Etched-line watercoloring is a technique I have developed during my artist residency at Pier 9/instructables, using a laser cutter to etch watercolor paper before painting it. The laser etched lines trap and hold paint and prevent it's spread. The advantages it provides over regular watercolor are greater control of flow and line, as well as precision color placement.
The painting in this Instructable went into a kinetic art piece. You can see a video here:
I'm an illustrator, cartoonist and maker. In painting I have always used watercolor; for it's portability and relative ease of setup- it requires to thinners, special chemicals, or soaps.
However, as a cartoonist, my drawings tend to have sharp outlines and edges, and I've always been frustrated with watercolor's extreme fussiness and inability to form a good line.
Etched line watercolor fixes all of these problems. It also gives you the ability to recreate paintings and do different iterations- once your linework file is done, it's easy to make more copies in case you want to change something or, you know, mess up.
First, do a drawing! I started with a pencil sketch which I then imported into photoshop.
There are some special considerations when doing a drawing for etched line watercolor (ELW from now on). When preparing a drawing for ELW some things are different than if you were going to be printing or inking like a regular comic or line illustration. Everything that is black in your drawing- lines, shadows, gradients- will become a laser-etched line in the watercolor paper. I've also noted them in the photo above, so take a look to see some specifics. These are general guidelines and what I've found work for me- as always, experimentation will help you learn what's best for your process.They are: