: Would you be willing to let me in on the secret technique you use for your lichen!? So beautiful!
Sure. I use white Higgins ink and a tiny paintbrush:
Once the dark area is dry, I use the brush to apply the white ink on top of it. Pretty simple! I just figured it out by experimenting with the materials I have on hand.
(The lichen in question.)
(Sorry for the double post! This looks better as a photoset, I think.)
A while back some of you asked about the difference between cold and hot pressed watercolor paper, so I doodled on a sheet of each.
The main difference between the two is that cold pressed paper is textured whereas hot pressed is satiny smooth, as you can see from the images above.
I’ve also noticed that paint dries more quickly on hot pressed paper, which you can see in blobs 6 and 7, especially.
I’m still getting used to the hot pressed stuff and try to save it for pieces that will have a lot of line work in them, which comes out more smoothly (like this piece or this one). I’m definitely more accustomed to working with the texture of cold pressed paper!
Do you have a preference?
I’m often asked what kind of watercolors I use. I use Prang watercolors. They are the only tray watercolors that I know of that are worth painting with. I realize I’m stuck in 5th grade art class. I don’t know why I’ve never transitioned to tube watercolors. Anyway, when you run out of a color in your tray you can order refills! I tend to run out of blue and black the fastest.
There are a lot of watercolor options out there. I suggest trying a few kinds and seeing which you like best. Just avoid “student quality” paints. I bought a tube or two of student quality watercolor, and they were terrible. They turned to chalk on the paper after they dried.
Just a couple!
secousses asked you: What brush sizes do you use most when you’re painting?
I use three brushes for most paintings: a very tiny one for detail; a slender medium-sized one; and a larger round one. Here’s a picture of my brushes.
miichoufm asked you: I absolutely love your art, watercolor is my favorite medium. I’d just like to ask if you could give me some tips so that I can get better at it.
toyotacarolla asked you: Youre so good at watercolors! how do you do it? ive been trying to learn how to watercolor but i still need to work on it haha.
Here is a gif with the short answer. Read on for a longer answer.
The best tip for getting better at anything is practice. Practice, mess up, practice more. Try different techniques. Put pigment on wet paper, on dry paper. Use different sized brushes. Try ink instead of paint. I can’t cram everything I’ve learned from years of practice into a paragraph. (Most of my painting knowledge is contained in my muscles and is hard to verbalize.) Here is a great blog post about hard work versus talent and how practicing technique eventually internalizes it.
I can give you tips on materials, however. Paper is very important. Make sure you’re using watercolor paper because it’s thick enough to hold up to water. I usually use watercolor blocks. (More info about my materials can be found on my about page.)
Also, a few people asked about the difference between hot- and cold-pressed watercolor paper. I’m saving it for a separate post so keep an eye out.
Here is an ink blob how-to video, not because ink blobs are hard to make but mostly because I like making short videos.
Also whimsical song because I know tumblr loves whimsical.
A pile of inquiries! Here are some answers!
theskyisempty: Your work is so unique and inspiring! This might be mentioned somewhere in your tumblr, but I did not see it: Do you have a facebook fan page for your work?
Thank you, and no, I am not on the Facebooks.
andannie: Hi I love your art! I was wondering, what do you paint on? To keep the paper from wrinkling? Mat board?
(If I had a dollar for every time I answered this question I could finally quit my day job.) I use these.
ambedoshoulders: could you possibly explain some of your watercoulor/inking techniques to an amateur? im starting on both mediums and admire your work often.
This post has links to time lapses of me painting as well as a quick description of my technique. I learned everything I know by playing around with paints and inks on my own. Learning from accidents can be a way to develop technique, and I hope you’ll do some experimentation on your own in addition to implementing the tips that I provide.
pookielandia: Your an amazing artist. I truly am fascinated by your work. How long have you been painting?
For a long time. I’ve been watercoloring for around 10-ish years, but I’ve always enjoyed drawing.
subhum4n: I used to be extremely creative, and I could draw every hour of every day and come up with something different every time. Now its like, I start to draw or paint and I absolutely hate it. It sucks and I feel like im losing my favorite hobbies and talents. What do i do ):
Aw, don’t be sad! These things pass. I often go through phases of high productivity followed by dry spells. When this happens, I accept the fact that I need a break and I put down my pens and brushes for a bit. Then I take the opportunity to experience new things. I’ll try to spend more time outside, read books I’ve been meaning to read, look at art by other people, watch movies. Sometimes collaborating with other people helps give my creativity a nudge. What often happens is that when I stop stressing about artist block is when I stop having artist block. Worrying about it too much will only stifle you. Answers and inspiration often come when you stop looking for them.
barbaric-wasteland: i envy you
It’s my curly hair, isn’t it? I bet it is.
I have a couple questions in the inbox that I’m going to answer right now. Ok let’s go!
modeloffreedom: when you sit down to work, do you have set concept or idea in mind or do you just let the pen/brush flow?
A little of both. I do really enjoy making free form paintings and then adding spontaneous line work on top of them. Other times I have an image nagging at my brain that I specifically want to work through on paper. No matter what, though, I avoid getting married to an overly-specific image living in my brain. That only leads to disappointment in the final piece.
beccalew: How do you get your inspiration for the things that you create?
