‘Sea Witch’ Tribute: Colored and Done

So here’s the finished deal:

I’m no Frazetta for sure, but hey that’s the point of doing something like this: to learn a little bit about what makes another artist’s work so good. I’m not particularly happy with the watercolor here, but I’ve already spent too much time on this project (which really just started out as a sketchbook doodle).   If I had more time on my hands, I’d probably go back in with some gouache and start adding some areas of more intense color.  There’s only so much color intensity you can get with watercolor paint–particularly when you’re using one of those $5.00 plastic trays of little paint “wafers” like I use.

Since I did the original drawing in my sketchbook on pretty flimsy paper that wouldn’t hold up to watercolor (and had all sorts of colored pencil underdrawing that wouldn’t erase) I had to transfer the image to more suitable paper.  I wound up scanning the drawing, Thresholding it in Photoshop, and then printing it out on 2-ply Strathmore Bristol board, which is the thickest paper I can get to go through my ancient HP deskjet printer.  I then taped that page down and applied the watercolor to it.

I found, though, that the watercolor “sat” on top of the printed blacks in a way that it wouldn’t do if I had been working on an original done with India ink:

The image above is the actual painted Bristol board and you can see the watercolor pigment hazing over the blacks.  What I did, though, was to drop in the original all-black Thresholded image as a top layer in Photoshop so that it effectively took the place of the black on the printout.

Frazetta’s Sea Witch has always been my favorite painting of his largely because the WTF factor is so high: Is the witch part of that sea creature?  Or is she calling it forth?  If the latter, is it copping a feel up under her dress?  Or is she maybe stuck on the end of there like a puppet? Why are all of the tentacles a little bit different–some have suckers, some don’t? And most of all, why is there a goddamn IGUANA in this scene!?

The original art for this is for sale here.


  1. Anii says:

    This turned out very nice! I like the blues and purples and how they blend in the water & the reds! It looks dangerous like the sailor proverb “red in the morning, sailors take warning”

  2. Ben says:

    @Anii – Thanks!

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