Sunday, April 28, 2019

Starting Out in a New Medium

qwerttyty1029 asks: "What is the easiest traditional medium to pick up if you don't know any, but do know digital?"



For figure painting and portrait painting, I'd say oil is the best to start with, because you can take your time and control the blends, and the values don't shift much when it dries. 

For cityscapes, landscapes, and quick sketching, I'd recommend gouache and watercolor, because: 
1. The cleanup is easier and it's less toxic.
2. They're better suited to international travel because there are no banned solvents, so the paints are less likely to be confiscated.
3. They're more suited to sketchbooks and indoor work.  They're lighter and more compact.
4. The quick drying time lets you overlap previous passages without picking up wet paint.
5. Watercolor and gouache are closer to drawing, and can combine with all sorts of mixed media approaches, such as colored pencils, brush pens, chalk, and fountain pens.

Using water-based media (watercolor, gouache, casein, and acrylic) hones your decision-making strategy so that you commit to strokes without fussing or second-guessing. 


With any new opaque medium, I'd suggest starting with just two tubes: black and white. That way you can keep it simple and avoid all the hue and chroma issues.

Easel J asks: "Got any plans for an eventual oils in the wild? Would love to see your oil painting process on video."
Yes, thanks for asking. This coming week, on May 1, I'll be releasing a new Gumroad tutorial called "Unconventional Oil Techniques." It's 93 minutes long, jam-packed with info, demos and exercises. During the course of producing three dinosaur paintings, I'll demonstrate over 11 techniques in black and white oil paint in real time. These 11 techniques include some familiar ones like transparent vs. opaque, side dragging, and oiling up. I also demonstrate more unusual ones, such as pouncing, stippling, and palette-knife blends. 
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9 comments:

Carole Pivarnik said...

Another video to add to my collection, yay!!!!

CerverGirl said...

Thank you SO MUCH!!! I am so excited!!!

More Ovaltine please said...

Where can you leave questions for James to answer in his blog?

Unknown said...

Hi James,
Do you recommend acrylics? How do you think about acrylics

James Gurney said...

More Ovaltine... Best place for questions is here on the blog or in the comments on my Instagram page.

Fhinn said...
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Fhinn said...
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Fhinn said...
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Luca said...

This is a bit unrelated with the theme of the original post, but i liked a lot the video about this sketch on Youtube. The sketch is amazing, but i remember i was thinking, while watching the video, that you were making choices about what to render and how. When i sketch en plein air i still try to reproduce exactly what i see - without being able to do it - while i should remember that i am not making an exercise in precise reproduction of reality - even if studies are important- i'm trying to produce something that should be nice to the eye and this requires choices.

For those interested in the video, here it is the link, from James' youtube channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKIfCxXe4L4