Underpinnings of a Gouache Sketch, and A Good Reason to Take a Break

November 4, 2013

Above: Page spread from a 9 x 12 inch Fabriano Venezia journal. Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, Gouache, some purple pen from Zig (right), and the yellow background is courtesy of a yellow Bienfang Watercolor Brush pen.

The page spread I'm showing today contains no "finished" drawings but people are always asking how I use gouache over ink and I thought this spread shows it clearly. 

On the left there are some sketches in PPBP. The central one was painted over with gouache. (See my note, I really still needed to work on it some more and correct the problems with the sketch, but I decided to let it go. For me sometimes knowing what needs to be fixed is enough. I can work on doing better next time.)

I returned to sketching later that evening and did a quick sketch of the dog on the right. (This is Stella from "Modern Family.")

(All the painting on this spread was done with a filbert that's about 3/8 inch wide. For lines I just turned it on its edge.)

Often if earlier sketches don't work out in the evening I'll return to the sketchbook after doing some other work, or reading or whatever. I like to do this because I find after a break things often go better. Try that some time, take a break after a "failed" sketch and then come back to sketching something else 60 or 90 minutes later. You still have all the residual effects of the warm up, plus the added attention to what hasn't been working (e.g., you realize you have a tendency to make everything elongated today) so you can counter that and move forward.

I quite like the eye I was getting on Stella, but the rest is unfinished.

And that's a good thing, because in that sketch alone you can see the process. Purple ink pen, first layers of gouache (painted ear and forehead), successive layers of gouache (lips and muzzle), even more gouache (eye).

I was working with some French Ultramarine Blue that was put out earlier in the day for a specific purpose. It's not my regular blue to work with so in the earlier sketch and in the dog I was playing with ways to use it to see if I want to continue to use it. Verdict is out, but I doubt I'll use it much unless it's already on the palette. I have difficulty getting the dark darks I get when I use my beloved PB60.

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