Thumbnails and Sketches

I am very new to the concept of book cover design, so using my measurements I started roughing out the proportions of the cover and sketching out some ideas of how to lay out the cover. I knew that I wanted the Distracted Globe and the intersection to feature on the front cover of the book as they are focal points of the piece of text I chose, so I stuck to that idea and built others around it.

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After spending about 2 minutes on each of the thumbnails above, I used the template I created to develop the middle-right image.

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Gouache Painting (upskill)

For my FMP, I decided to really push the boundaries of my capabilities and try out new mediums I’ve never used before. The first medium I decided to experiment with was gouache. When I use a medium for the first time I don’t tend to research much, I just find out what materials and utensils I need and see what I can create.

The following image is a page filled with my first experiments – they were painted on a dark grey cardstock, as I had heard that gouache allowed you to easily paint over dark surfaces and I wanted to test the theory. Each number corresponds with an explanation below.

1 numbered

  1. This was the first thing I did when I sat down to paint. I knew that gouache was water-based and supposed to hold the properties of both acrylic and watercolour, so I first laid down a stripe of shiny blue paint I had mixed together. I then added some water, mixed it into the paint, and laid down another stripe. I repeated this process 5 times, just to see how the paint acted as it became less viscous. The paint reacted by becoming more opaque, and then when there was more water than paint the paint pooled up and became more opaque again.
  2. Here I laid down a strip of paint that I had mixed up. I cleaned my brush, saturated it with water, and tried to pull the paint along with the water. This created a fading effect.
  3. Here I mixed up two paints and painted them on top of each other, diluting each paint after each layer. The result at the beginning was just lines of paint on top of each other, but as the paints became more opaque the colours mixed together, creating a sort of gradient.
  4. Here I painted two stripes of colour, and attempted to create a gradient by mixing them in the middle with water. This didn’t work very effectively, as it muddled the original stripes of paint too.
  5. Here I attempted to retry making a gradient. This time I painted a box of magenta paint, and while it was still wet I cleaned my brush and loaded it with white paint. I then brushed the while onto the magenta in vertical strokes, painting more strokes the further across the box I went. Painting over the same spot over and over mixes the paint, creating the gradient I was looking for.
  6. When gouache is diluted enough, I found that it was fluid enough to hand letter with. Here I wrote “hello” in a modern calligraphy style, but I found that the paint was diluted too much and appeared to be washed out. I added a highlight to the middle of the letter strokes with a watered-down pearl white acrylic, but that didn’t improve the legibility as I had hoped it would.
  7. I laid down a patch of blue paint here to test how the pearl white acrylic reacted to being watered-down. No matter how much I diluted it, it didn’t seem to change the appearance of the paint.
  8. This was another take on a gradient. I used the same white-magenta colours to create the gradient, starting with a very pale pink. I painted a line of colour before mixing a little more magenta to what i was already on my brush. I painted a line with the new, more saturated colour and continued this process until I reached the pure magenta colour. I think this looks effective as it stands, but blending the lines together with a slightly damp paintbrush could produce some interesting effects.
  9. This dark corner is where I first used a pallet knife. I used the knife to mix together two new colours I created by using small amounts of other colours from the paint tubes. This is arguably one of the most effective ways of paint-mixing in terms of time and in economy – it doesn’t take a very long time to achieve a uniform colour, and it hardly wastes any paint as a brush would.
    I put down a swipe of blue paint, let it dry, and then applied a swipe of red paint over that. Just as it worked with the brushes, the paint was opaque enough to produce two blocks of colour.
  10. All of the swipes of paint surrounding this one were experiments into creating textures and patterns by not mixing paint all the way. I made sure I mixed together colours that were in similar colour families so that the resulting colours weren’t muted or muddied.
    The mixes of colours I used were light blue, dark blue, and white; dark blue, maroon, purple, and pearl white; light blue, light green, dark green, yellow, and white.

