Gouache: Even More Thoughts

February 14, 2011

The post contains some more stuff on sketching with gouache.

Above: Quick sketch on the right-hand page, then another on the left-hand page which I painted over with gouache. (I don't use black paint hence the interesting eyebrow color choice.) All the sketching was with a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist's Calligraphy pen. I was using up some Lukas gouache—which is NOT my gouache of choice, but most gouache paints still have a high level of fun in them for me.

I have a bunch of posts I've been writing over the past several weeks which deal with less festive topics, so when I realized that today was Valentine's day I decided to hold my more serious posts in reserve for other days.

Meanwhile, Happy Valentine's Day! Draw someone you love (including, and perhaps especially pets) today!

In that vein I offer this quick series of sketches, the second of which morphed into a gouache study, of fashion designer Issac Mizrahi. He was on Top Chef the other night and I have always been fascinated with his face and hair (which seems to have a life of its own).

I actually stopped the TV (I love digital pause) to sketch the first sketch on the right-hand page, but it didn't turn out at all like him, and especially not his hair. So I jumped right into another sketch on the left-hand page and then decided to "correct" that sketch by painting over it. There's a color shift from ochre to pinkish tones because I was fiddling with the paint (it's not my typical choice) and got a couple passages that I liked for various reasons, even though they don't go in the same face (e.g., I do like that 5 o'clock shadow). When making studies I frequently stop when I get bits the way I like them, even if I don't get the whole the way I would like it. Going back in to unify the color would be meaningless to me because I have a mental pathway now to the color I want, but in another area I have a mental pathway to the texture I want. I can deal with melding the two on another day.

All of this was done in a journal I made with Gutenberg, which is not a watercolor paper but has lovely sizing nevertheless. And also a lovely slightly nubby texture, as well as the wonderful fiber flecks. I could go on and on. (I covered the texture in some areas, and in others, like that 5 o'clock shadow, used the texture of the paper.)

I've already written about my favorite gouache paints and you can use the blog's search engine to find more information on my palette etc.

I don't like or recommend Lukas gouache, but I have some tubes left from my early trials and I'll use it if it is the only thing reachable.

I'm serious about my suggestion that you sketch someone you love today. When we sketch what we love we always find out more about that person or animal (or bird, fish…). We learn more about structure, and in learning structure we also learn a bit about content (in reading smile lines for instance).

Our love and interest in the subject keeps us trying to move forward and learn more. It helps us try again if we don't get what we'd hoped for, or to at least push in some direction.

If events conspire to keep you alone on Valentine's Day, no worries. The important thing is to use some time studying something that interests you. It might even be a self-portrait that pulls your interest. Or a flower in your yard (if it isn't snow filled), or a shell you picked up on a trip. Study something today. Give it your full attention when sketching.

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