully into or at least near my little desk trash can. :) Afterwards, I have this nice, crystal clear B&W line drawing! (My B&W comic books and of course coloring books stop at this stage.)

  • 4: Coloring/Painting

    Now that I have a drawing to color, I get my watercolor paints out and begin painting! I tend to go one color at a time, and if I have two drawings (or more) to color, I do them both at the same time! This is super handy for BOOKS! Here you can see I've laid down blues and greens as a start. Typically I have a lot of plants in my drawings. ;D

  • More Color!

    I just keep painting and layering, color by color, adjusting here, adding there, letting things dry, building up a beautiful work of art!

  • A hand painted watercolor illustration of a family gardening in the backyard with pets, butterflies, raspberries, peaches, tomatoes by artist Dorothy Tully

    Finished Artwork

    This photo shows the gardening piece I was working on in the last two steps. Once I'm finished, I scan it in and prepare it for art prints or a book!

  • Finished Dorybird Artwork

    Here is the other finished illustration, as seen on the Dorybird homepage. For details on my book writing and illustrating process, see my Children's Books page.

  • Colored Pencil!

    Sometimes instead of painting, I color my drawings with colored pencils. Recently I've enjoyed how smoothly the color flows with watercolor paint, but I LOVE using colored pencils, too! You can see this finished drawing on my Children's Books page.

What tools and supplies do you use?

Sketching and Drawing

I don't have super specialized tools. I use any pencils, usually HB or 2B hardness for sketching and sometimes 2H for very light lines behind a watercolor piece. I like white block erasers, especially the Magic Rub! When I'm on the go, I carry a sharpener, too.

I draw and write a lot in pen, too. I like rollerballs, and sometimes sketch in ballpoint. It has its own look and feel! My sketchbook is an 8.5x11 bound hardback with 70 lb paper.

Inking with Pen

For drawings that will be watercolored, I need waterproof pens! Luckily, the same sized technical pens I love are also waterproof! Sakura Micron pens are a classic, but I've also found Staedler pigment liners and more recently, Marvy LePen work great, too. I mostly work with 03-08 sizes. For really fat lines I've used Sakura Graphic 1's or 2's, a LePen brush, or, you can't go wrong with a Sharpie. :)

For watercolor, my paper is either Canson or Bee Papers, and I stick to sizes that fit on my scanner.

A rainbow of watercolor paints, Japanese pigment inks, brushes, and an illustration in progress on artist Dorothy Tully's desk

Watercolor Paints

Nowadays, my very favorite watercolors are actually Japanese pigment inks! The colors act a little differently on the page, but they're super bright and I've fallen in love with them!

I also have little tubes of watercolor paints that I squeeze into a small palette box. You really do need quality watercolors (like my watercolor teacher taught me!) and I've successfully used Winsor & Newton Cotman.

A ceramic mixing palette is very satisfying and makes mixing many colors easy. I rinse it when I run out of clean segments. I keep my brush water in two yogurt tubs. :)

As for brushes, I have an assortment of ancient ones from high school and college, mostly Loew-Cornell.

Pile of sketchbooks in a sunbeam, waiting for ideas! With thin markers and a cup of tea in background

Be sure to read my blog!

Dory's Creative Path: a peek into my current projects, art process, and life, and inspiration for you to do your thing, too! It's a real, "old-fashioned" blog! ;)

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