my creative resolution

Watercolor, Illustration, Surface Design

Having the time to experiment

8 Comments

Adding details with a white gel pen
Almost a month focusing on one theme has given me time to try new techniques and tools, including:

  • Using a white gel pen to add the foam of the ocean
  • Mixing different color combinations for the ocean and sand
  • Adding white gouache to my skin tone mixture for a creamier look
  • Using painter’s tape to achieve a straight horizon line

Straight horizon with painter's tape

Some of these ideas I get from others like the painter’s tape tip and the white gel pen. It has become part of my style to add details with a black gel pen. But when I paint an ocean landscape the black ink seems to dark. It just doesn’t work. A few months ago I saw a post – I wish I could track down this source! – of an artist using a white gel pen when painting the ocean. Wow, that might be the answer to my dilemma! I didn’t hesitate and ordered the pen. It sat relatively unused until today.

I find the foam a bit of challenge and the gel pen is a unique way of handling it. I was hesitant to use it, preferring to leave areas white for the foam. But this particular painting wasn’t going so well and I thought, “What do I have to lose?”

I really like how I could scribble away and create the look of the foam. One book I read recommends using masking fluid to keep the foam areas white. Personally I’m not that much of a planner or that meticulous. I like to wing it a bit. That’s probably why I love painting in watercolor so much. It’s not so permanent. You can add in one area, and take away in another, and continue to work at a painting – that may not be going well – and possibly turn it into something beautiful.

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Author: Eileen McKenna {my creative resolution}

Web and Print Designer living in New York. I blog about painting, illustration, and designing patterns. Inquires are welcome.

8 thoughts on “Having the time to experiment

  1. Great tips and ideas Eileen

  2. Waves are so nice but so difficult to paint ! I like what you are doing with them.
    robert, absolute beginner

  3. So THAT’S what they use…white gel pens! I’ve been wondering how people get those white fine lines and I thought it was watercolor pencil at first but after working with it, I knew that was not the case. I learned something yet again from you. I’m so glad I found your blog!!! Thank you Eileen – you are my hero! 🙂

  4. Super! 🙂 So wonderful and advanced. Lovely work, Eileen.

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