Paint Mittens in Acrylic Gouache and Coloured Pencil | Alanna Cartier | Skillshare

Paint Mittens in Acrylic Gouache and Coloured Pencil

Alanna Cartier, Artist, illustrator

Paint Mittens in Acrylic Gouache and Coloured Pencil

Alanna Cartier, Artist, illustrator

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8 Lessons (29m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Project

    • 3. Materials

    • 4. Sketching and Transferring Your Sketch

    • 5. Painting

    • 6. Exploring Pencil Crayon

    • 7. Combining Pencil Crayon and Gouache

    • 8. Thank you

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About This Class


In this class, you will learn to paint cozy mittens with gouache and pencil crayon (that's Canadian for colored pencils!). Mittens offer a simple canvas to experiment with gouache and explore methods for creating texture with pencil crayons.

In this class, I will take you through my process, including sketching a mitten (and transferring the sketch to watercolour paper), using gouache to paint your mittens with texture, and adding pencil crayon to create even more character in your finished painting. Together we'll explore techniques for creating soft, ribbed, and patterned textures with pencil crayons and gouache.

Your final project may include: 

Test Swatches of Pencil Crayon Textures
Finished paintings
Notes on your process and what inspired you!


Meet Your Teacher

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Alanna Cartier

Artist, illustrator

Top Teacher

I'm Alanna, artist and illustrator, collector of cookbooks, mother to one fat cat, and cultivator of genius hair. I spend a fair amount of time scrubbing gouache off of my upper arms, even though I have absolutely no idea how it got there. I believe that talent is a myth that stops us from pursuing the creative endeavours we are passionate about. I believe practice makes progress, and that perfection is imaginary (and boring to boot!). I am a big nerd for learning, which means that Skillshare is practically my best friend. 

I'd love to be Instagram BFFs! If you post any projects from my classes please tag me, or use the hashtag #AlannaTeaches. It would just make my day!

