The Foot Doodle and Big Drama
The foot was a doodle, but I had wanted to continue my experiments with watercolour to bring some life and colour to it.
The root of it is that I don’t really trust watercolours.
I feel much more comfortable with a medium where I can block in the darks first in a monotonal style, and paint/ colour over any subsequent errors. Watercolour seems like a whispy-light medium which involves a lot more control and patience than my instincts prefer.
However, I am often on the move and watercolours are lightweight, cause minimal mess and can be used relatively easily with a small sketchbook.
I love their vibrancy, and am often attracted to watercolour illustrations (see Gatto Bravo for masterclass).
But I’m one for big drama. Dark darks, light lights* and I’m not afraid to do a hefty amount of crosshatching to achieve it. I couldn’t bear to take my paintbrush straight to paper for the foot, and subsequently there is some cross hatching.
What YouTube taught me about Tone
It turns out, directly, not that much, but I’ve had some time this afternoon to conduct some investigations into how to tackle watercolour overall. I have discovered four inspirational characters who have made me (quite radically) reconsider the medium.
Mike Chaplin: Experiment
For the Tate, Mike Chaplin presents 3 short videos, outlining his thoughts about line, tone and colour, as inspired by a Turner exhibition at the Tate Modern in London. There were several gems to be had among these videos, but the best lesson for me was the use of studies and paint experiments, including by Turner himself (!) to build up technique and understanding of the medium and the effects to be had.
Alvaro Castanget: Less Control, More Passion
No one could accuse Castanget’s watercolours of being wishy-washy: bold colours, dramatic contrasts, and the fairly effortless suggestion of form, rather than some kind of slavish struggle to capture it. Castagnet has a very latin spirit and the swagger of rock star. It’s fair to say there is a lot of joy in what he does.
Joseph Zbukvic: Tell a story
This is a more serious chap, but he starts by defacing a photograph in the name of creating a more “interesting story”, and creates a tram from nowhere!
So I’m feeling reasonably inspired to try some new things!
* and unfortunately frequently a wide range of muddy mid tones 😦