Practice makes perfect? Learning to paint

I’ve never been a massive fan of painting. I tried acrylics and watercolours but they weren’t for me. Acrylic paints are useful for creating textures for my illustrations but painting something more complete with them doesn’t appeal to me. The textures that I make with paint are scanned and added digitally into my artwork. Oil paints looked way too complicated, expensive and take so long to dry. Basically, I’m too impatient for painting. I admire anyone who has more patience than I do.

When the UK went into lockdown in March 2020, just like many people I took up a new hobby. Gouache! I like to see gouache as a happy medium between acrylic and watercolour paint. It’s thick and matte but can be watered down and blended.

Throughout university, one tutor suggested quite often that I try gouache because it would suit my style. However, being the stubborn person that I am, I never tried it. It was not cheap but my dislike for every other kind of paint encouraged me to try something new.

Kate Sharp Illustration dragon and baby Etsy painting

The first painting was a dragon holding a baby. It sounds morbid but I’ll add a photo to the left to show you that it was actually pretty cute. I was treating the paint more like a pen, just filling inside the pencil lines. It was flat, block colours with thin lines. Which is not like my usual style of thick lines with patterns and textures.

I didn’t want to lose my style. I wasn’t trying to reinvent myself, but more add another string to my bow.

The paintings were an escape from the pandemic and boredom. The nature of painting is that they take a lot longer than my usual fast line work, which is what I needed to distract myself. Perhaps I started painting out of necessity to keep myself sane.

The paintings progressed into animal studies. I love drawing animals and giving them all different personalities. I painted 5-10 animals in different poses. Each were a different breed of the same species to add variety in the paintings. Goats were my favourite to paint because they are, in my opinion the best animals ever.

Kate Sharp Illustration Etsy snake goat duck animals painting

The gouache paintings were a bit hit or miss for me. I didn’t feel that they were my best work… Of course, I was learning a new skill! However, my followers on social media loved them. So much so that I took a big leap and got a big chunk of them made into prints to sell on my Etsy. It was a big confidence boost seeing that people were interested in owning a piece of my work.

I’ll never paint a masterpiece but it’s now a skill that I didn’t have before lockdown.

Kate Sharp Illustration animals painting rabbit dogs butterfly Etsy

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