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From Black and White to Color: My Evolution as an Illustrator

Bijgewerkt op: 31 jan.


Lonely man hugging wrong person in black & white comic art style. Whimsical pen & ink style almost like an etching. Perfect for a somber tone website. By Foeshel.

As an artist and illustrator, I've always been drawn to different styles and techniques, and over the years, I've experimented with a variety of mediums to create my unique artworks. In this post, I want to share with you some of the different styles I use, from my black and white pen and ink style to my latest love, Holbein Acryla Gouache.



A mummy in the style of Hollywood horror films of the 1930's by Foeshel


When I first came across the works of great artists like Gustave Dore, Francisco Goya, and Albrecht Dürer, I fell in love with the black and white pen and ink style. I was mesmerized by their intricate lines and the way they brought their subjects to life. Although I later found out that they were actually etchings, I continued to experiment with pen and ink to create my own unique style. Goya's depictions of demons and monsters and Mike Mignola's Hellboy, who played with blacks in such an incredible way, also served as a significant source of inspiration for me.



Finding the perfect pens for my illustrations has been a journey as well, but I've finally settled on a few favourites. Micron black pens and Mitsubishi Unipen fineliners both provide rich, deep black pigments that are essential to my pen and ink style.


Additionally, I've found Kuretake inks to be of great quality for refillable pencil pens.

However, I always felt a nagging feeling that I wanted to experiment with color. I began to use digital coloring for my artworks, but I missed the feeling of creating originals.



Digital painted children's illustration of child at the beach flying a kite. Orange tint gives a morning/evening feel. Great for travel website or blog. By Foeshel.


I tried watercolor, which I found to be a great medium to work with, but it had its limitations in terms of color palette and how it reacted to water when it dried. I also experimented with coloring pencils in the past, but it was too laborious for my liking, especially when it came to animation. I even tried adding Ecoline to my works, which offered a vibrant range of colors, but I didn't like how it reacted to water once dried.



Watercolor image of Lotte & Puck crossing a forest river. Vibrant colors make it perfect for a children's book or nature-themed website. By Foeshel.


I eventually came across spray cans and began using them to make marketing materials for myself. This was a game changer for me because it introduced me to new ways to experiment with color and gradations. I also used black and white markers to add contrast and was pleased with the results. This resulted in a new style for my recycled spray cans, which had a strong graphic style and frequently conveyed political undertones. (More about this in the future.) Eventually, this style made its way onto paper, and I started creating separate images using the same techniques.



Street art-style image with people wearing TVs as heads, representing different forms of censorship. Great for freedom of speech/censorship website. By Foeshel.


But my search for the ideal color medium continued. I remembered a watercolor, gouache, and acrylic paint course I took during my education, and I decided to broaden my palette once more. I found that I loved gouache for its even, clean layers of paint, which gave my artworks a graphic, almost printed quality. However, gouache had its own limitations, such as a poor reaction to water once applied to paper.


That's when I discovered Holbein Acryla Gouache, which has been a game-changer for me. This paint allows me to thin it like watercolor and lay it on thick and evenly. Once it dries, it has a matte and even finish, without the plastic feeling of acrylic paints. With its strong and varied pigments, I have finally found the perfect medium that suits my needs.



Vibrant, colorful image of skull floating in water wave. Old-school Japanese wood carving style with acryla gouache paint. Perfect for alternative art or skateboarding culture website. By Foeshel.


However, as an artist, I know that the process of creating is never-ending. There will always be new styles to discover, new techniques to master, and new mediums to explore. And that's what makes being an artist so exciting, as there are endless possibilities to create something truly unique and beautiful.




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