Michael Cacy renders reflection in puddles of standing water

All kinds of interesting effects can occur as reflections on standing water depending on lighting and surroundings. Surface tension causes the water to cling together on a non-porous surface, giving it mass and dimension. Though water is clear, there may be stark contrast as well as hard and soft edges to shapes within the water and upon its shiny surface. I started this project by drawing my hand lettering. Then, I needed to determine how the letters might look if they were actually “liquid.” After splattering water onto my kitchen counter (in front of a window) I shot a few reference photos. I traced my hand lettering, incorporating curves and shapes evident in my photos. A quick marker sketch was rendered on a photocopy of the drawing, and I was ready to get rolling.



Reference photos, initial hand lettering, pencil tracing, and marker sketch.



I positioned the pencil drawing on a light box and placed a sheet of smooth, hot-press paper on top. The contours were drawn with a blue technical pen. The highlights were drawn lightly in pencil. This paper drawing was then mounted to a piece of rigid illustration board with an aerosol adhesive.



Please note that the highlights and background are masked with frisket film in this photo. The larger mass of water (the areas with the exception of the highlights) has been revealed, and I sprayed the contours away from the lit side with a mixture of Com-Art transparent ultramarine, royal blue, and black.



A little overall tone was added by spraying a few passes of royal blue (the highlights and background remained concealed.)



Here's a better look at what has been painted so far. The background frisket mask has been revealed. The background is ready for paint. Frisket masks still conceal highlights within lettering, droplets, and splash shape.



Transparent emerald green was sprayed over the exposed art (lettering and background) to create a background color. Then, with the highlight frisket shapes removed, the art is essentially complete.



I “caressed” a few linear edges along highlights with a blue pencil before calling it quits.


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