Inking watercolor illustrations has always been a frustrating experience for me, since I use textured paper and the pens invariably get stuck in every nook and cranny or else wobble over all the bumpy bits, making it look like I was drawing while hopped up on Pixy Stix… or worse (Jumbo Pixy Stix). One of my amazing professors at SCAD had talked to us about printing line art onto his pieces, then coloring on top of them, so I decided to see if it would work for watercolors by printing directly onto my Arches watercolor paper with my Epson R2880′s K3 inkset.
The results were perfect! Other than the fact that I printed the line art at an awful DPI, it looked just like the original and did not react to the water in any way. I don’t think this method would work with your average printer. You need one that can:
1. Handle thick, textured watercolor paper and
2. Print with archival, waterproof ink.
The Epson R2880 and the K3 inks fit the bill! Here’s the sample–
I chose some line art with large black areas as well as texture and open areas, to see how the paint interacted with each. Then I put on some color, and scrubbed certain areas to see if the ink came off. No problems! Now you can potentially ink pieces on deliciously smooth Bristol board, and transfer it to the watercolor paper without hyperventilating. And even better, you can draw it in black and color the lines digitally without having to sell your cat to buy every color and width of micron pen! NEAT.
Try it out!