It all started with this illustration. I had illustrated this girl in the forest but I had a really hard time deciding what to paint on her skirt. I ended up cutting it out altogether. It was an experiment and it took a while to convince myself to post it on Instagram. A few hours later I checked Instagram and was amazed to see how many people were responding to it.
Then, Michelle from Pattern Observer shared it on her Instagram and together it gave me the courage to keep experimenting.
I made another piece and focused more on layers, opacity and mixing gouache and colored paper. This was my second piece. I used leftover colored paper from when I was making paper flower wreaths and animations. I experimented with a few sheets of colored paper but soon went looking for more options. To my disappointment a lot of craft/art stores had a pretty bad selection of colored paper. Most sets were fluorescent or thin with basic colors.
I discovered japanese colored paper (availabe in A4 and A5 pads) at Japan Mart. Flipping through the pads I realised this was exactly what I was looking for: beautiful pastel and heavy weight colored paper.
Each time I started with a sketch of a girl, focusing on the body posture and hands. I reinvented their outfits and created my own using paper. I would paint the skin on the figures and start color blocking with paper.
Working with a limited color palette pushed me to try new color schemes every time. It felt good to know I had limited options so I could motivate myself to come up with something new. I cut out leaves and vines, sometimes with an idea in mind and sometimes just to have more options to try.
I’ve had the same X-acto knife since I was in art school. I ended up going through a few packs of blades because the tip would always snap on the first day (go figure). I would recommend using a cutting mat for gluing and cutting things as it takes a toll on your working surface.
I’ve love to thank each and every one of you for your comments, shares, likes and DMs. All of you give me courage every day to create and push forward! You can see the entire project under #gouacheandpaper on Instagram.