When You Want Different Water

This post explains how I went about setting up a water background for a scratchboard drawing – a background that was different than what was in the reference photo.

Border Collie scratchboard in progress

I’ve been working on this scratchboard drawing for a couple of years. It’s been a demo piece, but now I’m in “finish mode” for submission to an art show. I took the reference at a dog play day where there was a pond, and all along I’ve debated whether to include the water or not. I decided today that I should include the water. But not THAT water… The ground and water in the photo doesn’t appeal to me.

My reference photo

Here’s where the artistic license and “fun with Photoshop” part of the process kicks in.

I’ve put water in two other drawings and was happy with the result, so I want the same effect here. I used the water reference from one of those drawings.

This is a portion of a previous scratchboard drawing with water. Part of the water has been colored after I scratched it.
The reference photo used for the water in the previous drawing.
Previous photo rotated, converted to greyscale, with the contrast pushed to create strong values.
A quick mask on the dog, existing background deleted. The water from the previous photo, scaled larger to fit behind the dog on the right side. “Right side water” copied and flipped to fit into the left side. You can still see a seam between the two sections above the ear on the right side.
Water layers merged and some editing done to remove that seam and make the top edge a little darker.
Here’s the drawing as of now. I haven’t added the transfer lines for the water yet.

And just for fun, here are a couple of IG videos of the scratching process on the Border Collie drawing.

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