Tag Archives: toothless

Step by step: Toothless gulping fish

20 Nov

I made a habit these last few years to hand make my son’s birthday cards. This year I did something new: asking HIM what theme he wanted me to explore. Toothless, from the movies “How to train your dragon”. Ok! I love this character: he’s in fact a cat. With scales and wings.

I started with a pencil outline on toned thick paper, the size of a postcard.

Then I mixed my Holbein Artists gouache paint: Prussian blue and ivory black and added titanium white (just a teeny bit), which I laid on the paper. I made sure to be as precise as I could

I mixed further my blue mix: more blue and black for the areas of the dragon that were in the shadow, and more white for the parts of the dragon that were illuminated.

Then I used leaf green mixed with with to paint the grass underneath and his eyes.

Here, I had a very precise idea of what I wanted to achieve and it turned out I just could not! I wanted rays of golden light falling in the background. I mixed some yellow watercolor paint (I don’t have yellow gouache) and white. And there was no way I was able to get the yellow to play well with the blue background. I had thought that once the background was dry the new layer was never going to be change by it: big mistake.

So I ignored the yellow rays mess, mixed a bit of black and white and painted the dark parts of the rocks. Then added more white to the mix and painted the light areas of the rocks. I used some of those mixed on the ears. I added details using black for the pupils, white to accentuate the illuminated areas.

At this point, I had wasted both time and yellow paint :) None of the strokes would produce the gradient I wanted because either the moisture of the paint turned the layers to green, or the new layer was unblended and it was going to look bad.

So, I returned to my early mix of blue, black and white and covered as much of the yellow rays as I could. It gave some texture to the background. I painted the bit of the fish that sticks out of the dragon’s mouth.

Final result with lettering done with a white Posca pen. I hope he likes it! His birthday is next Monday.

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