Gabriel Dunn-Plante is a fine art advisor and teacher at DeSerres. His creative vision involves exploring multiple techniques and mediums to bring forth his creative power.
A mixed technique is a combination of different techniques, such as drawing, painting and collaging on the same support. Having already been used by many great artists such as Edgar Degas, who combined inks, pastels and charcoal in the same drawing, mixed media is today ever more popular. A true Jack of all trades, Gabriel masters a wide range of techniques. When he creates an illustration, he relies on wooden pencils, markers, inks, aquarelles, gouache and pastels.
Today, he is offering advice for selecting your tools.
"It is important to have quality tools so that you can avoid products that slow down our creative process."
Gabriel's advice :
Golden extra fine acrylic paint meets high quality standards to offer incomparably rich colours. The pigments found in this brand are dense and have an extremely fine texture which produces a surface that reflects light better, thus creating a vibrant and rich colour.
Tip : If you find that acrylic paint dries too fast, mix in a fluid retarder or paint the background of your canvas with a retarder to produce beautiful blendings. To dilute the paint, choose a flow aid; if you wish to thicken, choose a thickening gel or modelling paste.
Colouring pencilsPrismacolor Premier and the Faber Castell Polychromos give excellent results on thick and smooth fine grain paper, such as Arches paper.
Pitt Pastel pencils with India ink contain numerous pigments, and their colours are vibrant. This gamut can be diluted with a little bit of water on good watercolour paper.
Tip : Raphaël’s famous squirrel paintbrush has strong absorption qualities. Use this paintbrush to create blends in your paint strokes. If you apply too much water to your paper, dip a dry paintbrush into the excess water. The brush will quickly absorb all the water. For more precision, you can also use a round sable paintbrush.
If you like to paint floral subjects, the brush’s water drop form will allow you to produce leaves or petals with ease.
COPIC markers have an alcohol-base and they come in a wide range of colours and in an ink quality that is highly resistant to light. You can use them on very smooth and thick paper such as COPIC and Creative Bee sketch books, which are perfect for this technique.
Tip : Here is an amusing effect to try: take a colourless blending pencil and have its nib touch the nib of the colour marker. The alcohol will flow into the marker’s nib, making the marker’s colour paler. With this tip, you can create beautiful gradation. You can also use the blending pencil to directly rub on your lines to mix them, creating beautiful blendings. To copy indelible lines, use markers with permanent ink and an extra-fine tip, such as Micron pens.
Arches Watercolour Paper, hot or cold pressed, offers a very appealing surface because it retains the pigment of colour pencils and easily allows blending. Did you know that the fibres in Arches paper are coated in a gelatine, which allows the support to resist wet substances?
Tip : You can blur your drawings with solvents. To do this, take a paper stump, dip it in taltine solvent and then rub the colours together or add a bit of watercolour paint. You can also use Bristol-Vellum. Its thickness allows you to correct any errors in the drawing with a razor blade without piercing or wrinkling the paper.
As for oils, the Winsor & Newton Artist product line has numerous extra-fine pigments, and its range of colours is extraordinary. To dilute a colour, choose refined linseed oil or safflower oil; the brightness of this last oil will prevent your whites from turning yellow. However, this oil requires more time to dry than linseed oil.
Tip : Coat your background with DeSerres’ liquid acrylic paint. It dries quickly thanks to its flow; you can then quickly begin painting with oil paint. Since oil paint takes time to oxidize, you should, if your layers are thin, wait 3 to 6 months before applying a layer of varnish. If your layers are thick, you should wait at least 13 months.
A final tip for the road
Using a light box can be very practical. You can trace your own sketches to quickly make compositions in a precise way. Even if you use several sheets of 300 g paper (such as Arches paper), the images are still visible with the light.
These various tips and other pieces of advice will allow you to mix several techniques and products on the same surface. Enjoy mixing it up!
His experience at DeSerres
Gabriel Dunn-Plante began his experience with DeSerres three years ago in the Fine Arts department. To satisfy his expanding interest in the visual arts and his urge to create, he started acquiring high quality products in all areas of his department: aquarelles, pastels, oils, acrylics, graphite drawing, inks, gouaches and markers of all kinds. Interacting daily with many artists stimulates him and allows him to always learn more by sharing with them his passion for the arts. When approached about the teaching position in acrylic painting, he did not hesitate to accept it.