Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Winter Hedgehog in Gouache

This project was inspired by an illustration I found on Pinterest a while back, which I've not been able to relocate since, and whose artist I'm unfortunately not able to give due credit. See it below.
Original Pinterest illustration
I thought this would the perfect little winter project for my younger age group (8-10 years old) to interpret, and a great way to continue our explorations of gouache.

Teacher Sample

The project I created around this piece incorporates opportunities for students to explore a range of techniques, including brushwork, blending and layering.
There is also the development of a landscape, with a defined foreground, middle ground and background.
There is also a focus on the elements and principles of variety (in the foliage), and of value and painting form (in the shadowing and highlighting of the mushrooms and the hedgehog).

In a small format painting (24 x 24 cm,  or 9.5 x 9.5 inches), there is a lot of learning ground to cover.

Class collage. Kids ages 8-10
See my youtube channel for a full tutorial on how to do this project: VIDEO TUTORIAL

I precut watercolor paper into squares and taped down the borders with washi tape.

We used a limited palette of:
ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, yellow ochre, burnt umber, red, dark green, and white.

The hedgehog was drawn using both a teacher drawing demo on the whiteboard, and by looking at visuals of hedgehogs. Basic shapes is the best way to start: start with a sideways egg shape, then reshape the front for an upward scooping snout with a point. Nose goes on the tip, and the eye goes on the opposite edge of snout. The body has two parts - the top prickly part in dark brown, and the lower half in lighter brown/ochre. This line is drawn in, with spiky hair peeks and an ear shape. There are four feet, with stumpy little legs. The ones closer to the viewer appear slightly lower.
We drew in the horizon line, crossing behind the hedgehog, the middle-ground line crossing behind his legs.

We drew two mushrooms, one larger than the other, using basic chubby triangular shapes, and thick stems which are wider at bottom than at top.

Sky was painted from the the top of paper to middle-ground, from dark to light, using blues with burnt umber, pure blue and blue with white.
Middle-ground was painted in a lighter blue, and foreground was painted in an even lighter blue, almost white.

Dark to light gradation sky
Hedgehog: Belly of hedgehog was painted first with ochre. White was added directly on top, in areas that have a lighter value or a highlight, and blended into the ochre. Top of body was painted in burnt umber. We added a bit of ultramarine blue to the brown for a deeper brown wherever there is shadow.
Snout was painted in brown, and white was added at top and blended in for a highlighted edge.
Legs in brown, with darker brown for shadows and lighter for highlights.

Day 1 progress
Mushrooms: Snow caps were painted first in white. Then the red part. Stems were painted in browns with white lightly blended in on one side for a highlighted edge. White dots were added over top of red once it was dry.

The moon was painted in white.

Light brown dashes were added on the back of the hedgehog using a tiny detail brush.

Leaves and shrubs were added at the foreground, going off both sides of the paper. Using a tiny detail brush, green stems where painted high on both sides, and leaves added. We created different greens for our shrubs, mixing blues, ochre and white into our green. Smaller shrubs were added at bottom center front in different blues, greens, ochres and browns.

Stars were painted using a tiny brush with a light dotting texture. Then, using a toothbrush, a finer mist of white paint was splattered across the composition for that snowy feel.

Washi tape was removed to reveal a lovely white border.