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1. Introduction: Welcome to painting mittens in pencil crayon and gouache. I'm Elena and I'm an artist and illustrator living in Toronto, Canada. In this class, I'm going to show you my process for combining pencil crayon and gouache to paint a very cozy set of mittens. I'll start by showing you how I sketch mittens, how I transfer my sketch to watercolor paper, how I paint with texture, and how I use pencil crayons to create even more character in my finished paintings. If you're looking for an introduction to gouache, I recommend starting my class, Painting teacups in gouache, exploring shape, color, and pattern. But this class is also suitable for beginners. Let's get started. 2. Project: [MUSIC] In this class, you'll create a painting and [inaudible] and watch that you can hang on your walls, give to friends, or turn it into an art print, greeting card or pattern. 3. Materials: In this section I'll go over all of the supplies I used to create a painting with pencil crayon and gouache. In my first class: painting teacups in gouache, exploring shape, color and pattern, I gave a more thorough overview of all of the supplies I use. Here, I'll focus specifically on the things that I use to create my mitten paintings with pencil crayon and gouache. First off, paint. I use a mixture of Holbein acrylic gouache and turner acrylic gouache. They are both acrylic-based paints, they dry matte and, they don't reactivate with water. My favorite brushes are [inaudible] brushes in a size zero, two and, six. In this class, I'll be using an eight inch pad fluid brand watercolor paper. It is 300 grams, 150 GSM, cold press paper, which is my favorite. I use Faber-Castell polychromos pencil crayons. Pencil crayons are one place that I find it is really worth it to spend to get quality. The cheaper pencil crayons you get at $ store or the school quality ones that you remember from back-to-school season are filled with waxy fillers that make it really hard to get clean, bright colors. The waxy fillers that are in those pencil crayons also will pile up in some areas and be thinner in other areas, making it really hard to get a clean layer of color. High-quality pencil crayons have a higher ratio of pigment to filler. The Faber-Castell polychromos lay down beautifully. They have a medium-hardness lead that is not water soluble or oil-based. I also splurge on an enormous set because I know I love pencil crayons and buying art supplies. But if you are just getting started and aren't sure whether you'll enjoy working with pencil crayons, most art supply stores will have a selection of high quality pencil crayons available to purchase individually. You can just grab a few colors and experiment to see if you really like the medium before you invest in a million pencil crayons. I heard wonderful things about the Caran d'Ache and the Derwent pencil crayons. Caran d'Ache are a little bit softer than the Faber-Castell, so you'll get a much smoother, flatter color and Derwent are much harder. You'll get a much crisper line and they'll stay sharp longer. When I first got my Faber-Castell pencil crayons, it came in a big tin, and for a while, I left them in there, but I found that he wasn't actually using them from the tin because it made me a lot more precious about them and worried about putting them back in their proper places. Now, I just keep them in neat jars on my desk and I find that a lot more approachable. I also recommend a good eraser for when you're working with pencil crayons. One of the wonderful things about pencil crayon is the texture that it leaves on the paper, but I find, sometimes you want to create highlights or smooth out that texture. An eraser is a wonderful tool to help you do that. I also use Pigma Micron pens. I like the size 05 when I'm working with pencil crayon gouache. Mostly because pencil crayons' strong suit aren't necessarily small, precise lines and dots. I like to use that for small details like adding speckles to the finished painting and dots, eyeballs on things that are living, not mittens. But harder pencils like the Derwent, can also help you create sharper lines or dots. Like the Pigma Micron pens, I love to use white gel pens or white paint markers to add speckles, lines, and details to my finished paintings. Right now, I'm really loving the uniball white gel pens, the jelly roll white gel pens or the Sakura pen touch fine paint markers. The final tool I'm going to be using is my lightbox. It is just a flat surface that shines light up so that you can transfer images onto different sheets of paper. Some of them range up to $200. Mine is just $50 one from Amazon. It has two settings, on or off. It plugs in with a USB. I keep it plugged in by my desk so that I can use it as needed. Now, that we've covered the supplies I use, let's move on to sketching. 4. Sketching and Transferring Your Sketch: Although i cover inspiration sketching in my earlier class, i want to go over it briefly here. Mitts are a lovely Canvas with experimental texture, since they have such a simple shape. For my Mitt paintings, i started, i hopped on to Pinterest grabbing a few inspirational photos. Then sketching in my sketchbook. For some reason i thought it would be a wonderful idea to use my hands to determine the scale of my Mitt and in my sketch book. But it turns out my hands are too big. I quickly grabbed a piece of watercolor paper and traced it into my sketchbook, just so that i knew the scale and size i was working with going to bring it into illustrator later. This doesn't really matter all together that much since i can resize it, but it is great to get an idea of what your finished painting will look like. After i sketch the shape of my paper, i went to Pinterest and found the mitten that i want to base my sketch out photo. I like this guy here because he's got a pointy top like my beloved menu that is at the site of the frame. It also has the thumb poking out which makes it look a lot more like a mitten than it would if it were that strange pointy rectangle like my menu. I'm just sketching the rectangle with the triangle on top and then adding the thumb to the side to make it look more mitten. Then I'll just spend some time going over my lines, making them darker and polishing them up just a little bit to make sure they're the shape that i want. Once i have my finished shape, i'm going to go over the whole thing with my micron pens that i mentioned in the materials video. In order make it to so that the skin will show up cleanly you when i bring it into Illustrator, now it's ready to be scanned. Once i have my initial sketch, i scan it and bring it into Illustrator. My first step will be to select the image so that i can use the trace function to give myself a clean black outline. The trace function can be found right on Your side panel and you select the image. I choose the selection of silhouette because it gives me the cleanest, darkest blackest outline that i can work with. This'll come up the first time, but