Category Archives: Cephalopod

Gouache WIP – Socctopus

Next in my ambitious lineup of sports squids, I present… The Socctopus!

(OK, it’s not a squid, but the pun worked better this way.)

This is a another WIP showing my process from start to finish, but with paint instead of pencil. The whole thing is already posted on the WetCanvas gouache board, in case you can’t wait to see the conclusion.

Start: I made many many sketches and doodles, trying to decide 1) content 2) positioning 3) composition and 4) value.

Next: Value study. I was on lunch break at work and had only a sharpie and a blue highlighter, which work well for a 3-value study.

Then: In pencil, I sketched out the composition full-sized. This is on cheap typing paper and is 8×10″.

The colors I planned to use: Prussian Blue, Cadmium Green, Alizarin Crimson, and Lemon Yellow, all Holbein. I’ll also use white for highlights, but only at the end. The big “X” on the cad green means it can cause cancer if inhaled, so avoid licking it.

I transferred the paper sketch onto Cradled Gessobord, using the same carbon-paper method that I used for the Chiroopractor. The pencil lines transferred very light, so I washed in the dark areas (black sharpie in value sketch) with blue to help me keep my bearings along the way.

Next: background. I have been told that it is a good idea to do the background first. I am not exactly sure why, but I suspect it has to do with 1) integrating subject and background and 2) getting bored and lazy and deciding the subject looks fine without a background.

For the grass, I did a light wash of cadmium green (a great color for bright grass). I then mixed two greens – light and dark – and made the grass blades with a 3/0 brush. Once I had the area around the socctopus filled in, I ditched the teeny brush for a fan, and finished the background grass with it. I’ll add blades of grass on top of the octopus’ arms later, to integrate him with his surroundings.

That’s it for now. Conclusion: next week!


The Winoctopus by Meg Lyman

Digital – Prints Available

Cephalopods need more love and representation in art. They’re amazing, beautiful, intelligent creatures. They also happen to make great plays-on-words. What should I call this one? Winoctopus? Wineoctopus? Wine-octopus? Wino-octopus?