Freelance Illustrator // Fine Artist // Adventurer // (I do not accept tattoo-design commissions.) //

December 1, 2009

My process when painting with gouache

This time I documented my process so you can see how I paint with gouache.

Paints: black waterproof india ink, brown waterproof india ink, and Winsor & Newton Gouache in spectrum red, prussian blue, and permanent white. (I often work with a limited pallet.)

Brush: Winsor & Newton series 7 (#5)
Pencil: Colorase in Tuscan Red
Paper: Stonehenge paper in white with museum board adhered to the back using matte medium for structural integrity

This is really important: LET THE PAINTING COMPLETELY DRY BETWEEN WASHES IF THE AREAS YOU ARE WORKING ON TOUCH. Otherwise it will look mushy and colors/values will bleed into each other. It really helps to be working on a couple at a time so you can rotate between them. You can also use a hairdryer to speed things up.

Another note: Gouach is water soluble but waterproof india ink is not, so you should try to only put gouache on top of ink and not the other way around or cracking and weird shit could happen. It's ok for little details like pupils in eyes and buttons but any extensive ink washes should be done before the gouache.


1) I sketch on regular printer paper with colorase pencils, usually in carmine red.

2) Once I like a sketch I scan in and use photoshop to turn it black and white and increase the contrast and print it out at the size I want to paint it.

3) Using a ghetto lightbox I made from a glass shelf from a mini fridge and a fluorescent light I transfer the drawing to stonehenge paper using colorase pencils in either tuscan red, light blue, or carmine red.

4) I mount the paper to museum board or a wood panel using matte medium, let it dry under a heavy book for a couple hours/overnight, and then trim away any excess paper/board with an exacto knife.

5) I establish the values with washes of waterproof india ink.

6) I use washes of gouache to build up color and further refine value. At the end I use white gouache opaquely to hit shiny highlights like on noses and in eyes.

7) I go back with my colorase and reestablish any linework that was covered in the gouache stage to crispen up edges.

Details of painting process:

This is the first wash of the india ink, thinned way down. This helps establish initial values in the skin and creates a ground for the clothes.

The next wash starts to establish and refine value relationships.

Many washes later, I'm finally happy enough with the contrast and how the clothes are reading to move on from the black india ink.

This is the end result of several washes of brown india ink applied to select areas.

Color at last! Only using spectrum red gouache I slowly built up the warmth of the skin and the color of the clothing. To get gradations like in the cheeks, apply the watered-down gouache to a small area then quickly wash your brush and just lay a line of clean water on the blending edge of the still-wet paint.

The next color: prussian blue. Again, just built up in thin layers. I also mixed a new purple-red for the jackets using the blue and red because I wasn't happy with their tone.

The final product. I kept building up colors and contrast until I was happy, then I went through with a thick, opaque mix of permanent white to hit the highlights. Finally I went back through with my tuscan red colorase pencil to pick the lines back up and crispen up the edges and voila!

Elapsed time for both together: about 6 hours. (It takes as long to do one as to do two because either way you need to wait between each wash for it to completely dry.)

November 30, 2009

EVEN MORE Paper Pushers

Let's just say, I've pushed my share of paper this week... here is what I did today:

This is the revised "Luzon Bleeding Heart:"

Phew, I'm starting to feel a little burnt out. Tomorrow is the last day I have to work on this show and I have two more little drawings to do which shouldn't take long, and two medium-sized paintings which I might do quick washes on or just sell as drawings if I don't feel up to it. Ahhhhhh, it'll be a relief to ship these off!

November 29, 2009

MORE Paper Pushers in Progress

More stuff in progress...

This first one is the screw-up that I'm mailing to "Rootedbeauty."

Painting n' drawing all day: thug life?

All of the stuff for this show will be done in a couple of days and WILL BE FOR SALE in a matter of weeks at Gallery 1988 SF. Contact them if you are interested in any of these pieces!

November 27, 2009

Paper Pushers in Progress

Busy as a beaver... a beaver with 10 new pieces due in a couple of days.

Here are some tantalizing teasers of the drawings transferred and paintings and whatnot:

Sometimes things don't work out like you want... the border bled on this one so I got messy with gouache to experiment (since I knew I'd be completely re-doing it anyway.) So, I usually toss out my bloopers but I thought I'd see if any of you lovelies who check my blog regularly would like it? Kinda like a thank you for your support; just post a comment saying you want it and give me an address to mail it to.

Here it is:

"Luzon Bleeding Heart (I fucked up)"
gouache and ink on stonehenge

(Luzon Bleeding Hearts are a beautiful species of Dove with markings that make them look like they've been shot in the heart. Look em' up and marvel!)

November 9, 2009

Teach Me Tiger- Revised

I really didn't like the painting so I worked on it more this morning: brightening the colors, heightening the contrast, adding the fly pattern behind them, crispening up edges... etc. I like it much better now!

The flies are a lot more transparent in the real painting, I think the light from the scanner exaggerated them a bit. I promise they aren't that distracting...

This is the back corner: (I mounted the paper before I started painting to eliminate warping and to add structural integrity.)

Teach Me Tiger

This is what I did today, trying to warm up and get back to painting. I liked the sketch way better than the final painting, but I think it helped me shake some rust off. Eh, whatcha gonna do.

Based on the song "Teach Me Tiger" by April Stevens. 10"x10" acrylic and pastel on somerset paper.

September 2, 2009

The Bird (sketch)

Because sometimes you just have to flip it.

August 31, 2009

Arroyo Hondo

I recently went hiking at beautiful Arroyo Hondo and made these quick sketches. I also saw a bobcat which was amazing, but it disappeared down the riverbed before any sketching could happen.

August 23, 2009

Leyendecker studies, misc sketching, and more Bear Rug

Leyendecker is one of my favorite painters. If for some reason you are not familiar with his work, look it up and fall in love.

...misc animal sketches...

This sketch is for a paneled painting I'm planning. I'm thinking of making each panel 1'x3' so all put together it would be 5'x3'. It's called "The Bird."

Progress on the newest bear rug... I haven't decided what to call him yet. Bernard? Bearnard?

Foam fitting:

Drawing the pattern out on the faux fur:

The faux fur with the pieces removed:

These are the patterns I made for the previous bear rug, Randal:

Here is the side piece pinned on the foam form to check the fit:

I made about 75 more promo packages and sent them out. Thank you to everyone who emailed me, thanking me for these packages! I love hearing from you!

July 30, 2009

Couple a' fashion sketches and a quickie

Misc fashion doodles.

This is a quick acrylic painting I did to keep busy in the class I was TA-ing. Horseshoe Crabs creep me out sumthin' fierce.