Monday, March 21, 2016


I've always used this technique with tempera paint, happily. See white-tempera-resist for a similar example. Never tried it with gouache, which is somewhat comparable to tempera, and never tried it with a portrait as subject matter. My results were mixed, but the mixed media method was fast and a pleasurable process. It's always exciting to see what you get!
  • Pencil
  • Watercolor paper
  • Brushes
  • Gouache (or tempera!)   
  • India ink
  • A sink                                
    how-to, tutorial, resist
    My very light pencil sketch,
    made darker here for contrast.
I used a hard pencil on an excellent hot press paper, about 8 x 11" and heavy weight. I didn't need to tape it down, but if your (absorbent) paper is lighter, do tape it to a board.

The next step is to block in a flesh tone.

technique, Guhin
My girl ends up a bit goth later.
IMPORTANT: Wherever you want to save white, apply white paint! Be generous with your highlights. The whites and highlights of the eyes, tops of cheekbones, a bit on the nose, chin, forehead, even in the hair.
resist, technique, tutorial
NOT finished yet, and creepy too!

I also used blue-violet for shadows. My gouache was a cheap brand, and I likely didn't apply it thickly enough, but you should! Thicker the better!
TIP: Remember that you cannot layer any paint colors, since the first tone you paint on the paper is the one that will show later.

Finally, gently apply waterproof India Ink over all, without scrubbing. Not showing that step, because, you know, who wants to see that? Protect your work area, your hands, your clothes, and use a wide, soft brush. LET DRY!

This final part's a blast! Rinse off the black ink under lukewarm water. Here's the big reveal, and I hope yours turns out happier than my sad girl! But do see below for other ways to improve a semi-successful piece.

portrait, MixedMediaManic
My end result: no red, very little blue, darn it.
TIP: Correct mistakes with white or black paint after the final is dry.
AND you can even add other colors after the fact, as I did with my
previous tempera example.


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