Sunday, May 25, 2014

First attempt at paint

[Note: whereas today animation backgrounds are likely to be painted in Photoshop or perhaps they will be a 3D model in Maya... at any rate, they are created in a computer... traditionally animation backgrounds were painted on thick Bristol paper by very skilled artists.  The medium used was gouache, or what some stores call opaque watercolor.

I want very much to learn about this medium but I've never painted anything.  So a-learning I must go.  Here's my first attempt... ]
I selected another of Peregoy's masterpieces, the magnificent mansion-on-a-rocky-isle from Scooby Doo, first season.

I recently purchased two sets of gouache; both sets are pan sets... you know, the sort of watercolor you used as a kid; the better to learn the medium without spending a lot of time messing with tubes.  And both offer pretty much the same 24 colors.  So why buy two?  Because one is produced in Germany (Pelikan Opaque Watercolor) and one is produced in Holland (Talens Opaque Watercolor) and each is used in the school systems of the respective country.  Had to try 'em both.  Both, incidentally, are relatively cheap.  Good, inexpensive way to gain some experience.

I figure by the time I go through 48 pans I'll know the medium pretty dang well.

Here's the finished product:
Hmmm... a house only Edgar Allen Poe could love.
... and here's the story.

Having never painted with gouache before... in fact, I've never seriously painted with any medium; I'm a complete novice to painting... I figured I'd go in stages.

Stage 1: I traced the composition but in the interest of time I left out the stormy sky and angry sea.  I was plenty busy with what you see before you, believe me.

Stage 2: I blew up the tracing and got the mansion as big as I could get it yet keep it to a 8.5 x 11 piece of paper and printed that.  I did the same for the island.  I keep the dimensions to letter size because that's what my scanner accepts.  Good little scanner, but not very big.

I then traced each element to a separate sheet of watercolor paper.

Now to paint my two paintings: the island and the mansion.

Stage 3: After painting those two elements, the result, to my mind, was less than impressive.  I'm still not very good at controlling opacity or the amount of pigment I put on the paper. 

So I accept something about my pan sets: since they aren't as opaque as I would like the technique is to keep building up the pigment and opacity.  Painting means repainting.  Eventually it will start to look like something.

Also, I was able to work in a few highlights with colored pencil and a little pastel.  So what I wound up with is a mixed media piece: gouache, pastel, and colored pencil.

Stage 4: scan and pull into Photoshop for some "compositing."  I had to create layer masks to remove the surrounding white paper, then set the island on a layer above the mansion.  A little resizing and it started to pop.  A colored background and a few highlights in SketchBook Pro and viola!!  ... mansion on an island!!

It might look a little more Kincaid than Peregoy... but I'm gettin' there!

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