I liked coloring pages in my early childhood. I didn’t mean that other preschool kids often pointed me I do it wrong. You mustn’t go behind the lines while coloring, duh! And I crossed them frequently. I quickly started to draw without guiding, from scratch. Color pencils and crayons were my best friends throughout my whole childhood. I avoided paints for a very long time (you can read why in another gouache post).
Let’s speed up the clock a bit. We are leaving behind years of artistic successes and fails. Now I work as an illustrator, and sometimes I am commissioned to design coloring pages. But just recently, when I bought a new printer, I thought it would be interesting to check how personal illustrations will work as coloring pages, and what can I do with them.
I have created a few of them already – you can find printable versions in my Etsy shop. You can also download a free coloring page as a gift for newsletter subscription. I am sharing free coloring pages in my newsletter from time to time, so it is worth to subscribe!
Ok! So I have ready to print coloring page with the Spring Witch flying on a cherry blossom branch in the moonlight. The easiest way is to print it on a Xero paper ( the most common printer paper). It would be enough if I would like to color it with crayons or color pencils. But I want to try something else. I love experimenting! I tested printing on a watercolor paper. Images in full color look almost like real ones, but they get blurred when I apply water. The best way to print the coloring page for coloring with paints is to choose the lightest version (light gray) and print it on a quick mode (poor quality of printing means less ink, so less blur). I also checked my creamy recycled paper ( I have it a lot – it is the remainder after my father’s printing house). And you know what? This paper is perfect – no blurs at all after applying water!
And then I thought:
It is a gouache time – the gouache coloring page
I will describe phases of my work with photo examples, but you can also watch a whole process in the video below. Don’t forget to leave like and comment, if you want to see more such videos 🙂
I created the Spring Witch illustration on my iPad Pro 2017 in Procreate.
We can discuss if digital art is equally valuable as traditional, but digital software makes things easier. Especially with such tools as undo or liquify.
I used a soft brush to create the first draft in procreate, and another from Inkdup set, to draw clean lines in an ink style. I saved this illustration in 3 color variations ( black lines, gray lines, and sepia lines) and printed the light gray version on a creamy, recycled paper
Underpainting – transparent phase
I paint with gouache 3 years now, but I am so used to watercolors, that the beginning of my gouache process looks similar. I diluted the pigment with a large amount of water and painted a great area to check how colors will look on a paper. I feel safer that way.
I could start with more opaque painting because you don’t need to put gouaches in layers (although you can). Using too many gouache layers is not the best idea for several reasons. If you put them too thick, the paint can start to crack. No one wants that. When you want to paint an already painted area, there is a danger you will mess up already painted thing.
It is because water activates the paint even after years if it is not secured (fixative or varnish).
I feel safer to paint her face in a transparent style. It will be harder to activate and mess up. I always can to paint it in a more opaque way if something goes wrong.
Painting – opaque phase
I set the colors with the underpainting. I knew I want to have a milk-turquoise night sky, a bit darker clouds, and pastel- lilac cherry flowers. I mixed other paints with a warm gray to decrease the vividness of paints in the sky. The darkest colors and the warm ones are reserved for the main character. It helps to make her stand out from the background.
I used round synthetic brushes. They are a bit stiffer than my natural bristle hairbrushes, which I use to watercolor painting. Thanks to that, it is easier to spread creamy paint precisely.
Gouaches are tricky, as always. They change their color values while drying. I thought I messed up with colors a few times during the process. Luckily, after drying, they all looked as I planned (more or less).
Details- watercolor pencils
So I also used color pencils here 🙂 But it was in the end, to add some details. Usually, color pencils work flawlessly with gouache. They are soft but precise.
Unfortunately, they didn’t draw so well on this recycled paper. They caused paint chips when I pressed too hard.
Here is how my gouache painted coloring page looks. If you are interested in how my tests with watercolors gone -let me know in the comments!
I am incredibly curious how this (and others!) coloring page may look colored by you! Don’t forget to share your work with me: leave a comment, add my hashtags on Instagram, to be easier to find (#colorkamillu, #springwitch_kamillu). I will shout out all colored works in my stories!