Grapillion, the Grape Girl

Meet Grapillion, the little grape girl. It’s that Little One again also known as Mini Me when my alter ego kicks in. I felt like dressing her up in a funky green jumpsuit and a special hat made of grapes! Along with a string of grapes too. It was raining the entire day today and what else is there to do but enjoy painting again! I was in the mood for watercolours and wanted to try out my new Winsor & Newton pans, apparently the Rolls Royce of Western watercolour paints. And I wanted to gain more experience with using Dr. Ph. Martin’s Hydrus liquid watercolor and with painting in gouache, a more opaque form of watercolor.

I had the mind to draw grapes as my boyfriend started picking some purple grapes earlier today from the garden and piling them into a big bowl. Some are sweet, others a bit sour. After stretching out the paper, I outlined in pencil what I wanted. Then for added flair, I thought I’d make a funky background using, as you can guess, a French Curve! They do make cool templates.

Once happy with the outline, I started painting the background in yellow using the liquid watercolours (Hansa Yellow Light and Medium). I love how the colours are so vivid and highly saturated. They’re not cheap but a bottle will last for ages. A little goes a long way. For this painting on A4 watercolour paper, for instance, I used a couple of drops each. I used a wet brush for an even spread.

For the French curve areas, I used a combination of orange by mixing some with dark yellow or vermillion depending on the shade of orange I wanted. Here I used my new Winsor & Newton pans. I love how the colours turned out. They also come out vivid and strong although I did have to brush on a second layer in the end to keep up with the consistency of the liquid watercolours!

For the face, I applied a sheer coat of watercolour. I then switched to gouache for the rest. Firstly, I wanted some change in what I use for painting, and secondly I wanted to aim for strong tones in the outfit. Gouache is like watercolour but the main difference is that it is opaque from the white pigment or chalk added as ingredient to minimize transparency. Here I used for the first time a set of Acryla gouache paints by Holbein. Beautiful!! You don’t need that much, and in fact a small tap of the tube of paint on a dish does indeed go a long way.

For the ribbons and grape I used a combination of Rose, Magenta and Red Violet. And for the jumpsuit, Light Green and Emerald Green. Also some Burnt Sienna mixed in with Viridian for the eyes. Then I added some finishing touches in the end by drawing in the eyelashes and adding some streaks in the hair in dark brown watercolour felt pen (Clean Color by Kuretake). Finally the whites of the eyes were dotted with my usual Uni Posca white marker. And I added a second layer of orange in the curves and tidied up the borders where needed.

I had a relaxing day today painting this, and it’s always so fun experimenting with various media even when from the same family, in this case watercolour. Painting in bright vivid colours also help me lighten up, especially in this drab rainy weather. And of course, always makes me happy drawing kawaii characters like the Little One in a Grapillion outfit!

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