[Pictured above: the making of pallet knife swipes in number 10, from my instagram]

My second page of experiments was on a more greige piece of scrap, used card, as I had already tried painting on black. Neither colour of cardstock really affected the paintings.

4 numbered

  1. This was my attempt at a sort of galaxy-looking piece. I roughly mixed black, blue, purple, pink, and pearl white on a pallet knife and applied it to a square that had already been drawn onto the card (it was a scrap piece I decided to reuse). I applied it in horizontal lines, letting the colours spill out of the black and play around and muddle with each other to create an interesting pattern. While I think this looks effective, I would use less black if attempting it again. It overwhelms the piece.
  2. Here I attempted to mix two watered-down blobs of paint by laying them down next to each other, cleaning my brush, and putting water in the middle. I spread the water out and mixed the paint into it, creating a purple colour from the red and blue.
  3. To do this I really, really watered down a pinkish-purple paint and laid down a square of it. I let that dry, and overlapped a corner of it with another square from the same watered down piece of paint. On the overlap the paint is much more opaque, which may be helpful in creating some of my final pieces.
  4. The three yellow squares here are all derived from the same tube of yellow paint – the furthest to the left has the least amount of white added to it, and the one on the right has the most white added to it. I painted these to see how much the paint lightened after it dried, as it was visible during the drying process to see the wet paint and the light paint side-by-side. It doesn’t matter how saturated, desaturated, light or dark the paint is, it will always lighten somewhat after it’s dry.
  5. The same experiment as above, but with green and blue hues this time.
  6. This line is straight off of a paintbrush I used to half-mix some colours together, creating a slight marbling effect in the paint. While the pallet knife can create sharp definition between strips of colour, the effect is much more muted and soft when done with a paintbrush. However, this does seem to waste quite a bit of paint.
  7. Some more hand lettering, this time with bolder colours that I didn’t water down so much. These turned out a lot more impressive than my first attempt above, as they are more legible and do not blend into the paper.
  8. A very abstract approach to see how gouache would look while using one point perspective. The colours would look very bright on a building, so would have to be muted slightly to look more natural in a scene.
  9. Another gradient here, this time with blue and maroon. I used the same technique here as I did on number 5 on the darker card.
  10. An attempt at creating a pallet knife paint swipe within a circular frame. To do this I roughly mixed some colours on my knife and applied them piece by piece, connecting the small sections to make it look seamless. My first attempt at this was to do it in one fell swoop by putting the knife to the middle of my circle and spinning the cardstock, but this proved to be ineffective and didn’t look good at all.
  11. This was another attempt at number 10, but this time with more colour and within a bigger circle. Here I used colours that do not belong to the same colour family, challenging myself not to let the opposing colours blend with each other and become muddy. I think I did this quite effectively, and the reaction to this rendition from my peers has been nothing but positive.
  12. Here I attempted layering yellows, oranges, and reds to create a fire-like texture. To do this I laid down a base layer of orange, let it dry, and then mixed up a new colour to dab on top of it with a brush. I repeated this 5-10 times with different colours to produce this effect. I don’t know where I could use this within my work, but it does look very effective.
  13. Here I mixed light green, dark blue, and purple on a pallet knife. I made sure to keep the blue in the middle, as blue is used to make both purple and green and would therefore look good next to either colour. However, I made sure to keep the green and purple separate so that they didn’t mix and become muddy. I think this looks very visually interesting, especially the broken-up section of paint.
  14. Finally, I laid out a dab of every colour in the rainbow (ROYGBIV) next to each other and mixed them slightly using the pallet knife. I then swiped it onto the cardstock vertically, making sure not to mix the colours too much, but enough to produce a nice blend between each one.

In order to help other people recreate these gouache techniques, I created an Upskill document and shared it with my peers via Google Drive. I have included screenshots of the document below.