there's no need to worry about it. Just click okay, it just tells you you've scanned it too big. Now i'm going to go through or expand the image and then ungroup it. Otherwise, you'll delete everything all at once. When you're trying to get rid of the bits and bobs, first i get rid of all the big details like the bindings of my paper and all the dumb hard that i drew on it that i realized i didn't want to be part of my final image.Then it will speckles around the edge of my image. Then i'm going to start using the blob brush and the eraser tool. First, the eraser tool to get rid of any stray dots or little bumps and lines. It doesn't need to be too clean it because again, you're going to trace this on paper after you're done. But i'm a little bit of a perfectionist, so i'm going with it. Anywhere where you ended up with a funny little hollow between your line, you can just fill that in with the blob tool. You can find the blob tool under the paint brush if you just right click on it. Now that I've cleaned up my image, i'm going to mess around a bit with the composition. I know that i want two mittens on my page and i know that my pages of eight inch square. I'm going to start by copying and pasting another mitten next to mine. I think i want one facing up and one facing down. I'm going to just turn it. If you push "Shift", you can make sure that it's completely level. Not too bad. The alignment settings at the top of the window can help you make sure that your images centered. I'm grouping both of them in this together because i liked this composition and i think that i want to keep it and that'll make it so that they move together. Just resizing it down to the size of my sheets. Then i'm resizing my sheet as well. Under this menu here under properties, if you just selected your art board, it will give you the option to change the size of it. I know that my watercolor paper is eight by eight and square, so i'm going to use that size. I probably want my mittens to be a little bit smaller so that there's some free room. If you toggle "Shift" that will change whether it's in proportion or not in proportion. I want them in proportion. Now i'm going to export my image and you want to use art board, that'll save the size of your art board. In this case, the size of my water color paper. I'm saving it as a JPEG. It's my mitten template. Now all you have to do is click to export. Now I'll just print my image and transfer it on paper using my Lightbox. If you don't have a Lightbox, a sunny window will do. Perfect. Now we're ready to paint. 5. Painting: Now we'll begin painting our mittens. First. It's worth noting that you'll want to use a pale color, something that's not too dark, so that your pencil crowns will show up on top of it. Pastel colors are great in mid-range colors, but you'll want to shy away from anything that's very dark. I start with equal parts of paint and water. I start from the center of my mittens and work my way out towards the edges. That way I get a much cleaner line around the edge of my mittens. You'll notice there's a lot of translucency locked to my paint. That's my preference. If it's not yours, I would suggest using a higher ratio of paints water when you mix your paint. As you paint, you might find that in some areas, you'll find little pools of paint and water. Just spread those out to be sure that later you'll be able to draw over them. That's the ground. I'm actually doing surprisingly well. Not it's watching my paints, but if you do have the discipline to your paint, it's very easy to fix, do not throw out painting. All I do is wait for the paint to dry and paint over this much area with whitewash. I use titanium white because it's a little bit more opaque than other white gouache paints. Nearly there. I'm just going to go over a few spots on my mittens one more time to make sure they're as opaque as I want them to be. While we wait for our mittens to dry, let's move on to exploring paths of crayons. 6. Exploring Pencil Crayon: Before we begin combining pencil crayon and gouache. First, I want to go over a few techniques for pencil crayons. Besides, this will give your gouache sometime to dry before you start drawing on top of it. You want to make sure it's perfectly dry before you start adding lines. First, we are going to talk about pressure and grip. When it comes to pressure, the harder you push on your pencil crayon, that cleaner, darker color you'll get. You want to use, a nice, even pressure in order to get a nice smooth color. If you want the color more even, you can go over it again, in the other direction. If you use lighter pressure, you'll get out nice light layer of pigment. This is great if you want to layer different colors on top of each other to add more texture or adapt to your paintings. The direction of your stroke will define the texture of your finished painting. I like to shade in a circular pattern because I think it makes things look very soft and fuzzy. Now we'll talk about grip. First, writing grip. It's great for doing concise lines, exactly where you plan them to be a firm pressure. Now, overhand great for smooth, light shading. If you apply more pressure, you can get very expressive lines and also something called underhand grip. I don't know much about it. It feels deeply uncomfortable to me, but apparently, it's great for loose use of your wrist. I also like this funny pose. I don't really know what it's called, but I think it's great for very expressive lines. Next, we're going to talk about shading and layering color. I always start with a very light color. When you're sketching on top of paint, that would be something very similar to the color that you've painted in. This is a nice base coat of texture that will add underlying depth to your finished painting. Then I'll begin shading in something a little bit darker, but not too dark. I want to focus on the areas where the object that I'm creating will have shadows. I always like to imagine a big lamp pointing at the thing that I'm shading. By doing this, I can figure out where the shadows would be, and where the light will be hit my objects. In this case, the heart would be most bright at the top of these curves, where the light would hit it. I always start using very light pressure, and then I build up using harder pressure by their more shadows. This way, it's easy to erase the lighter layers if I want highlights. You'll notice that throughout my shading, I'm using a circular pattern. I don't know where I picked this up, but I like it, and that's what I use for everything. I find it creates really smooth areas of color, and I'm unlikely to shape too hard or use too much pressure when I'm going in a circular pattern. If at any point your pencil crayons get a little bit out of control, you can just erase any bits that you've drawn outside the lines. Pencil crayons are really friendly for that especially when you're painting on top of gouache.. If you find you have to erase a lot, you might have to go over with gouache again, but that's fine. In