Yesterday I painted this study of a celluloid Mickey Mouse toy from the 1930s. This toy was manufactured in Japan and distributed in Europe. It is made from celluloid, a lightweight, fragile, and flammable material that has also been used for ping pong balls, animation "cells," and for film stock itself.
When the cellulose is unpainted (as with the green bucket above), there's a lot of subsurface scattering. But most of this Mickey is painted, which makes the light bounce off the surface.
|Celluloid Mickey, gouache, 5x5 inches|
As I was painting this, I was thinking about the variety of whites in this scene. I reserved the brightest white for the highlights. The lit sides of the nose and the shorts are just a little darker and warmer. The white surface that Mickey is standing on gradates back to a midrange cool gray in the top of the composition due to fall-off.
Getting all those soft edges and gradations is the challenge in gouache (it would be easy in oil). But the advantage of gouache over transparent watercolor is that you can get very precise control of value and chroma.
Video tutorial: Gouache in the Wild