Making A Custom Water Colour Palette

Custom Watercolour Palette

I know how often I’ve raved about my little WHSmith palette (**), and don’t get me wrong, I still love it and use it, but I’ve been wanting to make a second palette for a while which is more customised and fits a few more colours. Not to mention it also had a mixing tray which is a lovely little bonus feature.

Where I bought the pan and palette: Palette Pans (**) • Empty Palette (**)

A few months ago I’d found a few sellers which sold empty water colour pallets and I decided to get two. One for de-potting my lipsticks – which I’ll blog about later – and one for a custom water colour palette. I had to buy the pans separately, and once they arrived they fit on the tray perfectly, but I decided to remove the tray all together so that I could fit more colours into the palette.

Watercolour Tray

Once I took the tray out the palette fit twenty four colours instead of twelve. Fine, they’re not held in place as sturdily and rattle around the palette a little, but quite frankly it’s a slight annoyance I’m happy to accept. Especially if it means I get to carry more colours around with me.

My Colours

The colours I bought (**): Paynes Grey • Cadmium Red Deep Hue • Indigo • Dioxazine Violet Burt Sienna • The Works 12 Colour Watercolour Set • 2x Chinese WhiteDavies Grey

Old Palette New Palette

The colours are a a little bit of a mis-matched collection. Some are from the works and some are from Windsor and Newton. The works watercolours are a lot less pigmented than the W&N colours, but they’re still perfectly useable. As someone who tends to go overboard on the colours that is probably a good thing that they’re a little more muted. It’ll stop me from forgetting that they’re not acrylics, and that you have to build up the colours slowly.

Watercolour Swatches

The last think I did was add a swatch page on water colour paper. A few years ago I would just have skipped this step entirely, but it makes a huge difference! The purple colour for example looks like it’s a black colour in tablet form. It’s only when you add water that you realise it’s a beautiful vibrant purple. Having a swatch page allows you to see at a glance exactly the level of pigmentation you’re working with, and the finish. Now I just need to test it out on the next batch of Outsider concept art.

Drawing Loba

Loba Finished

Unfortunantly this character wont be appearing in the comic book for a while. Loba is only introduced in the books in Defiance, and for the moment the comic book is still only in the early chapters of Outsider. But I wanted to draw her anyway, and I wasn’t about to wait till she appeared in the books. Besides, I’m probably going to change her hair before that and re-draw it so that her curls are much tighter and wilder.

Sketches First Colours Pencil Layers

I started off with the Cretacolour pencils and then over that used a selection of pan pastels. I’ve been using a combination of brushes for this part lately, some denser ‘c’ shaped makeup brushes to press the basic skin colours into the paper, and then a fluffier water colour brush to apply the highlights on the skin.

What I used:

Mechanical pencil • Cretacolor Oil Pencils Pan Pastels White Gel Pen Pitt Grey Pen

It was quite fun to play around with the eyebrows on this one too. Loba is one of those fierce and stubborn characters, and I don’t know about you but I always imagine those kind of characters with thick Audrey-esque eyebrows. Thin eyebrows never seem to suit them very much.

Pan Pastels Loba's Eyebrows

Loba Finished

I also played around with using pan pastels for the hair. I still need to practice around with with using pan pastels for hair a bit more, especially for tightly curled hair, but I love the effect it gives! I ended up getting the hang of it more in the Yrsa Gull portrait which I drew right after this one. I think at some point I might have to do a few hair studies with the pan pastels and experiment with drawing different hair types, especially if I want to re-drew Loba with tighter curls.

You can read the Outsider comic here

DIY Helmet Tutorial


And finally, the last tutorial of the year! Well, that might not be true, I’ll probably upload a tutorial before New Years, but I fully intend to take Christmas off and give myself time to relax and film the Harry Potter series I have planned before I head off to LA for IMATS.

This week I’ll be showing you a supper easy (but not very quick) way to make a helmet

Of course there are lots of different ways you could use the techniques I use in this video. If you want the horns could be bigger, or maybe you want more elaborate patterns on the helmet which could easily be embossed on with a glue gun. Either way there are a hundred and one ways to take the tricks I show you an use them to make your own helmet, not just Vígdís’s helmet.

I hope you like the tutorial and merry Christmas! :D

Drawing Yrsa Gull

Yrsa Gull

There’s something seriously fun but confusing about drawing the evil characters. I wanted to make her a little more weasel looking, gaunter and just a lot less attractive in general. But once I started to sketch her out she flatly refused to be anything else other than beautiful.

Basic Base Tools Used

I’ve also fallen a little in love with my new Cretacolor pencils. They’re just so perfect for drawing skin! First thing I did was draw the shadows and contours on the face before blending them with makeup and art brushes. 

For the hair though I wanted to try out something a little different. I’ve been using pan pastels for drawing skin a lot, but a few weeks ago it occurred to me I could try and use it for hair too. My first try on Loba sort of worked (I’ll have a post about her next week) but for Yrsa I changed my approach a little and used pan pastels for the base colours and then layered over with the Cretacolour pencils. It meant I didn’t have to spend anywhere near the same amount of time drawing every single little hair because the base colours were already there. 

The Hair Gold and Bronze Powder Paint

A few weeks ago I got my hands on these powdered paints and I hadn’t had the time to try them out so I used them on her earrings. I have quite a lot of concept art I still need to finish for comic book such as a drawing of the Leshy and Ragana’s escape from the Frǫoðleikr, so I’m hoping I’ll get a chance to test these out properly on one of those paintings.

Yrsa Gull Portrait

For her eyes I used a combination of tools, some blue polychromos, a pale blue from a new Japanese watercolour palette and of course a white gelt pen for the highlight in the eyes. And that’s the final drawing! The comic book version of the character will be going on our out Facebook page soon and I think you’re going to love it! Oh, and before I forget, the second issue of the comic book is going to start in less than five days! Be exited, because it’s going to be awesome! :D