On Choosing The Medium 一 Ink or Gouache
-----a personal reflection-----
TL;DR: It's probably just down to my own whims, really :P
It's been a long while (January 2019) since I first started drawing/painting with gouache. What initially started as an attempt to merely add a splash of color to my artwork developed into a venture into its own realm, a development I didn't see coming when first starting this journey.
If you have been around for a long time since I first started this sideblog you'd know that my main medium is pencil and ink. I usually add some colors in the digital medium, but as time goes on and I don't want to just play around in tones in my drawings and I can no longer be arsed to add colors digitally I finally decided to try adding a splash of color (in the traditional medium) with gouache.
Why gouache, you may ask? Why not, for example, watercolor? Or perhaps colored ink?
Well, partially because, since gouache is opaque (and I seldom render gradation, a thing that is usually done with watercolor and quite easily at that too), it seemed like gouache is going to suit my art style better needless to say that at this point I haven't recognized the full extent of the properties of gouache. (...and partially because when I started trying gouache, the visual art community on insta at large also started trying gouache as well, crucially trying to embrace its merit as a medium of its own so yeah I was bandwagoning)
Needless to say that I had difficulties when I first tried gouache still does actually, but I persevered (since I am committed to expand my ability as an artist, and trying (and mastering) a new medium is a part of that expansion) and I kept painting with gouache (at least once a month), aiming to get better at it...
...until I got to a point where gouache (almost) became my main medium (...yeah, almost replacing pen and ink(!!)) in September 2020.
As I kept painting with gouache, I eventually got slightly better at it, and the more I got better at gouache, the more often I painted with it. The more I painted with it, the more varied the kind of things I painted with gouache (I initially only drew my usual manga art in gouache, but I later dabbled in painting sceneries as well). The more I painted with gouache (and succeeded in netting lots of likes with it :P :v ) the more often I kept at it, and the more often I kept at it (to the point that I got more comfortable drawing more elaborate scenes (in my usual manga style) with gouache), the more I wondered...
...why do I even still use pen and ink as my medium?
(Yeah this applies mostly to my manga drawings, but also to my drawing in realistic(ish) style ...kinda??)
I guess that choice will be down only to a stylistic one? (I mean if you want to draw gritty things you can achieve that feel easier with ink you know what I mean) ...or a practical one? (This was how I initially decided on which medium I was going to use on a day 一 which one was perceivably easier to use for the drawing I wanted to make)
...or is it...down to my original reason to why I picked gouache to begin with? (...an aesthetic one??) (do I want more colors for my drawings?)
I often fall to the mistaken conception that since ink is the "simpler" medium compared to gouache, the drawings that I make with ink tend to be simpler as well (as in, I tend to not render them in a more elaborate way, compared to how I ostensibly render drawings with gouache), so in a way I (wrongly) think that now that I can make artworks with either ink/gouache equally well more or less the artworks that I make now with ink have less value. Wrong as it sounds, it could actually make the decision making easier (ink for "simpler" drawings, gouache for "elaborate" drawings ー interestingly enough it was initially the other way around ー I drew simple things with gouache while I reserved ink for more elaborate drawings).
But the fact that that mindset is wrong is what makes it hard for me to decide on which medium I want to use to make a drawing now.
So remember the line above where I write that gouache almost became my main medium in September 2020? Why did I bring up that month? It was because I suddenly lost my appetite for drawing things at the end of that month and it has been such a good run with gouache too -.- . No, it's not something caused by something intrinsic to either medium ー anyway I struggled to maintain my will to draw so I knitted things instead :P and this question of choice didn't surface for a while.
You might wonder why I write appetite instead of the commonly used term artist's block ー well, it's because during the time I drew less (from September 2020 until early February 2021) it was not like I didn't know what I wanted to draw ー it's just that despite knowing what I wanted to draw, I didn't feel any desire to actually put pencil on paper and start drawing it. Once I got back to drawing though, this question came back resurfacing.
So again, how do I pick my medium for the drawing I want to make now???
Am I just overcomplicating it?? does seem like it! :P :P :P
If my objective were just to keep drawing no matter what, then I guess the choice comes down to whichever medium was less emotionally taxing at that day (and it's not necessarily the "simpler" medium(!!!)), so if it feels easier to make things with ink, then ink it is! (...and vice versa). Other than the considerations I previously write above, it could also be down to just getting myself out of the rut ー after a while it does get boring to stick to just one thing, so if I got bored with ink I'd definitely switch over to gouache or maybe just switch to the barest of all bones ー pencil.
In the end it seems like there's nothing wrong with deciding on which art medium to choose solely on my own whims on a particular moment when I want to draw something.
...and I guess I'll stick with that for now...
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