This workshop shows how I use gouache and the spontaneous madness that is my creative process. I’ve experimented with various mediums, hungry to try everything.
I love watercolour for its fluidity and quick drying times, but I’m not able to change a painting mid-way. Oil has incredible results with the smoothest blending, but it has longer dry times. Gouache checks every box for me. It can be watered down and used like watercolour, and the hybrid acrylic gouache gives extra coverage when I need to make big changes, which is important to me. I follow wherever the paint takes me; if it takes me in another direction part-way through the painting, I won’t resist.
This workshop will focus on conceptualising on the fly. To avoid muddying the colours, I use either watered-down gouache or watercolour for skin and base layers, which helps me out later because it’s easier to blend into this base layer.
Gouache is like a relationship: over time I’ve got to know and understand that certain paints will dry darker or lighter on paper than it looks straight out of the tube. Because of the variety of which the colours dry, it’s helped me to loosen up and see the beautiful variety in tones that gouache’s unpredictability may offer. Perhaps our unpredictability is what makes us a great pair…
1 Spend time conceptualising the artwork
I don’t often conceptualise much at the beginning of my pieces unless I’m working with a client. My initial sketches have more movement and interest when I allow myself to work on the fly. But because this piece is for a cover, I create a rough initial concept and then a rough sketch. This two-headed person has been in my mind for a while.
2 Setting up my painting materials
I don’t keep my paints out all the time, so I have to arrange everything that I’m about to use. This is important to me. I have ADHD, so I need to make sure everything is near me and in the most optimal location for good workflow and to minimise distractions from my art. Having a decent music playlist or TV show in the background helps me stay focused.
3 Preparing for sketching
I like to use a blendable coloured pencil for the sketch I intend to build on top of (Prismacolor Col-Erase pencils are my favourite). I prepare a thick piece of Fabriano paper and tape it to a board with painter’s tape so that the paper won’t warp when I add water to it later (it also adds a nice border when it’s peeled off).
4 Adding a flat background
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