I’ve mentioned my general inspirations in my FAQ, but each day holds specific inspiration, depending on what I’m reading, what I’m watching (read: usually something animated), and what I’m looking at in general. Fantastic or otherwise weird images linger awhile in my brain and end up working themselves out when I draw and paint. Things I reblog or mention here are good indications of what’s inspiring me lately.
frcknian: i know you get this a lot but how exactly do you get the effects on your art ? what specif technique do you use ? By the way your stuff is amazing !
Allow me to direct you to these time lapse videos of me drawing. Here’s a blog post about my process.
nottraditionalfire: This may be a silly thing to ask, but how is your watercolor paper so flat even after you paint on it? Mine gets a bit distorted when I use watercolors.
I use watercolor blocks.
I am often asked what I use to make my paintings and drawings. My materials are pretty common and are easy to find at a well-stocked art supply store like Utrecht or Blick’s. In addition to the items you see above, I use Prang watercolor paints (although I’m thinking of branching out in search of more saturated pigments) and watercolor blocks by Canson, Strathmore, or Arches.
You can read more about my materials and other stuff in my FAQ.
: How is your art sooo amazing !! You and me kinda have the same style a little, and we have the same favorite mediums :) haha. Lately tho, I haven't been doing my art :/ its been about 2 months ? terrible and just kinda in a slump. Any tips on how to get out of this ?
People have asked me this before. I’m flattered that anyone thinks I have some particular special insight into this, but I assure you I get into slumps just as much as the next person! A few things that work for me and that have been suggested to me:
- Do something that is not art.
- Go somewhere else. Go outside. Go on a walk. Go see a movie. Go to a friend’s house.
- Instead of thinking about output, think about input. Research artists who work in your medium (or any media, really) and find a new favorite.
- Collaborate with someone. By collaborating, you’ll put limits and boundaries on what you can make based on the requirements of your collaboration. We are more creative when we have to work inside of a box than when we can do whatever we want.
- Finally, just sit down and draw (or take a picture or sculpt or whatever). Sometimes, you just have to do it, no matter how uninspired you feel.
Any other thoughts from followers and readers of this blog? Please do share in the Disqus comments in this post’s permalink.
How do you make your stuff, Gab?
Oi, amigos. I’ve gotten several questions these past few days about how I do this, that, or the other: How do you make your ink look like that? How can I make my watercolor look like yours?
Firstly, here’s a list of resources that I’ve put out there already:
In these links are answers to lots of questions about my art education, my process, and materials I use to make what I make. That should answer most of your questions! However, the short version of my process is 1) put water on paper, 2) put pigment (paint or ink) in the water, and then 3) leave it alone and let it do what it wants.
Secondly, even after reading all of this info, even after seeing how I make my little watercolor things, your work won’t look exactly like mine, because we are not the same person. We are creative in different ways, and I think that’s lovely, don’t you?
P.S. “Oi” means “hi” not “Oi, all these questions!” :)
➜ Racing Minds Magazine, Feb. 2011
Was interviewed for this lovely mag. You can read my interview, but you should also check out all the great photography they curated for this issue, nearly all of it by teens! Thanks, Racing Minds!
: Do you have any tips for a first time dip pen user?
1. Always pull the pen. Don’t push it, or you risk spattering the ink and losing control of your line.
2. Use drawing paper, not sketchbook paper or printer paper. Drawing paper has a nice, smooth surface with little texture. If you use sketchbook paper with your pen, the tiny nib will probably catch on the surface or scratch up the paper.
3. Shake the pen over the inkwell to get rid of any extra drops on the nib.
Oh, and always keep the lid to the ink closed for a few seconds after you shake it up! Bubbles form at the surface and they will pop and spray ink all over your work if you’re not careful! Bane of my existence.
Does anyone else have any suggestions?
EDIT: I use india ink, so that’s where my advice comes from. Here’s some reader advice coming from different points of view. Thanks, guys!
jacobvanloon said: some brands of ink (non-acrylic) can be a tad on the watery side. you can control the viscosity and opacity of your ink if you leave the cap off the ink bottle for no more than 12-16 hours. the ink distributes on the paper with a gel-like quality.
randomnature said: don’t over dip the pen, too much ink on the nib is also a “bane of existence.” Get a “vinyl dry cleaning pad.” a great tool for drying ink. do not rub w/pad; smudges. jerrysartarama.com/disc…
Here’s another time lapse video. This one shows the watercoloring part of this piece. The lighting was not very good at all, but I hope you can at least see how I work with the paint. I used three different brushes, each a different size.
I suppose what I would point out is that I use the water just as much as I use the paint, and I apply the paint on damp paper and then just let the pigment do what it wants. I try not to fuss with it too much!
Those are Prang watercolors by the way.
In response to questions regarding my inks, I use Winsor & Newton inks for colored inks, available pretty much anywhere, from Dick Blick to Pearl. For other questions about the materials I use, visit this post.
Here’s the video! A time lapse of Floating Girl.
1. I filmed this with Photobooth, so the quality is kind of lame.
2. I will recruit someone to film the next one so it won’t be lame.
3. There will be watercolor in the next one!