Rainbow Art Journal – Moth Woman

I have no idea where the idea of a Moth Woman came from. The idea just popped into my head. My only intention when sitting down at my art table was to tackle goache again. As someone educated in 1980s Scotland, my lesson in resilience involved the anecdote about Robert the Bruce and the spider and the mantra of “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” So that is my attitude to goache. I am going to spider it and keep on trying until it is no longer enjoyable.

This Moth Woman was also an attempt by me to try a completely different approach to layering my materials. Inspired by Sue Clancy, who is always so supportive and generous with her creative guidance, I used watercolour pencils for my initial sketching. When I then applied white gouache, it picked up the pigments from the pencils and added some warmth and created a range of white hues. I then went back into some areas of the illustration with the watercolour pencils in order to darken and punch up some forms and shapes. I then added some more white gouache to some areas and added spatters of gouache to the lower portion of the page just for a bit more visual interest.

This was a completely different methodology to me. I am all about that tight line work and black ink and there is none of the latter and very little of the former in this illustration. I think this might be my most successful experiment with gouache so far because I felt the consistency of the paint was more like it should be so I am going to keep trying to get to grips with that medium. I will also use the watercolour pencils from time to time for the sketch layer too in future. It was really valuable to step outside my comfort zone and break out of the rut of my own work groove.

98 - Moth Woman

5 thoughts on “Rainbow Art Journal – Moth Woman

  1. Thanks for the shout out! So kind of you!! I’m glad to encourage you and be of any help that I can! You did a great job with the gouache on Moth Woman! Gives a good shimmery, glimmering moth in the light feeling! I think you’ve got a good handle on the paints now and can likely now add in your usual ink work within the layers for the details! This way you used the gouache just gives the color areas more depth and body which will add solidity/dimensions to your wonderfully wonky characters!! Keep going!!! Bravo!!!

  2. I really like this. The creature is menacing and otherworldly. And I love the way you handled the colors. What a good way to achieve layering and subtlety. I’m glad the cream analogy helped. And I’m interested by the way the water color pencils can be used, I never thought of them in combination with gouache this way.

    • The cream description was super helpful. I had largely been using it at too thin a dilution or, sometimes, over-correcting and using it too thickly. As for the watercolour pencils, I was surprised by how much pigment they offered up when I applied the gouache layer. I had thought they would largely disappear. That was a pleasant surprise.

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