Adventures in Painting / by Alexandra Brodt

I wanted to do a post about my getting back into traditional painting with gouache and watercolor. I loved using watercolor in college, and before that acrylic and oil in high school. But when I got my Wacom Cintiq I jumped into digital painting, and while that's all well and good, there's something very soothing and fun about traditional paints. 

With traditional paints there are happy accidents and of course, no command/ctrl Z, there is no Undo button. But this I think helps us grow as artists and designers so that we can try and work through a mistake and creatively problem solve. This can also turn into a happy accident, getting you out of your comfort zone and developing a liking for a style you never thought you would like or knew you could do. 

The paintings and commissions I'll be showing were done with this Winsor & Newton primary 6 color set and you can click through to Amazon to view details or purchase (Winsor & Newton did not provide me with paints, I'm just showing my supplies):

Winsor & Newton Designer Gouache Paint

Winsor & Newton Designer Gouache Paint

I have also become a huge fan of the Pentel Aquash brushes for on the go painting outdoors, or at conventions. They really cut down on a messy setup at the table! 

Pentel Aquash Brush set

Pentel Aquash Brush set

All right, now on to the art! 

In Progress of Cat painting with Winsor & Newton Gouache

In Progress of Cat painting with Winsor & Newton Gouache

I was using the 6x8 Fluid brand Hot Press Watercolor pad for my painting. As you can see with this piece I was layering on the gouache super thickly, with barely any water on the background or leaves. It's only with the brown/orange fur and yellow eyes that you start to see any semblance of transparency or shading. I absolutely love this style though. The only downside is that you'll go through your nice paints rather quickly which is why I'm glad this is a small piece!

Final Cat painting with gouache

Final Cat painting with gouache

One thing I truly love (and sometimes loathe) about gouache is it's fast drying. But you can get these beautiful textures you see in the leaves and grass minutes apart and make for fast work. That's another plus side to using gouache at my conventions for commissions. I would like to note that I used traditional brushes for the background and all of the thickest, most saturated portions of this painting, and a mix of normal brushes and the Aquash brush for the cat itself. 

Here is another painting that combines my Kuretake Watercolor set, Winsor & Newton Gouache, Copic markers for the red-orange vibrancy in the hair, and a white Pentel gel/paint pen for white highlights.

Sketch featuring Aquash Brush and Grumbacher 1/4 brush

Sketch featuring Aquash Brush and Grumbacher 1/4 brush

Finished Lily and James Potter mixed media piece

Finished Lily and James Potter mixed media piece

My process for this piece started with the pencil sketch of course, same paper and size as above. Then I laid down washes of gouache and watercolor, multiple layers for enhanced color and definition. Then for a smooth finish and some colors I just wasn't pleased with, I added Copic marker, particularly for Lily's hair and to smooth out the skin tones. I'm fairly pleased with the final products and I hope you've enjoyed the view into my process and products I use! 

Until next time,

- Alexandra Brodt