Watercolor warmup: Dress-up time for Bear

It was a Thursday morning that felt more like a Tuesday in the first week back from a pleasantly long winter break. The house was still dark when my husband left for his "new year, new me" routine of 6am spin class. Unable to get back to sleep, I poured myself a jumbo cup of coffee in my new Star Wars mug (won during a rousing game of Yankee Swap at my parents' house in Connecticut) and sat down at my desk to open some emails. I'm a print designer by trade so it was high time to respond to my wonderful clients after 2 weeks off. Only a couple people had sent messages and, as I scrolled through I saw that nothing was urgent. Side note: I work best under pressure so when I have a long deadline, you can pretty much catch me finally working on something about 1 day before it's due. I work quickly, which my clients and I both like about my process.

Caffeine kicking in, I felt a sudden inspiration to paint. I had 40 minutes before the boys would be awake so I filled up my water jar and opened my pallete. I recently made a watercolor pallete that finally looks like the ones I see all of the "real" illustrators using on Instagram. Yes, I know I am a real illustrator, but sometimes the amount of likes and follows makes me question what is real. Those doubts usually happen when I'm super tired or burnt out. Not this Thursday though! This Thursday I was going to paint something special.

For no reason whatsoever I thought, what's cute? A bear playing dress-up came to mind and so I set to work on a quick pencil sketch.
Then I used my light table to lightly trace the basic shapes onto a sheet of Canson cold press watercolor paper. To start the painting, I did a light wash and then went back for details.
The last step was to scan it and touch up some of the background in Photoshop. I also wanted to add a beaded necklace around the bear's neck. What dress-up scene is complete without an over-sized necklace? I use an Epson Perfection V550 Photo scanner in the "professional" setting without any adjustments. I like to scan my artwork in its raw state first before adjusting the colors. To remove the texture of the watercolor paper, I adjusted the levels (barely!) and then used the lasso tool in Photoshop to cut out all of the unwanted paper texture. To add the beads, I used my Wacom tablet and stylus (I have the smallest Wacom you can get and it's really all I need) with one of the Kyle T Webster gouache brushes that comes with the Adobe CC subscription.

6:25 AM: the painting is done, the boys are awake, Pokémon is on TV, and I just realized they have no clean pants for school. Friday, please come quickly!