this example, we've used colors that are pretty similar. They're all shades of the same color of green, but in the next example, I'm going to show you how to layer different colors to create even more depth. I start with the same base layer up, very pale green and I'm going to shade the same but slightly darker color to begin with. I'm using the darkest color of green that I used in the previous example, to create an outline, that will add more shading with that medium green. Now here's where things get fun. I've decided to add some yellow, to add some depth to this finish sketch. Using colors that are adjacent on the color wheel so the color that we're using will add more dimension. I'm going to add some highlighted colors in yellow and then some shadows in blue. If you use contrasting colors say red, for your shadows, it will make the whole thing a little bit muddier but can create great depth as well. Now that we have the basics down, I'm going to create some swatches of the textures. I plan to create on my mittens, to get a better idea of what they'll look like. I know what colors I plan to paint my mittens so I'm painting squares of those colors in my sketchbook. I'm just going to wait for them to dry and then test out the textures for my mittens. As you can see, some of these worked out better than others, some of them didn't make it to a final mitten and some of them didn't get filled in but it was a great way to test out what I plan to do. Now let's apply what we've learned to our mittens. 7. Combining Pencil Crayon and Gouache: In this section, will go about the techniques we learned in the last video to admit textures to our finish painting's. Fair warning, you're going to see a lot of the top of my head. I clench my pencil for dear life as I'm drawing, which means my whole body is tense and my face gets really close to the paper. I tried to limit it, but apparently I did a terrible job. It may be worth noting that a great posture or when you're drawing this, is it same with both feet firmly planted on the floor and your back straight. I clearly don't do that. I started by laying down a layer of the light pink color on top of the clash. I then added a layer of medium ink. Now I'm adding a layer of gray, and I'll follow that with a layer of dark blue to add tons of depth and make my mittens feel very pleasant. Now, I'll begin adding my pattern and using the writing grip and put pressure on the page to create little heart-shaped stitches, to create a pattern like you'd see on a bit. If there's one thing I've learned after doing all of these patterns, it's that when you start from any kind of pattern, it's going to look pretty stupid. Actually. It's only by continuing to repeat the same shapes over and over again that are mine registers at us pattern. It stops telling us that it looks terrible. Just power through if you think your ink looks terrible. I've started to add the Alaska size edge of my mitten at this point. I want it to look very ribbed and a little bit darker than the rest of the mitten and maybe a little fuzzy for being more into the edge of your dominant. So I'm fighting lots of lights of different colors, including the light paint the darker paint, the darkest paint, and the blues and gray that I use on the main of part of it. I'm also adding shading and lines to the edge of my bid to help to find its shape and get a little bit of depth. I wanted to look like a 3-dimensional object. Like maybe there's a handled side. You'll notice it looks like I'm out lugging my menus in more than one time and that's absolutely right. I do that. I like to lay on the lighter colors with darker colors on every part of my process to make sure that the line is exactly the line I want in the darkness I want. I never want to start with the darkest color because it's much harder to get rid of if I made a mistake. I said bed because I've gone back and forth between both mittens to make sure they match that they're shading is pretty much equal and that all of the details coordinate between both mittens. On my next set of mitten, I'm just going to work on them one at a time. Both options are equally valid. I'm adding one final outline and some darker details, just again, for even more depth, if you can't believe it. I'll add a little bit more shading in the medium pink and also in that darker red as well. We're so close. Just about finished. That's it. We are done. One finished set of mitten. You'll notice I went over my stitch marks again with paint after I was done. I wanted them to be a little bit brighter. You can see all the layers of texture I felt into this mitten, if you look really close up. The techniques we've just gone over, can be used to create all sorts of different mitten, plane fuzzy mittens, mitten with patterns, mittens with all sorts of little details. Now, you know how to make a fuzzy mitten, but let's move on to something a little bit more detailed. I want to create a more intricate remits pattern. So I start by dividing my mittens a calf with a line down the center, and then I mark off where I want the first diamond and my ribbed pattern to be, and creating lines that will represent the ribs of my mitten. When I'm finished, I'm going to shake these in a dark, light pattern in order to create the depth and make it seems like my mitten has tons of texture. I'm also going to add a whole bunch of a small hatch marks along the ribs of the mitten to make it seem very netted. My guide marks are ready to go. Now it's time to start shading. You'll notice throughout all of this that I'm using a pretty light color that is similar from the color of my mitten. I find by starting with a light color and working to a dark color, it's a lot easier to build up the tone and color, make things more realistic in their shading and to avoid errors, most importantly, I'm making progress. I've added a lot of shading and some of my hatch marks. For mitten, I'm not using a lot of different colors because I hadn't itself has so much depth. So I'm sticking with a light blue, a medium blue, and a dark blue and not much else. I've added more little lives right now to make this part of it seems like it's netted mitten. Nearly finished. I've got all the details in place. Now I'm just going to tidy up the shading, darken some lines and make sure everything is exactly how I wanted to be. One more set of mittens finished. If you have a keen eye, you may also notice that this is where I've used some of my white gel pads to add a few dots in details in my finishments. You can use the same technique to create all sorts of mitten patterns and submit it. That's it. Now you know my whole process for creating mittens. You can go on to create dozens of beautiful mittens of your own. 8. Thank you: [MUSIC] Thank you so much for taking my class. It has been an absolute pleasure sharing my process with you. If you are going to post your work on social media, please, tag me at Elena Cartier illustrations or use the hashtag Elena teaches. I can't wait to see what you create. [MUSIC]