Process Piece: Desiree Cornell Part 4 (Final)

It’s that time again, faithful readers… The final part of this process piece. We worked through the stages of the creative formulate process, to inking, and now for the best part: Coloring. Like I mentioned in the previous article, I planned to use watercolors for this piece. Watercolor not only contrasts well with the ink; but if done just right, it can create a dream-like quality to the atmosphere. I used 3 different types of watercolor for this occasion: Reeves tubed watercolors, specific shades: sap green, permanent green, Chinese white, and Payne’s grey; Artist’s Loft Fundamentals watercolor 36 color pan set; and Tombow water-based brush pens, colors 025, 055, 553, and N60.

When I paint, I always start by laying down the lightest colors so that I may gradually layer the deeper tones until I reach the desired effect. I first laid down my yellows, which were the Tombows. I used these pens as they had the particular shade of yellow that I wanted, where my tube/pan colors did not provide the color I needed. The same method was applied on the base of the spider, and then washed out using white mixed with little blue to obtain that ghostly pigment.

Then, the same layering method for the greens of the stems, leaves and grass. When painting, one should never use straight white or black (it offsets natural flow as most natural shades and tones have different hues.) So when working on shadows and the “white” of the lilies, I mixed it with just smidgen of burnt yellow to get a more natural coloring for the full lilies, whereas I mixed the white with a light yellow for the bulbous lilies. The background was the most challenging, it’s not exactly a wash, but it’s similar as I dampened the negative space and dropped a color cocktail of Payne’s grey and blue down on the page and spread it around, making sure it was very saturated with water so it would not dry with a harsh line. Whilst wet, I scattered some course sea salt around and left it there to dry, this creates a nice distressed effect- brush the salt off and voila! I truly hoped you enjoyed this process with me as much as I have. Go out there and make good art! And above all things, remember: finished, not perfect.


Desiree Cornell is an autodidact (self taught) artist from Ellwood City, PA; who is currently residing in Tucson AZ with her fellow artist/husband, Shawn Cornell. Desiree has been honing her skills since she discovered her interest for drawing at the tender age of 7. Her work exemplifies a specialty of traditional methodology, and the contextual usage in a variety of mediums, particularly watercolor and india ink. Despite formal training, Desiree’s natural ability is manifest through her skills that coalesce an evoked sensory response. Her works are regarded as a contemporary staple of esoteric fusion, often blending genres such as gothic noir with the avant garde. When not creating art, Desiree works for international logistics company and specializes in Customs Brokerage.