Happy New Year!

Where do illustrations come from?

Frequently asked questions about my work  are kind of funny: “Did you do that?” “Where do they come from?” “How do you do it?” etc etc…so here’s a time-lapse video showing the process of how I paint. I sketch lightly, then I sometimes go over the lines with a pen (which I did), then apply watercolor on top. The inking and painting took about 40 minutes for this little sketch measuring about 5 inches square.

By the way, this is extended family dog, Moose. We bonded over bouncy balls. He has a buddy, and I hope to paint him next.

What tools do you use?

I use Winsor & Newton and Daniel Smith professional watercolors. I prefer and recommend the half pans since they are so easy to carry and to keep up. I don’t have to worry about dried tubes and squeezing the paint out and making a mess. Check out the video for the colors I used.

Brushes–a flat and some rounds. I like small brushes, but it’s important to start with a larger brush to capture the large shapes and colors first. When I was an artist-in-residence at Denver Botanic Gardens, I treated myself to the Rolls-Royce of watercolor brushes, the Winsor & Newton Series 7 sable brushes. They are very, very good, and I also love the water brushes by Kuretake and Sakura.

The time-lapse shows a sketch. To make the illustrations more detailed, I just keep working and refining. At some point in the process, I import the drawings into the computer and work in Photoshop or Illustrator since almost all clients ask the deliverables to be in a digital format. I use the same techniques in watercolor and Photoshop.

 Thanks for checking out the time-lapse video! Please leave a comment if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.

watercolor dog portrait

About Ikumi Kayama

Studio Kayama’s Founder, Ikumi Kayama is an award-winning medical & scientific illustrator who helps scientists and doctors how to be heard and understood and how to express the value of what they do through accurate and useful illustrations. Ikumi's mission is to make science relevant and accessible to everyone using accurate visuals. She also gives PowerPoint Design Tip seminars for the scientists and various illustration technique courses for the artists. Come say hello and follow Ikumi on facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, and Google+ .