Last month, I turned 30. My brother, Philip, journeyed from Hays to spend the weekend with us, my husband took me to Oceans of Fun, and my family treated me to The Cheesecake Factory.
They spoiled the pants off me. By night’s end, I had eight tubes of gouache paint, two Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable brushes, a John Pike Big Well Palette, the Color Mixing Bible, and Color and Light: A Guide for the Realistic Painter. What more could an illustrator wish for?
I put my new supplies to use for September’s SCBWI prompt word “Muse.”
This illustration is approximately 5.5″ tall by 5.5″ wide, painted in gouache on hot press watercolor paper with a dash of sea salt.
The process was unusual for me. I decided on a water nymph the day the prompt was announced, but it was another week before I settled on the nine fish (one for each Greek muse) and arrived at a sketch.
I painted the first layer this past Wednesday, a second on Saturday, and a third on Sunday. Still, I couldn’t get the fishes’ texture quite right. I came back later to puzzle it out. The solution was to sprinkle in salt!
The beauty of cut paper collage is that you can pull everything apart if it doesn’t look right and put it back together. Gouache requires more consideration. While I can always rewet the paint or add a thicker layer, each color must be mixed, each brushstroke is intentional. As James Gurney says, you have to make a plan and commit to it.