When I started painting with gouache over the summer, I became totally inspired by Jennifer Orkin Lewis (August Wren). I had been painting with watercolors for about a year and wanted to try out the more opaque gouache as an illustration medium. The two media are similar, but different enough that I felt some training would be useful, and she has a couple of gouache classes on the platform.
The thing I found so inspiring about her was that she’s been painting every day for several years. She sets a timer for 30 minutes and whatever she feels like painting, she does. When she tells her story, she talks about how this experience has been extremely rewarding because it helped her develop her own style (something on my mind) and she’s gotten work and representation from her dedication to the practice.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep it up as long as Jennifer, but I can hope! My goals for the daily painting are to:
- stick to 30 minutes every morning (if I push it to later in the day, it’ll likely get skipped)
- learn how to use gouache (but other media are OK to use, too)
- learn to use my brushes better
- try out different sketchbooks and find a good fit for me
I use a variety of things as reference — things I’ve found on Pinterest, photos I’ve taken, things around the house, plants and wildlife I see while camping…
I’m also using the sketchbook to copy what other artists have made to learn more about how they make their paintings and sketches. This was a huge struggle for me to get on board with! It felt wrong and unoriginal. But after chatting with my husband about my painting and illustration goals, he encouraged me to recreate other pieces that I like, just like how art students are taught to copy paintings of the masters. The more I looked into this approach the more it became clear that as long as I’m not trying to pass this work off as my own art, and keep it just for learning and practice, it’s totally OK.
Some daily paintings from August 2017
Sketchbook: Canson XL Mix Media
Media: Holbein Artists’ Gouache; Daniel Smith watercolor; Lamy Safari fountain pen with black De Atramentis Document Ink
|This is one of the illustrations that I tried to recreate myself. The original is for the Clare Coat by Closet Case Patterns. I can’t figure out who makes the artwork for these patterns but I just love them! The ink lines + watercolor washes are bold and lively.|