Octopus process

*Updated with a better scan.

Hello peeps!

Thought I’d do a wee process post this time. Although this isn’t the way I usually work (or it hasn’t been before although I really enjoyed it, so I might do more!), I thought it’d be good to stop and take pictures to see how it developed.

Here’s the sketch. I really like octopi (octopus, octopuses?) so I decided to do one for fun!

octo1As you can see I went all the way to the edge of the paper originally intending to cut off the tentacles when I painted it. I traced it through my ancient (and tiny) lightbox onto some hot press paper. I love this paper, I know you can’t beat cold press for most watercolour painting but I adore the smooth stuff.

octo2This is me starting to ink the outlines of the tentacles. This took AGES. I have serious and chronic tendonitis due to a work related injury, which absolutely kills but also makes my hands continuously shake. Not great for a painter. Anyway, I added some more onto the tentacles and also made his head a bit bigger.

octo3Now that the lines are all inked, I’ve gone over the outer outline to give it a thick, uneven edge (shaky hands come in useful for the uneven part).

octo4At this point when all the outlines are done I can start thinking about what colours to pick. I have a vague idea of some purple but then decide that really, orange is the only way to go for an octopus. Don’t ask me why, in my head all octopuses (octopi?) are orange.

octo5So, here’s the painting process. Blue/green for the background and orange for the cephalopod. I paint the entire octopus in a pale wash of the orange I want to use, and then go over it again with a thicker wash excluding the suckers.

octopus small

And here he is, in all his orange glory. I used watercolours and some people may think that they’re only good for pale and interesting landscapes, but you’d be wrong. Watercolours are Awesome. With a capital A.

Anyway, hope you like him!

Toodlepip!

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About nataliesmillie

I'm an illustrator and designer living in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
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