Cookie Monster Octopus by Meg Lyman

8×10″ gouache on board

Etsy link




Anna and Elsa by Meg Lyman

3.5 x 4.5 inches each

Gouache on matboard

One of the joys of being a gouache painter is the toned background. There are plenty of ways to get this effect in various media, but it’s fun and handy to paint right on whatever background you find. Some of the toned/colored supports I’ve used with gouache include matboard, Canson Mi-Teintes Board, Pastelbord, Colourfix board, Canson pastel paper, colored ACEOs, notecards, and various other colored papers. Some are more archival than others, some are rougher, some smoother; some are flimsy and some sturdy. Matboard is probably my favorite, for several reasons:

  1. It’s cheap – often art stores will have scrap bins and you can get pieces for $0.50
  2. You can get archival material if you want it (Canson Mi-Teintes Board is a good one, already cut to size)
  3. It has a nice texture – not too smooth or rough
  4. The surface can usually take a bit of abuse
  5. It’s sturdy – it won’t buckle and you can wave it around all crazy-like
  6. It comes in lots of pretty colors

Little left-over scraps are great for quick studies or plein air paintings. I also use them sometimes as backing when framing up ACEOs. In conclusion: matboard is great for gouache people!


Logo for SquidRage Studios

Digital – done with Inkscape

I just returned from a trip around the state, having fun and painting. I’ll put up a compilation post soon. In the meantime, have a logo!


Fairy by Meg Lyman

ACEO gouache and ink on board


The glowy pink fairy octopus lives in the coral woods, and will grant you wishes if you bring it live kelp crabs. But they have to be just the right size, and not too cantankerous. The fairy has a reputation to uphold, after all, and can’t go around with chunks missing because of some uppity crustacean.


Voodoo by Meg Lyman

ACEO gouache on illustration board

Etsy link

Thanks to the creative soul at Norwescon who suggested this guy!


Hello Octy by Meg Lyman

2.5×2.5″ gouache and ink on illustration board

Etsy link

Silly con doodle.



Wonderpus by Meg Lyman
8×10″ gouache and ink on board
Etsy link

Hard at work on commissions. Here’s a painting I did at my table at Norwescon. It was fun letting people see my process!


Pikasquid by Meg Lyman

2.5″ square on illustration board

Etsy link

Finally done with conventions for a while! Time to finish up my existing commissions and some of my personal projects. In the meantime, I’ll post some of the things I’ve finished in the last 6 months, including a few con doodles (like this guy). I probably shouldn’t have opened that can of worms (Pokemon), but it’s too late now.



Apple by Meg Lyman

6×6″ oil on board

Varnished on top; unvarnished on bottom


I’ve always simply imagined lighting for my cephalopod paintings – since I don’t have an actual octopus to paint and I’m idealizing them anyway, it seemed the best course. I have a good general idea of light and shade principles from life drawing – good enough to get away with anyway. But when I got it into my head to paint an apple octopus (like you do), I figured I should give the still life test a try.

Painting the apple still life was hard enough, but then incorporating imaginary bumps and nooks made this extra challenging. The apple part looks serviceable, but without an actual applepus to paint, it’s hard to get the lighting down. Maybe next time I will sculpt eye nubs out of play-doh or spitballs or whatever and stick them on the apple. Either way, I am reasonably happy with the result and I learned a lot from it. That means the painting was successful, right? Right.

I also did some interesting color mixing for this one. I made up “color strings” – a James Gurney term meaning different values of the colors I planned to use. I need to work on the whole “changing value without changing chroma and hue” thing, but that’s another post.


My tube colors for this were, left to right, Quinacridone Red (M. Graham), Golden Barok Red (Old Holland), Cad Yellow Golden (Michael Harding), and Nickel Yellow (Williamsburg). I used white and black to mix the bottom 3 piles of varying values of grey (OK OK, bluish grey), then used those plus titanium white to darken or lighten the tube colors. The hue shift with Cad Yellow and black is very green, and fun to play with. The Quin Red strayed into blue territory and I didn’t use much of its mixes. I have so much to learn! I feel like I’m at a stage in my learning where I’m going way faster than I realized. That is good but kinda overwhelming.

Aside: the board I started with was some amalgam of leftover colors that I slathered on with a palette knife months ago. I have no idea what they were, but I chose my apple colors so they’d work well with it. Gives a nice texture, too, no?

A final note: see how sunken in oils can get when they dry to the touch? Especially the darks. Varnishing makes them look all rich and shiny again. Magic!


I’ll have a bunch of originals, Star Wars themed cephalopod stickers, and tons of prints, including Octotoro and Squees. Come say hi!

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