Pacific Pup: The California Coast According to Annette


Midweek Update

Mix it up!
If there is one thing I have learned in my artistic adventures, it is to never set limits or think certain actions are “wrong.” Rules, as the old saying goes, are meant to be broken. For years, I thought there was some rule against mixing media like watercolors, colored pencil, graphite, acrylics, gouache, etc. But why not? While there are techniques that are more successful than others, there is no right or wrong to what media you use or how you apply color to a surface. After realizing that experimenting leads to some fantastic revelations and interesting techniques, one of my favorite things to do is mix many different types of media together.
One thing I love to do is use colored pencil over watercolors. This is a technique I learned from Jenny Keller, an amazing sketch artist who teaches at the Cal State University Monterey Bay Science Illustration program. Colored pencil over watercolor helps achieve a rich pigment and can add shading quickly, while watercolor alone can take quite a while. I also like outlining light watercolor washes with black pen or pencil to give shapes more definition or add a graphic quality to the piece. I love mixing gouache and watercolor as well, because it is possible to achieve areas of very opaque and rich colors, next to areas of very translucent and bright watercolor washes. Sometimes I mix acrylic and colored pencils as well, using a technique similar to what I do with watercolors. Acrylics are water-based and can be thinned out to translucent washes, just like watercolors. I often mix more than three kinds of media together, just to see what the effects are.
Experimenting and making mistakes are ways I use to grow and learn about myself as an artist. I try to leave my inhibitions behind when I get ready to sketch. This is a time when breaking rules will never get you into trouble!
See you at the beach!
Annette Filice
(Scientific Illustrator Intern)

Sketch Notes:
I always thought it was wrong to mix media together, but I decided to break all the rules! I like to experiment by using different techniques in the same illustration, and sometimes the results are very effective.
Watercolor and Colored Pencil:
Here I used a saturated watercolor wash to being with, saturated meaning a high ratio of watercolor pigment to water. Next, I used colored pencil to to add textural elements and richer colors.
Watercolor and Gouache
The rocks are painted in gouache, while the water and sky are painted in watercolors. I like the contrast of opaque media right next to translucent watercolors.
Watercolor and Pen
I really like to define shapes or add shading with a black felt-tip pen over light watercolor washes. I prefer Micron brand pens. They carry a nice brown color that I used here in the sand.