Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tutorial: Painting "His Father's Eyes" (ink and gouache)

This piece titled "His Father's Eyes" was for the WWA Gallery's "Horrorwood" show in 2010, and was inspired by the movie "Rosemary's Baby." I executed it in my usual fashion- transferred the daring to Stonehenge paper via lightbox, mounted it on heavy museum board, and painted it with india ink washes and then gouache on top for color:

Here was the initial sketch of Rosemary and her "baby."


I wanted to fill in the space around her in an oval with satan... here was the separate sketch:

Here is a comp of the two sketches put together. I think I'll fade the devil away into feathers or something since the legs read funny when partially obscured. I'm planning on calling this painting "His Father's Eyes.":

The transferred drawing. (graphite on Stonehenge paper, mounted on museum board)

The first washes of ink. (Dr. Ph Martin's "Black Star" waterproof ink; matte)

Finished with the ink tones:

Built up color with washes of gouache:

Here is the progression from drawing to finished painting:

Here are the paints/tools I used:

The Winsor & Newton Series 7 #5 brush is expensive, but I do almost ALL of my gouache painting with it because it is so well made and has such a fine, natural tip. Definitely more than worth every penny.

This piece was be on display and for sale at the Horrorwood show at the WWA Gallery in Culver City, which opened October 15th, 2010. This piece is *SOLD*.


  1. Good afternoon Cooper. When you say "Museum Board", what exactly are you talking about? Is it something that anyone can get access to at a Hobby Lobby? Or is it a more specific material that you have to find another means to obtaining. And are you just gluing your paper directly onto the board?

    1. Hi! It is actually called museum board- but it is essentially an archival mounting board. You should be able to find it at an art supply store, probably not a hobby store though- it's professional grade.

      These days I've been mounting to pre-gessoed art panels rather than to museum board for even more rigidity. The benefit of museum board is that you can cut it with a sharp xacto blade (with some care and effort) so it allows you to mount to any custom size you desire. the pre-gessoed panels only come in standard sizes and you would need heavier equipment to cut them to a custom size.

      I use matt medium to mount the paper to board since it is archival and porous, I have not found anything else that is as effective and archival in my years of doing this.

      You should read the "mounting paper to board" tutorial, it should answer all your questions regarding the method!

      Here is a link to that other tutorial:

  2. i just love your work so much! do you have prints available? (and if so, where can i purchase them?)... i just found your tutorials and i'm loving them...

    1. I'm glad you are enjoying the tutorials!

      If you look on the right side of my regular blog ( there is a list of links under the heading "Shop Prints:" which gives you some options!

  3. I know this is really late, but why use ink to lay the initial tones instead of black gouache?

    1. The india ink is waterproof so it will not mix with and muddy the subsequent layers of gouache. Gouache is never fully "fixed" so if I did the initial grayscale tones in black gouache it would mix with the colors I layed on top of it.

  4. I work with gouache and ink all the time, do you use paper towels to blot away the extra paint?


Thank you for your questions and comments! I read all of them and try to respond to as many as I can!