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One Point Perspective

“A mathematical system for representing three-dimensional objects and space on a two-dimensional surface by means of intersecting lines that are drawn vertically and horizontally and that radiate from one point on a horizon line…”

One point perspective is a drawing technique that makes objects appear to be smaller as they get further away, coming together at a singular vanishing point on the horizon line. It conveys a sense of depth in an image, and brings 3 dimension to a drawing on a 2d surface.
One point perspective is particularly effective when used to draw subjects that are being seen face-on, when looking down something long – such as a road in a city – and when drawing room interiors.

A good place to start learning one point perspective is by drawing cubes. I decided to follow this video, which I found through the studentartguide website.

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As I watched this video, I followed the instructions given to create the cubes, and made notes for me to reference back to. I repeated each square placement twice, once as I followed the video and once after to ensure I understood the process, and what each placement produced in terms of shapes. I also used more rectangular shapes the second time around, just to see how the length and width of the square affected the outcome.


After getting to grips with that, I drew out some simple scenes inspired by 2 of the places I will be drawing: Diagon Alley and Hobbiton. While drawing my initial trial boxes, I thought one point perspective would be effective to use to create Diagon Alley. I still believe this to be true, but I am going to have to find a happy place to put my horizon line so that the road doesn’t seem too long, and be able to warp and bend the buildings and road to give them a more whimsical feel.
I also made a small list of thoughts and conclusions I made at the bottom of the page.

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I intend to come back to this technique at a later point to refine the skill and use it to create Diagon Alley. I definitely need to look into this more in-depth to be able to create the landscape I am envisioning. I began experimenting more with the knowledge I gained from that single video and produced this, proving to me that I really do need to come back to this at a later date.

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I really don’t like these two images – they’re too boxy and clean-cut to be a vision of Diagon Alley. Perhaps some study of actual alleyways and some more research into one point perspective will point me in the right direction.

Sources Used:

Circle Line Art School (2016). How To Draw Using 1-Point Perspective. Available at: (Accessed 12 Apr. 2017) (2017). the definition of one-point perspective. [online] Available at: (Accessed 12 Apr. 2017)

Gale, A. (2017). One Point Perspective Drawing: The Ultimate Guide. [online] Student Art Guide. Available at: (Accessed 12 Apr. 2017)

Student Art Guide (2014). How to draw a cube in 1 point perspective. Available at: (Accessed 12 Apr. 2017)

Water-Based Pen Experiment

As somebody who works with watercolours often, I am comfortable with how they work and how I can use them to create an effect I want. However, I wanted to see if I could create a new effect with a rather unorthodox idea: blending out water-based pens with some water and a brush.

The thought process I had behind this was that my Copic markers (an alcohol-based marker) are unaffected by water and blend easily with each other because of the alcohol base, while my Crayola washable markers (a water-based marker) do not blend well with each other. This got me thinking, as you can dilute the colour from Copics with alcohol (they have a “blender” pen which is just alcohol with no pigment and it practically erases the ink), shouldn’t you be able to dilute the colour from the Crayola markers with water?

To begin my experiment I selected my first set of colours. I chose purple, pink, red, and blue to create something I am very comfortable with painting – a galaxy. I then roughed out where I wanted the colours to be by laying down lines of colour in a way I thought would look nice when blended out. After that, I took a cup of water and a paint brush, dipped the brush into the water, and began blending. I waited for the first layer to dry, drew on some more lines of colour, and repeated this until I was happy with the outcome.


These were the outcomes I got after adding details with a gel pen and more markers, with my thoughts beneath each one.

I think the top two pieces look the best – the spaces left between the marker lines made for good gaps between colour, adding depth to the galaxies. However, I wasn’t happy with the amount of depth the markers produced. It was difficult to blend them without the water eating up my paper, but if I didn’t blend enough it left harsh lines from the pen. This can definitely be put down to me using paper that wasn’t intended for watercolour and for using pens which weren’t meant to be used as watercolour paints.

To conclude, these experimental pieces are not quite what I was looking for to use in my project. Using markers instead of paints was interesting to see, but was really more of a chore than anything. I had limited colour choice, a hard time blending out harsh lines, and less control over where colour went once it was dampened. In future, it would be easier to just stick to watercolour paints.