Monday, July 22, 2013

Watercolor Lessons from Rene Bull

Who is Rene Bull?

René Bull (1872 –1942) was Golden Age illustrator from Ireland. He is best known for his illustrations for “The Arabian Nights” (1912) and the “Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám” (1913). (from Wikipedia)

I’ve only recently discovered Rene Bull’s works. His work is delightful, sometimes comedic, sometimes romantic, but always very engaging. One of the most delightful things about Bull’s illustrations is his use of color, which is, to me, the very definition of “storybook fantasy.”

I’ve decided to learn a thing or two from him by making copies of some of his illustrations. Copying an artist's paintings is a great way to get to know the artist. You, quite literally, take a stroll through their brushstrokes.

Here is the illustration that I have decided to copy.

Illustration from "The Arabian Nights" (1912)
by Rene Bull.
Here is the part of the illustration that I decided to copy.
Detail from the above illustration.
Here is my copy. It was painted on canvas-wrapped board prepared with Daniel Smith watercolor ground. 

After Bull, "The Caliph Attended..." by Sara Light-Waller.
Watercolor highlighted with gouache.
I have already learned quite a bit from making this painting. I can’t wait to begin the next one. :-)

By the way, if case you’re wondering what’s been going on with my book illustrations, here’s the scoop: in order to keep myself fresh I sometimes need to switch mediums for a little while. Hence the change-over to watercolor for a few days. When I return to the book illustrations later this week, my eye, and my hand, will be freshened and ready to go.

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