thisisteariffic replied to your post: working on two halloween projects this…

what brand of gouache do you like the most?

sadly i cannot advise, since i have only used winsor & newton! i mix in a couple drops of liquitex slow-dry medium which helps marginally. i have been told good things about holbein and may test those out sometime (gouache is just such an investment!)

if anyone else has tried other brands, feel free to weigh in!

update: i have now tried out holbein acryla gouache and recommend it above winsor & newton! it’s cheaper, you don’t get much change in color as the paint dries, it dries more slowly, the caps come off more easily (okay this is a really big deal to me sorry), there is a broader range of pre-mixed colors available if you’re into that (i’m a fan of the ivory), and you can LAYER COLORS without the sub layers coming up because it’s acrylic-based. my only complaints are that the colors aren’t named in a traditional/fine art way (like there’s no cadmium red, etc, so it’s hard to decipher what the purest colors are), and that the consistency of the paint straight out of the tube is quite thin (though it seems to still be thick enough to lay light colors over dark ones). but all in all, A+ good job guys sorry winsor & newton!

thanks so much to the super talented Nicole Gustafsson for the excellent recommendation!

I just posted two recent pieces to my Society6 shop that weren’t available there yet! In addition to prints there are shirts and cards and phone cases and tote bags and pillows and wall clocks and everything under the sun. Use this promo link for free shipping! http://society6.com/teaganwhite?promo=782997

This is about your paint palette (ceramic plate a few pages down). Watercolor and gouache have always been tricky for me as I was told to buy a large large palette to put up to twenty (or more depending on many tubes of colors I have), so that I won't waste paint. In the end, those colors are not as bright as fresh paint. Do you always clean your little palette after each session? I've been using paper palettes to lessen these concerns, yet I worry it's unprofessional and careless.

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in all things i sort of believe in doing whatever’s most comfortable for you rather than what someone told you is “right” — if a paper palette works best for you, don’t sweat it! 

personally, i prefer working with wet or at least not bone-dry-and-rehydrated-30-days-later watercolor paint, so i clean my palette (by running water over it, not completely getting rid of old globs of paint, just cleaning them up a bit so they’re pure yellow, pure red, whatever, again) every time i start a new painting, and also usually add a bit more fresh paint to each well. i agree that it’s easier to get nice, vibrant colors with fresher paint, though it doesn’t really bother me that the new paint dries while i work. i usually paint all the warm colors in a piece first, wash my palette, and then paint all the cool colors — that way nothing gets too muddy and mixed together on the palette.

this, again, comes down to personal preference, but there’s really no reason you need to have 20 tubes of paint. to get a full color spectrum by mixing all you should need is something like a black, cad yellow, cad red, cobalt blue, phthalo green, a burnt umber or other brown if you like, and a couple extras to mix vibrant colors — i keep around a hot pink, vibrant purple, & vibrant turquoise, but only add a tiny bit to my palette when i happen to need them. (traditionally the recommendation would be a warm and cool of each yellow, red, and blue — but just one of each and adding vibrants in as needed works best for me.) if having a big palette is off-putting to you, i suggest limiting the number of tubes you use!

my process (other than color selection) is totally different for gouache because i use it flat & opaque instead of like a watercolor — instead of a ceramic palette i use a disposable paper palette, and take paint from the tube to mix one color at a time as needed with a palette knife. i don’t leave extra unmixed paint on the palette because it dries so quickly it’ll be unusable by the time i need to mix a new color.

hope this helps!

Hi Teagan! I am wondering if you could share with us your process of scanning or photographing your drawings and paintings for reproduction. How much further editing do you do in the computer to get the colors vibrant and true to life (or your intention) if at all?

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I actually do a ton of post work on all my watercolor pieces — partly to compensate for the differences between the scan and the original, and partly to touch up colors and details that weren’t perfect in the original. I’ll put together a post about all the different little tricks I use, with images, in the next few days!

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Hi! When you first graduated, did you manage to find illustration work right away or did it take a while? I just graduated from college and I feel that I need time to rework my portfolio before applying for things....

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If your instincts are telling you to take the time and add some new work to your portfolio that you’re more proud of, then I think you should listen to them! Everyone’s path is different and there isn’t a right or wrong answer. Now that you’ve graduated you have the chance to step back and take a fresh look at your work, you’re probably going to have a clearer idea of what your strongest work was, what you need to work harder at, and what you should leave behind. I definitely went through that when I graduated too. As long as you’re able to subsist in the meantime, take whatever amount of time you need to take to make work that you can show to potential clients or employers with confidence and pride — but remember that you’re never going to feel like your portfolio is “perfect”, none of us ever do, and don’t let that discourage you or make you lose the motivation you had during school. It’s also totally okay to show your portfolio around and be actively improving it at the same time. (Just don’t apologize for your old work while you do!)

I don’t know whether your goal is to freelance or find a job, but if you want to freelance, always keep in mind that you are not solely dependent on the elusive callback from a potential client. Your income can come from so many different places, and you can work towards tons of profitable personal projects in the downtime between client work. No projects coming in? Design a stationery set and start an Etsy! Make a pattern collection and shop it around to textile companies! Participate in group shows! Screenprint some tote bags! Take personal commissions! Create a font! Collaborate with a fellow illustrator! Post everything online everywhere until people start noticing you! Do whatever the hell you’re interested in and find a way to make it pay for itself. I know it’s easier said than done, but the most successful illustrators are resourceful and self-motivated, and don’t sit around waiting for jobs to come to them. 

You asked about my personal experience so I’ll admit that I’ve been very very lucky. I’ve been freelancing here and there since before I started college, and was working pretty much full time by my senior year, and I’ve never had to really solicit work. I honestly believe that I get more jobs and attention than my work merits, but it doesn’t all fall in my lap either. I’ve been working for almost 10 years, since I was a kid drawing shitty anime fanart, at being very visible online, and I also have a diverse portfolio which leads to lots of different kinds of job opportunities (children’s illustration, technical illustration, typography, patterns, etc) — if my work only functioned as one of these things, I wouldn’t be doing very well. I also don’t think of slow periods as slow periods; I think of them as opportunities to do that personal piece I’ve had in my head, or be in a gallery show, or teach myself to make an animated GIF. 

I’m not trying to say that you should be able to do everything under the sun, or even try to. What I’m saying is that you have so many options beyond sending out mailers and waiting for responses, that you are in control of how you spend your time and where your money comes from, and that drawing literally anything at all will move you the littlest bit closer to your goals. And that’s cool, you know? It takes a long time and a lot of work and isn’t easy for anyone and some days when you haven’t slept in 48 hours you’ll want to say fuck it, but eventually you’ll always remember that if you have even a faint chance of making money from sitting at a desk in your own home with a cup of coffee and Bomb the Music Industry on at full volume while you DRAW STUFF, you are already lucky, and it’s worth every bit of work you put into it.

Sorry for being a total sap, goodnight!

Here is a first peek at Acorn Trail, my newest textile collection with Birch Fabrics!

The prints feature florals, bugs, some animal pals you might remember from the Fort Firefly collection, and their happy forest mom Penny, with various designs available in poplin, canvas, knit, and voile. There is even a cut and sew panel so you can make your own softies of some of the characters!

The collection will be out in August, available through Fabricworm.com & other sellers — you can request to be sent an email notification via Fabricworm when a fabric is released! Photography by Birch Fabrics.