A recent Visual Elements of Storytelling assignment has reintroduced me to the joy and craft of painting with gouache. This study was inspired by one of the CTNx staff members who seemed to be everywhere at once. I distinctly remembered her cafe au lait skin tone, petite frame, and movie star looks and wanted to take a stab at a simple caricature. My timidness with photographing people in public forced me to visualize as best I could the jist of her overall appearance, although, this is hardly a likeness.
The first step was to scan the sketch and then to paint a quick color study on a thumbnail of the scan within the same digital canvas. Next, I sampled the main colors and set them up as a vertical column of swatches. The entire image was then printed onto a letter-sized (8.5 in. x 11 in.) sheet of Strathmore 500 Series Aquarius II watercolor paper. This was my first time using the product, which I obtained from a recent demonstration at the Academy of Art Universty.The paper is very lightweight compared to the watercolor paper I usually use, and it's about as thin as 2-ply bristol. In spite of its thinness, the paper remained flat and smooth, even with heavy applications of the gouache.
The final was then rescanned at a high resolution and medium sharpening on an HP 3000 series all-in-one scanner. This resulted in a slightly distracting texture on the image, which I tried to minimize with a blur filter. Over the past few months I've been fascinated be the vibrancy of color I've seen other students and professionals achieve with gouache. The sketch below was also inspired by the memory of a conference attendee, this time in San Jose at Fanime back in June of this year. I couldn't quite tell if she was in costume or just had a unique fashion sense. I think the shirt was originally cotton with a red and blue plaid pattern, but I took a stab at something different, but still thinking in terms of a triadic color scheme.
I intend to continue with these, maybe doing two or three per week. I see so many inspiring personalities out there that sometimes I just want to spend the whole day creating characters based on the people I see around me.
One little painting at a time…