How to: Astro Cat with Kyria Smith
Kyria Smith, one of our Fuel Your Creativity artists, is inspired to create by her current interests. One of the most recent themes of Kyria's fun, whimsical art is her cat and her houseplants, which certainly inspired this fun how-to. Kyria will go over the three stages it takes to create this astronaut cat with a floral background. For materials, Kyria uses Arteza Gouache Paint, Arteza Fineliner Pens, and Arteza Paint Brushes. Read more about Kyria and her vast interests and inspiration here!
- Paint Brushes (Flat, Round, and Detail, if possible)
- Gouache Paints
- Fineliner Pens
- Watercolor/Mixed Media Paper
- Cup of Water
- Palette of Choice
Gouache Details and Techniques
Kyria has already traced the image onto her paper, which is a floral background with an astronaut cat in space overlay. Kyria is starting with the gouache section of this mixed-media piece. First, paint the tip of the leaves using a round brush and a pastel green shade, and the base of the leaves with a darker green. Blend these colors into a nice gradient with a flat brush (read more about her gradient technique here). Kyria wants the gradient to pop, so she uses stark, comic-style lines to finish the leaves. To achieve this, use a detail brush to outline the leaf and add details like veins with dark green gouache.
Next, fill in the peony using the same process, this time using a gradient interior of pastel pinks and oranges and a darker pink outline. To create the darker pink shade it suggested to mix a red gouache with the pink interior to make the shades look more cohesive. In addition to the peonies, she uses the same gradient/dark outline technique for a pastel purplish-blue flower in her composition.
Tip: Kyria prefers using a flat brush for blending, and a round brush for lines and details.
Fineliner Pen Details and Techniques
For the astronaut cat part of her piece, Kyria switches to Arteza's Fineliner Pens. Start by laying down the main lines of a design with a fine-tipped pen like a 1 or 2 (mm). Kyria also erases any of the pencil marks before adding more detail.
Once complete, you can start filling the outer space circle with a larger pen. Kyria alternates between the brush pen, which can fill in big spaces quickly, and a finer pen for more detailed areas that require precision.
Now that the main strokes of the piece are complete add details like the outline of the chrysanthemum and any other areas that need to be darker. For semi-realistic animal fur, Kyria finds that the fineliners are perfect for the job. Simply draw all your strokes flowing in more or less the same direction down the animal's body.
For the last part, add some stars into the dark circle area, which will really emphasize the outer space scene. Kyria is using a gouache splatter technique for this. First, test on a blank piece of paper to ensure you have not overloaded white gouache on the flat brush. Once happy with the results, move your fingertip over the brush to create a splatter. Kyria also uses the same scrap paper to cover the bits of the piece she doesn't want white splatter on.
Next, grab a detail brush to create some bigger stars. Paint the circles and add a bit more water, so the star is more transparent, to give the effect of a glowing star. Next, grab a white gel pen (if you don't have one, you can use a detail brush with white gouache that isn't watered down) to add a bright dot in each circle. Lastly, use the pen to create a few extra dots that will give the appearance of brighter stars.
Tip: If scrap paper is used to assist you with the paint splatter, ensure your piece is 100% dry before laying down the paper. This will prevent potential smudges.
We hope you enjoyed this how-to and learned valuable tips on how to create unique, mixed-media works of art! Don't forget to show us your works of art, and make sure to grab one of Kyria Smith’s limited edition bundles!
The Kyria Smith Gouache Starter Bundle includes a Gouache Art Paint and Tools Set, a 8" x 10" Gouache Paper Pad, and a swag bundle including a thank you note packet featuring an artist print.
The Kyria Smith Gouache Favorites Bundle includes a set of 60 (12ml tubes) of Gouache Premium Artist Paint, Set of 10 Micro-Line Pen, Black Japanese Ink, Assorted Nibs, Hardcover Watercolor Book, 3.5" x 5.5"", Set of 5 Round Watercolor Brushes, and a swag bundle including a thank you note packet featuring an artist print.