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  • Writer's pictureandreahywong

Chuck, the [war] panda

I came across some gorgeous #watercolour artwork on my Instagram feed today and was inspired to try myself! I’ve always loved the concept of #urban #sketching - going out and creating art from what’s in front of you at that time. With quarantine and social distancing, I figured I could always start inside with some indoor objects first.

I was never a fantastic #visual artist, so I figured to start something not too complex. Alas! I chose my “piggy/panda bank” Chuck, who has been sitting on the windowsill with a windmill rested on top. My partner and I have always thought it makes it look like some awesome warrior/war-panda ridng into battle. Like an animal that would carry a human on its back, playing a large taiko drum to command troops. But... considering how much pandas eat and sleep, they might not be the most appropriate battle animal.

I bought this windmill when I took a trip to the Old Town of LiJiang in China. There are actually two layers of blades, and they're a gorgeous patterned gold-colour that spin in a breeze. Maybe I'll try #painting just the #windmill next time! #future

Anyway, I thought I’d log some of my thoughts/processes here!

Pencil Sketch

The initial sketch is always hard for me. I feel like it's supposed to get a general shape and outline but I always floop the proportions. I used a #Staedtler Mars Lumograph 100 B Pencil I found laying around the house.

I should take note next time to take better pictures as this one is hardly focused, but I've sharpened its features so the pencil lines are more visible. I was definitely rushed to continue at this point.

Fineliner Outline & Shading

A few years ago, a friend and I bought a single 0.05 Pigma Micron fineliner... and I couldn't find it! So I just used a standard Sharpie Fine Point Pen to outline my drawing. The windmill has some gorgeous details, but Chuck was in contrast, very simple. I decided to shade in his black patterns in with pen rather than just watercolour. To be honest, I felt I made a mess of the black portion of his body, it looks messy despite my attempt to fix it with some cross patterns. His eye patches also looked too "filled-in" and made him look either very sleep-deprived or demonic. What's done was done though. At least his smile somewhat helps.


This part turned out better than I thought it could ever look. It even made my previous shading #oof looking alright! Here, you can see the drum's green is still wet, but I think I sort of grasped when to just leave it and let the paint dry. I love the aesthetic of "blotchy" remnants of colourful puddles.

I think the windmill/"war drum" looks a bit messy in the end. I started with a darker red body mixed with black. Then added brown to the darker outlines and leather handle. It looked really transparent and too bright tho, so I mixed in some black and it seemed to do ok. I do feel I may have used too much water as my pigments looked very diluted. I ended up using a yellow for the golden metal parts. I think it was too much pigment/not enough water as it looks really heavy and saturated to me. I'm not sure how to capture its lustre too. The shine... I think next time, I'll have to play with leaving more #emptyspace and using less water.

I thought the body of the panda looked good! I started with black, and felt it looked very 2-dimensional despite having some "darker" more concentrated black sections (like the left border of the middle coloured section). So, I added a darker blue, and decided it needed purple.

I ended up going back to the windmill as it looked flat. I didn't do justice to the beautiful intricate protruding designs. I tried brown initially, but it blended with the body's red. I think I #should've waited longer for it to dry. I then added some orange, and it pops a bit much to me right now, but I decided to leave it before damaging it more. Overall, I'm happy with it!

Excited how this turned out! Looking forward to the next!


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