The Move Back to Color, part 1

Monday, March 3, 2008

For the next few posts, I'm going to focus on my move back to full color paint after the experiment that was Mythos: Hulk. I finished that book in June of 2006 and took somewhat of a break as I waited for the next script. I had grown fairly comfortable with Acryla Gouache, my new medium, but was yearning to return to color work, even if it slowed me down again. What always took the most time for me was color mixing, so I needed a more efficient way to do that with acrylics.

One day in the NOHO Dick Blick store, I came across the Masterson Sta-Wet Palette. I had seen these for years, never had a use for it, but always thought it was a good idea. I was wrong — it was a brilliant idea. I bought the 8.5" x 7" Handy Palette and got to work (by that time, I had also purchased a full color set of Acyrla Gouache). The first thing I painted was the character page for Ghost Rider, the next subject in the Mythos series, pictured at top.

And just for good measure, here's the character page before paints. I stuck with the same size and surface as with the Hulk, 8.5" x 12" Strathmore Series 500 Bristol Board, 3 or 4 ply, vellum finish. I cut these pages down from the larger sheets, a sometimes trying process, as my former intern will tell you.

Next Post: More on the Palette and how I use it


  1. Hey Paolo,
    Yeah I know which Dick Blick your talking about, they are great. Thats usually where I pick up my materials they seem to have fairer prices than the others like NY Central.
    I know what you mean by having to rule out your own pages, it is a very tedious process, one that I had to do for my junior thesis this year since my professor can't stand the blue line. Some times its harder to make sure your cutting out a straight line than actually working on a page. Haha. But love the character page of Ghost Rider, as always looks great.
    ~Manny Mederos

  2. Hey Paolo,
    Love that GhostRider character page.As usual, you're art rocks.

  3. Hey there!

    I remember you saying at the time you changed to the Hulk processes that it sort of mimicked the process you were doing with the oils as well - Do you mostly do value gray scale studies then glaze over them?

    I use the cheap-ass version - a few paper towels folded underneath and a grease proof paper on top, it works, lasts for a few days at least! :) Dear lord knows i try to save every inch of it and paint drying on the palette leaves me in screeching horror.

    Acrylics have been really frustrating for me because they dry pretty quickly on the canvas\paper, scrumbling doesn't really give me a smooth effect - Like Bisley or Fabry achieve - would retarders be the way to go?

    I only started with acrylics recently and it's really frustrating to how fast they dry, it's brutal. I used to do digital only and was really used to just mixing at will... i miss the eye drop tool.

    I can't wait for more technique stuff - i love it ;)

    I was also blown away by the Spider-Man & Dr Doom thingies you did in the beginning - Keep up the good work! :)

    Does Acryla Gouache have any properties of Gouache or did they just decided to go with a weird name? Or is it outright Gouache?

  4. CMG,

    All right... where to start?

    As of late, I've been doing my underpaintings monochromatically in regular gouache. It's often a sepia tone or whatever will be the darkest color in finished painting. I try to anticipate the final colors as well. For instance, if I'm painting fire, the I will underpaint in an orange yellow or jaune brilliant. This way, the fire won't be sullied by a cool grey.

    I don't use any retarders besides water... and I use a lot of it. Also, for large gradations, gouache is the way to go. It can always be rewetted for additional blending. But honestly, my goal is always to hit my mark on the first try. That's why the color study is such an important step.

    Acryla Gouache is an acrylic paint that dries matte and impervious to water. I usually apply it semi-transparently, using water as the thinner.

  5. Thanks, Paolo, [i]very[/i] informative! :)

    I did not know that about Acryla Gouache, so theoretically you could glaze after dried... interesting.

  6. Not just in theory, my friend.That's one of the main reasons I use Acryla Gouache.

  7. When you said you bought a full color set of acryla gouache did you mean every color?

    1. Not quite. I bought a set of 12, and have since bought an additional dozen or so, depending on what I needed. 12 is really all you need, but investing in some specialty colors can save you mixing time. For instance, I have 4 grays and a small set of pastels.


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