I never was meant to be an aquarellist. It’s simply not a medium I naturally get along with, but one that I am determined to conquer. For this reason only, I started (or to be accurate, re-started) a series of watercolour experiments in hopes of mastering this difficult and temperamental medium.
Ever since childhood, I very rarely enjoyed looking at classical watercolour paintings. They were too elusive for me. As a pen-and-ink artist, I love clarity, borders, lines, and shapes. Consuming art that is faded, transparent, fluid, and liquid goes against my nature as a person. I like opacity, dryness, solidness, and a lot of “forte” in colour and shape.
Interestingly, in recent years, there’s been a rise in modern watercolour trends. Trends that resonate with what I naturally gravitate towards, where watercolour is more controlled, yet allowed to create its unpredictable textures on paper within certain confines.
This, I like! Watercolour that acts like gouache, that is more opaque than its old classical self, and that is used as an illustration medium, and not as a painting of fine art. No offence to fine art watercolour, of course, but honestly, we never got along.
And so, for the past two days, I have been working on my new Moleskine watercolour album, using my vintage Pelikan watercolour set in addition to my relatively new Van Gogh half pans by Royal Talens.
During my recent trip to Milano, I brought back two professional-grade Schmincke Horadam watercolour tubes, and was totally blown away by the intensity of the pigments. But in this post, I’m sharing with you my illustrations using student-grade watercolours. I plan to share my Schmincke Horadam watercolour experiments once I get more work done, hopefully!
Also being someone with no particular attachment to sketchbooks, I found great liberty in working on paper that wasn’t too precious, that wrinkled, and that wasn’t meant to be anything more than a place to explore.
Perhaps, that is why I started with something I love so very drearily, and that is Moroccan ceramics and North African patterns. I started with a Tunisian Tajine, and from there moved on to illustrate a vase, and a teapot. I had to paint the hand of Fatima, and next to it a pattern inspired by hand-painted geometric shapes typically found on handmade ceramics and pottery.
I’m happy with the results. I love how I was able to create something with watercolour that wasn’t too contrived, probably for the very first time!
But don’t let that fool you! The very next day, I produced absolutely horrendous paintings that I will make sure to never share on this blog, hehe!
I’m happy you joined me for today’s post. I look forward to seeing you again soon, meanwhile, keep on exploring!
Moroccan and North African patterns and watercolour experiments by illustrator and artist Yaansoon
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