"The little green van" - Process


Hello dear friends !

Can you believe I am actually writing two articles consecutively ? I know, it seems insane, it probably never happened before.
But I feel like this blog deserves a little more than just one article every three months !
So I want to try to take better care of it. What do you think ?
Anyway, enough chatting, I am here today to show you a little bit of process behind a (simple) illustration (yes, simple, because for the moment I do not have a good camera or anything I wish I had to be able to show you more process behind bigger things... but one day will come when I will !).

Last year, when I was living in Edinburgh, I went to the see the sea for my birthday. It was very beautiful. And I felt so happy, despite of the grey, cloudy sky. That day, we saw a green van there, selling food to people around - warm soups, sandwiches, tea, cakes, coffee. Everything you need to be happy ! Right ?

So I took several pictures of it, because I found it really beautiful and thought that it would be a funny thing to draw. And, when I came back home, I tried to draw it. But the truth is... it looked horrible !
So I felt really disappointed and put it away. 
Then, I came back to France, and every time I did not know what to draw, this little van was coming back to my mind. But I also remembered this failed attempt and did not think I would manage to draw it the way I wanted to.

[I'm sorry, I wanted to include a picture of the failed attempt, but I think I actually threw it away when I left Edinburgh...]

But, recently, I had to draw another kind of van for a special project I am working on. And I did it ! I drew a van ! And I liked the result (more or less - never perfect). So yesterday, for some reason, this little green vehicle came back to me and I thought "Why not ?". So I did a little sketch, on a random piece of paper, just to see if I could draw the shape of it.

And I felt satisfied with the sketch (I was myself very surprised !). So I decided, (again : why not ?) to scann the sketch and try to colour it in Photoshop. Just to see what it would look like. Because, actually, I felt like the "sketching part" was the easiest step. In fact, I have a confession : I really don't like green in my drawings. I could not really explain what, but it is a shade I really hate using (probably because I don't do it properly). I feel like it is not really in harmony with the rest of my colour palette. But here is the situation : this van is called "The little green van". So I thought that, in the worst case, I could still change the name on the illustration. But still, I thought it was time to challenge myself a little bit, and I tried to find a compromise between the bright green (that would have looked horrible in my drawing) of the real van, and a more faded "grey green" that would fit my palette.

And, oh, surprise ! I liked it even better than the sketch (which does not happen really often I must admit). So, when the day ended, I was only thinking of the next morning, because (you know, why not ?), I really wanted to try painting it with watercolours.
So I woke up this morning, I set my watercolour table next to the window (and to the heater, which is great with these wintery temperatures here), and I started to paint. But then, I felt so disappointed again. The colours were nothing like the digital sketch (oh, what a surprise, I know... I don't know what I was thinking, that was obvious). I hated the painting. But then, I thought it was too bad to hate this little van again because of a colour choice. So I mixed and mixed and mixed different colours to finally get to a (kind of) similar grey green. (Okay it is not that grey, and maybe more blue than green really, but I thought it was still a bit green). 
And I started to paint all over the previous colours I had already painted. I thought it would look like a mess, but it turned out pretty good. So I felt encouraged and kept on painting, adding the details, and getting, little by little, closer to the finished painting.

So here is the finished piece, and I must say, I feel quite happy with it. And kind of proud I finally managed to paint this little green van that I had in my picture folder (and my ideas folder, warmly stored in my mind) for a year now. 
So, you know, just to end on a nice and sweet little note, if you have had an amazing idea (not that this little van is especially amazing, it is just a small painting, but anywayyy) for months, or even years, and never managed to paint it (or photograph it, or write it, or anything), but still love the idea, do not give up and just let time pass. When you will try again, it might the good one !