Floral Illustration Materials

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Duration: 9:25

Artist Mia Whittemore leads a discussion on her favorite floral illustration tools and media, based on personal trial and error. Mia prefers to paint with watercolors, acrylic gouache, and water-based gouache. Rather than working straight from the tube, Mia suggests putting the watercolor paint into a palette and letting it dry. Once dry, it can be reactivated with water. Watercolor paint is transparent and allows for lots of layers and color mixing. Gouache is similar to watercolor but is much thicker, more opaque, and more concentrated. Mia likes to use water-based gouache and thin it down with water. Like watercolor paint, she can reactivate it if it dries out. Mia also uses acrylic gouache. It’s the same opacity as water-based gouache, but when it dries, it’s permanent; it will not move and cannot be reactivated.

Choosing the right paint palette is also important. Mia keeps her watercolors in a large travel palette and uses a sturdy ceramic palette for her water-based gouache paints. For acrylic gouache, Mia uses a stay-wet palette, which utilizes a sponge to keep the paint wet. A paper palette is also good for gouache as it allows you to work on it and then throw it away once you’re done.

Mia uses a variety of brushes, depending on what she’s painting. To add an overall water or color wash to a paper, she uses a wide flat brush. But when it comes to the subject of a painting, she mostly prefers synthetic round brushes in a variety of sizes. Mia paints on hot-press paper (which is smooth) vs. cold-press paper (which is textured.) Hot-press paper works well for her no matter the medium she’s using. But paper is a personal preference, says Mia, and some artists may prefer cold-pressed paper which is more absorbent.

Finally, Mia recommends using artists’ tape, which is more gentle than masking tape, a paint cup with a brush cleaner at the bottom, and a kneaded eraser. Her must-have pencil? She prefers to work with an F.

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