Flock of Lambs

When the weather is suitable, we like to go out for walks in the countryside, where my BF lives.  It’s always good to get out for some fresh air and get fit, and we typically walk at least 5km.  Along the way we come across all sorts of flora and fauna including lots of cows, sheep and even llamas!  I thought it would be an idea to paint about our walks, and this time I thought I’d introduce some lambs!  I don’t get to draw them much and thought some practice would be fun.  Plus, they’re so cute!  Today I will share my watercolour painting.

Pencil Sketch

As usual, I like making my animals in kawaii anime style!  I got my inspiration from a Sanrio character called My Sweet Piano (or Piano chan) who is an adorable sheep and best friend of My Melody.  Check her out on this link if you’re interested in knowing more.  I did of course create my own variation for the sheep, but the concept is still kawaii!   Some on all fours, some standing cute. For this piece, I used Strathmore’s Visual Journal for Watercolors.


I was in the mood for some change for my watercolours.  Instead of my usual Japanese watercolours, Kuretake Gansai Tanbi, I opted to go for my pans of Winsor & Newton this time.  They are also good, although the Japanese ones tend to appeal to me more with their natural ingredients.  I began with painting the background, followed by the sheep and the trees.


Introducing Gum Arabic

For the white sheep, I didn’t want to leave them unpainted even though the paper used is white.  I then realised I had a bottle of Gum Arabic sitting in my drawer ready to be used but I had no idea how.  In our Tuesday evening art class, I was introduced to it and used some with Ecoline ink.  Gum Arabic is actually the binder for watercolour pigments, comparable to acrylic mediums for acrylic paints.  As such it helps to increase colour brilliance, gloss and transparency.  I mixed some Gum Arabic with white watercolour paint from the tube and brushed them onto the desired areas.  As it slows down the drying time for the paint, I found it to be a good base for adding more colours in to blend.  When dry, it also worked as a primer.


Incorporating Gouache

Once some of the sheep were painted white, I then introduced some green and grey for the details and shading.   They do turn out quite well when painted white in the first place so it was a good idea I had done that.  However, I felt more could be added to the grass and trees. Another paint medium I seldom use is Gouache because we normally stick to watercolour or acrylic paint.  With its solid opaque appearance, it works very well with watercolour which is transparent. Green gouache by Holbein Acryla was then used to doodle on the grass but realising the colour was too overwhelming, I brushed another layer of green watercolour.  I was then pleasantly surprised the gouache underneath didn’t smudge.  This is because once dry, gouache is permanent!  With some brown gouache, I drew in the eyes and dotted the whites of them with a Uni Posca marker.  Some of the remainder of the brown gouache was then used on the trees and dotted on the grass.  And now I can say I’m finished!

This painting is quite different from my usual stuff which makes it all the more interesting and fun.  I had the opportunity to try Gum Arabic for the first time with watercolour and after ages incorporate some Gouache.  It is also the first time I  introduced lambs into my artwork!  Always wonderful to experiment and add some variety to my stuff.  I’ll definitely be doing them again to develop my experience further.


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