October 15, 2019 § 2 Comments
Twelve sun rotations ago…
“Make of yourself a light.” ~ Buddha
September 13, 2019 § 4 Comments
I’m working on final art for a children’s picture book due out 2021 from Little Bigfoot. This will be my 24th! As with 12 other titles, I am using gouache (goowash – opaque watercolor) and Higgins “Black Magic” waterproof ink in a resist technique. Here’s how:
- Once the final drawing is transferred onto the final paper, I paint gouache mixed to a melty-ice cream consistency (it must be opaque enough to resist the ink), laying in details first, leaving the paper blank where I want black or a black line. (Rooster’s eye, beak and ears are white paint. In this photo I haven’t painted the legs yet.)
- Higgins “Black Magic” ink goes on next (after the gouache is completely dry).
- Once the ink is dry, it gets a rinse at the kitchen sink. Water beating on the surface activates the gouache which starts to stream off, leaving a stain, pushing the ink off itself in flecks.
- The ink sticks to gouache painted on too transparently and where the paper was blank. There are always surprises, which is why I like this technique. There are some things I can do while it’s washing off, like tap the ink with a finger, or rub ink away where I don’t want it, but I never have total control. The ink gets into the tiny valleys of the texture of the paper where the paint was too thin and stays there (as it’s waterproof once it’s dry).
- I blot the painting with paper towels then blow dry it with a hair dryer. Next I spend time assessing what color to bring back out that the ink has covered. While I like the texture the ink has created on this rooster, it’s too much. No self-respecting rooster would stand for it! Their feathers are so fine and brilliant.
- So I’m not done with this spread in the book yet. Touchups still to go. Which is the great thing about gouache – it’s opaque – it will cover any undesirable ink. I do like how the prickly pear and agave turned out. Those get to stay as they are.
- Click HERE to see the cover and 5 inside illustrations from The Children’s Garden: Growing Food in the City – my 2017 children’s book done in this same gouache & ink resist painting technique. Thanks!!
Have a good crow this week! xo ~ Pierr
August 14, 2019 § Leave a comment
From my archives on Whidbey Island, WA…(click HERE to ‘listen’ to the American Goldfinch sing for you). Have a brilliant week! ~ xo Pierr
July 26, 2019 § 2 Comments
Been looking through old sketchbooks. I’m really glad I was encouraged to keep one. When I was very young I thought it was cheating. I thought real artists knew how to draw anything out of their head, without looking. Over the last thirty-five years they have served me well, both for developing larger projects, and for doodling and having fun. Here’s a little tour:
Starting from the left in this top photo: I was at the dentist and had just gotten a job to illustrate Rich Latta’s Mother Goose Puzzles for Price Stern Sloan (then in LA). A full color cover and 22 inside black & white spots. I worked out the cover in the waiting room using a black marker line and colored pencils.
The sailboats are Prismacolor art markers on a rice paper sketchbook from China. The markers bleed into this paper and look like watercolor. I like sketching with them because of this – and they’re quick and travel well.
The man reading began as a pen line then colored pencil and a few strokes of a gray marker for shadowing on his jacket. Same with the child in the yellow jacket on the toned paper sketchbook. I like toned paper for how it makes white ‘pop’ off the page. The shadowing on her pants is an 80% cool gray marker, the ground shadow, 40%.
The abstract doodle on the far right is a black pen line and gouache (“goo-wash“ – opaque watercolor). I don’t remember which I did first. I do remember how fun it was to paint.
The sketchbook at the top of this photo is filled with oil pastel designs quickly drawn within a circle. First I went through the sketchbook tracing a paper plate on each of the 80 pages, then whenever I felt like expressing myself (often some emotion), I grabbed a color and started filling in the circle, not thinking about anything. Each took no more than 5 minutes to complete. Great fun.
The bottom sketchbook I used as a catch-all for classes when I attended Art Center College of Design, in Pasadena, CA. back in the mid ’80’s. A painting instructor had us keep a couple pages of randomly drawn empty squares and rectangles in our sketchbook, and at odd moments during a week, fill in a few with something. Anything. This is a cool exercise. Over a period of time you begin to see patterns, things you’re most interested in, and some you might want to make into large paintings. These are small, 1 1/2 x 2″ rectangles and squares.
The last sketchbook was for doodles. I held a black and a red pen in my hand and scribbled around the large page with them, then spent time filling in some of the shapes with detailed designs. Also great fun. I do like detailing…
Here’s to a week of sketching and doodling! xo – Pierr