For a long time I've admired Will Elder's watercolor technique in "Little Annie Fannie" but I could never figure out how he did it. Now, thanks to an animation artist named J. T. Quinn I think I understand it.
A couple of months ago I stumbled on Quinn's blog called "JT QUINN SKETCHBOOK" and there it was, Elder's Annie Fannie technique adapted to Quinn's own sketch ideas! I recognized the look instantly!
Reading on I discovered that Quinn had taken a class with Harvey Kurtzman at SVA in New York city. Kurtzman taught the class Elder's way of painting watercolors. You build the color slowly with layers of transparent washes. Eventually you get a rich, brilliant glaze then you finish by spotting the most important color areas with a little gouache. It sounds simple but I had to read about it in Quinn's blog before I could figure it out.
Quinn's a pretty good sketchbook artist. If you visit his blog you'll find the Elder section archived under August 21, 2005.