Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Journeying into Acrylics and Gouaches (And Trying to Apply These Techniques into the Digital Realm)

Stream to Nowhere, Gouache on paper
Argh, another late post. I've been so busy sorting things out that I haven't posted in a long while. While tightening the current animatic, I've been taking up another hobby; painting.

Not that I'd desire to become a fine artist, but it's now something that I enjoy doing in my spare time. Now I'm referencing as many artists that inspire me as I can, including Henri Rousseau, Gustav Klimt, Henri Matisse and Inka Essenhigh's landscapes, because my earlier backgrounds looked like something a preschooler crapped out. A great deal of patience and analysing existing works will slowly and surely help me improve my art skills.

I'm currently utilising acrylics and gouaches because I originally wanted the film to be very painterly. Some of the former UCA graduates had already used watercolours, so why not go with thicker, more fine-art paint?

Storyboard frame, Digital
Another challenge is creating painterly environments within the computer. So far, I am able to mimic the varying transparency within painted artwork, but the paint bumps and blobs have yet to become convincing. I have developed my own brushes that would be able to paint blades of grass; any open source acrylic brush or preset brush would not be able to draw a convincing blade because there are no sharp edges within the available brushes (and if you're thinking of the preset grass blades that come with the program, well...). Now that I've learned to create new brushes and brush textures (it's actually really simple) I can show off some more creativity within the computer and not be so bogged down by its computery-ness. I know it can be done; many digital artists have successfully achieved a painterly look using detailed textures and brushes, but I still have a long way to go. If, in any case, the digital backgrounds don't work, I'll happily resort to paint on paper.

Stream to Nowhere (an earlier effort), Acrylic on paper
Yet another challenge in itself are the differences between the two paints. Acrylic is known for its fast drying times, but Gouache in many cases has dried faster than Acrylic, especially on the palette. I don't know whether it's the brand (I use Dawler Rowney for both paints) but I don't need to spray water every so often with my Acrylic paints; they stay moist for a good couple of hours (but don't leave them for too long or they will cake into the palette and you won't be able to get your paint off!). When you're finished with Acrylics, you have to soak your palette straight-away in lukewarm water for a good five minutes or so, then gently peel off any dried paint as you wash it.

With Gouaches, it's really important that they stay moist, moreso than Acrylics (unlike Acrylic paint, it washes off easily, so the paint staying on the palette for too long is less of a concern). If your paint is too thick, you can't use brushstrokes, and if it's too thin, it resembles watercolour paint. The paint always has to be at a consistent level or it becomes difficult to paint with. Another advantage Gouache has over Acrylics is that it's easier to mix colours. If I want a blue sky with Acrylics, I can add as much Mixing White into a dark blue and it will always come out with a shade of grey. Gouache doesn't have that problem, and I have more control over shading and lighting than if I use Acrylics.

Well, that's my take on painting. As always, please feel free to comment on my work!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sarah,

    It's your cousin Stephanie. I'm very proud of your wonderful artwork & blog. I recently undertook a course on graphic arts myself and found this clarification of the pros and cons of Acrylic/ Gouache helpful.. Your Grandma loved the Impressionists and liked to use Acrylic (Winsor & Newton)- I still use a few of her paints and crayons.

    Good luck with any exams you may have this summer. With love, Stephanie.



    (haven't updated my site for a while, but will soon..)