Sculpting with Paint – Tiny Gouache Portraits

 

This week I did some solid painting practice.  I wanted to improve my ability to paint directly with no drawing and to render 3D shapes using the paint.  Since faces are such an odd and challenging shape I thought some portrait practice might be good.  I split up a piece of A4 watercolour paper (Hot Pressed) into 4 and taped each piece down…

 

Then I gave myself half an hour for each one.

I began by painting the mid tone and then the dark.  Then I added the light tone.  I made three tones for each colour and mixed and blended them on the paper.  I wanted a rougher look so I stuck to my restricted time which forced me to accept a lot of imperfections.  I tried to be very varied in my colour choices.

For the first sketch I used complemetary colours, orange and blue (my favourite combination)…

 

My second picture was more purple and yellow…

 

(I had the lady’s coat in purple too originally, but I found that it dissapeared into the background leaving me with a floating head(!) so I changed it to red.)  I find painting very smiley faces quite difficult but this lady looked so lovely and cheery that I couldn’t resist.

In my next picture I used analogous warm colours to give more restful effect as the lady in my reference photo looked like she was meditating…

 

For my last sketch I allowed myself to paint a Jedi!!!  I went with a more monochrome feel but in blue so the whole thing was quite cool…

 

I learned quite a bit from this exercise but it’s difficult to put what I learned into words.  It’s the kind of learning that stays in your hands and eyes and doesn’t really need language except if you try to write about it!

 

“The Greatest Teacher Failure is”

Yoda says in Star Wars The Last Jedi
“Pass on what you have learned. Strength, mastery. But weakness, folly, failure also. Yes, failure most of all. The greatest teacher, failure is.”

I’ve certainly found this to be true. I have learned a lot more from my failures than I have from my successes. At school, our headteacher has this quotation on her door. We sometimes have children who find the thought of failing at something very, very hard and so would rather avoid trying if they think they might fail. Every other term or so we all walk around to the headteacher’s door and read the quotation and then go back to class and talk about it. In a world where so many people put only their successes on social media and hide their failures it feels really healthy and relaxing to be OK with messing something up.

This week’s painting a portrait of Yoda when he was young (only about 400 years old, rather than 900!)

I began with a reference photograph from one of the films…

Then I used my PC to try out various backgrounds. In the end I settled on this tree sketch behind him…

I painted him in watercolour on A3 hot pressed, 300gsm paper, beginning with the background and then working forwards to the Jedi Master himself. It took me a couple of weeks on and off to get this done. I actually finished it before Christmas but was working on publishing my October Ink drawings at the time so I put it aside until later. Here’s the final picture…

I like his younger look and the shape of the tree behind him. However, if I did this portrait again, I would reduce the saturation and contrast in the tree a little and maybe even paint it more loosely to push Yoda forward and give the picture more depth.

Days 57 and 58 – Hooded Manga Man – Watercolour Vs Digital Colour

Originally, all I wanted to draw in this image was a man in a hooded robe.  Inevitably, for me,  he turned into a Jedi!

So here’s my lineart…

hooded-manga-maninkfinweb

Originally I planned to paint this in watercolour.  My first draft of the watercolour looked weak and uneven…

hoodedmangawatercolour1_finweb

So I painted over it with a second layer – evening out the colour and generally trying to save the picture.  He’s how the second draft looked…

hoodedmnaga-watercolour2finweb

It still wasn’t how I wanted it to be, so I coloured it in Manga Studio.  I think it’s better coloured digitally, even though I rushed the digital colour work in about 20 minutes.  I just have to work harder and practice more with watercolour I think.  Here’s the final digital picture…

hooded-manga-mancolwebfin2