Biologicially Illustrated


The Process

Studio - 2021 - Dieter Brehm - link

I used a traditional process to create the artworks, with the only exception of scanning and color correction in Photoshop. Photoshop is necessary in the remote environment we’re currently in such that the colors of the work can be properly communicated and preserved. Additionally, these papers are a tad too large for my scanner, so Photoshop enabled a tiling process in which multiple scans got compiled together. Layering of pencil, ink, and paint produced densely detailed and vibrant illustrations. I drew the concepts using Mitsubishi Hi-Uni pencils, imagining how they would look once fully painted. At this stage, it was important to imagine the shadows and shades that would show up in the final painting.

grassy landscape with curves sketched in pencil

pencil sketch of house with cell nucleus smashed into it

Once I completed sketching the project, I began the tense process of inking the piece. Traditional inking is an, "all or nothing" approach where, after years of experimenting, I've truly learned to avoid sketching on the page. Confident, clear strokes brought this piece together. Additionally, I made a point of avoiding rulers or straight edges in the inking stage. A common issue I've found in ink drafting pieces is an over dependence in ruling tools which remove the life of the lines. To work without a ruler is to be careful and thoughtful about every inch of ink you apply to the page, leaving nothing automatically done.

inking sketch of house with cell nucleus smashed into it

finished house and nucleus ink

Watercolor, my medium of choice for coloring this project, is a fickle paint which takes patience and practice in order to apply it on a page. While painting, I had to think about variables including paint texture, water concentration, pigment use, and brush wetness. Controlling the flow of paint in a larger canvas was a major learning goal for this project. I utilized Holbein watercolors, with Raphaël SoftAqua brushes and Arches watercolor paper. I put special attention towards painting with primarily single pigment paint that stays vibrant on the page. Pigmentation in watercolor refers to the raw minerals and compounds used to provide the color of the paint (which contains binders and other substances such as preservatives).

watercolor wash in progress

watercolor wash in progress

finished watercolor painting

Made by Dieter Brehm