Kawaii Kuma-chan!

This will be the last painting I do till am back from Japan in two weeks and a half. I’ll continue drawing and sharing here of course but with limited luggage space am afraid I will be confined to sketchbook, a bunch of pencils and some felt pens in terms of art supplies.

The highlight of our Japan trip is going off to the northern island called Hokkaido where we will spend 10 days checking out the nature and wilderness. Lots of wild birds in various species and if we are lucky, bears! Which is inspired me to create something kawaii before I go. The word for bear in Japanese is “kuma”. And hence Kawaii Kuma-chan! One of course I know the real bears are not as cute and cuddly lol.

I wanted to experiment with combining hard pastels, and later oil pastels, with acrylic paint. Firstly I took a range of brown hard pastels and started doodling bear heads. And then I traced some random shapes alongside with masking fluid. You will later on figure why…

Next I brushed some gesso, diluted with a bit of water and white acrylic paint, across the paper. The colours from the pastels are to smudge and stain the paper but the areas with the masking fluid would remain untouched and when removed, still white.

By the way, I read somewhere that for masking liquid the brush should firstly be soaked in washing detergent so it can easily be removed and not get damaged. Unfortunately the fluid was not applied thickly enough so the shapes didn’t come out as I was hoping… ah well, I know from next time what to do!

I then coloured in parts of the heads and added eyes and mouth with oil pastels in pink, turquoise and purple. Squiggles and hearts were also drawn in. As you will see later, these colours should continue to pop out when painted over because the oil pastels are not water soluble whist acrylic paint is water based.

I love making my bunnies and bears big headed! Enhances the kawaii-ness of the subject which is typical in chibi-anime styles. Outlined my little bear in a dark colour and began filling it in with bright yellow and the tiny body in a mixture of burnt sienna and lemon yellow. See how the oil pastel drawings still look visible?

For the background I wanted something striking so went for a range of bright greens. Chose three shades from my palette plus white and started randomly painting away. I love this beautiful peacock-emerald colouring! One of my favourites. And the colours from the oil pastels still pop out.

I traced the eyes with charcoal pencil. This is because compared to ordinary pencil, it can be easily rubbed off if you’re not happy with what you had drawn . Then I outlined them in dark blue and filled them in first with white acrylic paint and made the pupils turquoise blue.

I then finished off the painting by adding the whites in the eyes for further anime effect and taking some ink (yellow, blue, green and pink) and randomly scribbling some small shapes and squiggles to add some more life to the drawing. And I discovered that some of the masking fluid still remained so carefully removed them and….

…. my cute little bear or as we say back home, Kawaii Kuma-chan!!!

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