The Best Gouache Paints
Art Reviews

The Best Gouache Paints

What is the only thing in the entire world that I get most excited about aside from good food, pandas and flamingos? If you know me well you should know the answer, which is new art supplies in case you were wondering! Yes, there is nothing better than unwrapping a new pen or a set of paints and trying them out for the first time. So that leads me on to today’s topic, where I am going to be discussing (more like rambling on about) my new gouache paints and the first painting I did with them.

Caran D'Ache Gouache Colours
Testing new colours is a guilty pleasure of mine!

First Impressions

The first thing I did with my paints was test out the colours. The colours can look so different to when they are in their block of colour compared to what they look like actually on the page. These Caran d’Ache gouache paints looked very different when I did a little colour test with them, but I love a perfect excuse to do some colour swatches. Therefore, I always recommend that you “get to know” your new colours before you begin, as weird as it sounds. No one wants to be in a middle of a painting when they discover that a colour that looks suspiciously like a primary red is in fact a very bright pink, right?

Gouache Paint Exercises
Trying to work out how to control gouache with some little doodles!

Along with the colour swatches, I filled an A4 sheet of paper with little experiments and doodles with the gouache. This really allowed me to grasp the idea of what the paints were really like and was just such a fun thing to do. I had a go at all sorts of doodles from hearts and swirls to lots of lines.

Painting a Panda

Panda Pencil Sketch
Starting the illustration with a simple sketch.

As my mind was pondering about what to paint with my new paints, which is half the problem, I knew that I wanted to paint something that I am familiar with and draw quite a lot. So naturally a panda came to mind, of course! I know you are all probably sick of pandas, but I just had a feeling that these gouache paints would be able to do a furry, panda friend justice.

Gouache Painting
I absolutely loved working with the paints!

First of all I applied my first wash of paint and instantly fell in love with the way they worked their magic across the page. With my paintbrush, which came with the set, I was able to achieve a lot of texture to resemble the pandas fur, which is quite cool.

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Gouache is a medium that is like the in between point of watercolour and acrylic, I suppose. It is a water based paint like watercolour, but is opaque like acrylic. To fully put how opaque the colours really were to the test, I applied some of the white paint directly on top of the black fur. In the end, I concluded that the paint does in fact allow you to layer lighter colours over darker colours, which can come in really handy! The white gouache was also in a tube instead of a pan like the other paints, which is quite good as it is much more likely to keep the paint clean.

Panda Goauche Painting
I loved painting yet another panda!

After I had applied all of the paint, I went around the panda with a black fine liner, because I knew the gouache would hide my pen lines if I applied it at the very beginning. This meant that that my panda was good to go, after a swirl of pink colour on each of the cheeks. Have you ever used gouache before and if so what do you think? I personally cannot wait to work more with gouache in the future.

New Year's Resolutions for Creatives

The Beginning of 2018

The weekly blog posts are back everyone! We are almost a week into 2018, a brand new year, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to pick up the blog post writing thing again. I love writing them, so I am very, very excited to get back into it. Apart from last week’s blog post about Inspector Ted, I kind of took a mini break at the end of 2017, which has left me plenty of time to think of some weird and wonderful ideas to blog about.

New Year Resolutions
I hope you are having a great 2018 so far?


2017 was the year where I created this website, which meant a big update for all of my work; I taught my first character design workshop at an art holiday club and of course not forgetting the front cover for the “Inspector Ted” book that I created. Another highlight from 2017 was all of the lovely comments and likes I have received across my social media art accounts have also blown me away, so I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone! Every nice comment, it so encouraging in its own special way.

Roller Skating Panda
One of my favourite illustrations from 2017!

New Year’s Resolutions

Now, moving on to my plans and goals for this fresh year. For some reason, I always like to think of some resolutions that I can at least try to stick to as a kind of guide to motivate myself. My first goal, which shouldn’t be too much of a struggle is to read more. There is nothing better than being drawn in by the words of a book and every story you read provides so much inspiration and is a really relaxing and calming activity to do. Before I was so engrossed in art as I am now, my nose was always hidden underneath a book, but as I have become busier, the amount I have been reading has decreased. So I am going to start reading again, hopefully as much as I used to, which I am a bit too excited about (I have already been building up a list of books to read in preparation)!

Colour Organised Bookshelf
Lots of books just waiting to be read!

Another goal of mine is to get a move on with my writing. If you didn’t already know, my ultimate dream is to illustrate and write my own books. As I have always been a huge booklover through out my entire life, writing stories just seems like the right thing to do, especially with my slightly crazy imagination. This means that the plan for me is to try and write a bit of something each day and hopefully when I get into the flow of it, I won’t need a little remainder or push to begin telling my latest story idea

A New Year’s Resolution which you will hopefully be seeing a lot of is a new sketchbook challenge I am going to at least attempt to conquer. Everyday, I plan to draw an animal in my sketchbook and then on Mondays, I am going to post them all in one post, so it will sort of become “Sketchbook Monday”. I am very excited to get going with this little fun challenge and each month I will be tackling a different theme of animals to draw, so I don’t get too stuck with what animal to draw next. In case you were wondering, for January, I am going to be drawing my top 31 favourite animals!

Hannah Robinson Illustration's Sketchbook
Do you think I will be able to complete my sketchbook challenge?

So those are just a few of my resolutions for this year, which I hoped you found remotely interesting. For the rest of this month, I have a blog post planned for every Sunday, which I will continue through out the year (fingers crossed). Finally, I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year!



Inspector Ted Children's Book

Inspector Ted Book

As it is now officially 2018, I am very excited to share with you a very special project that I have worked on. Towards the end of the year, I illustrated the front cover of a children’s book, titled “Inspector Ted”! Written by Sergeant Adie Knowles, the tale is based around the true story of a teddy, who was originally abandoned in the Morecambe Bay area and became a police officer. What’s even better, is that all profits from the book are going to the local charity, Unique Kidz and Co.

Children's Book Front Cover Process
Initially, I had two different ideas for the front cover.

To make a front cover, which would meet Inspector Ted’s high standards, I needed to include the police officer himself and a Morecambe scene. As I have always lived in this area, I was more than familiar with the variety of scenes I could choose from. In the end, I thought I should try out two different ideas and then develop my favourite one.

Inspector Ted Children's Book Rough Colour Sketches
Here I experimented with colour!

Without any colour and just black lines, it can also be hard to get a good idea of what the finished illustration will look like. Therefore, that is why I did another version of each idea, with some very messy colouring in. This really helped me to decide which one worked better than the other one, but is still relatively quick and easy. A lot of people initially don’t realise how much work goes into one illustration behind the scenes, from the start (e.g. the idea) to the finished product.

Inspector Ted Book
Then I sketched my chosen design out bigger, so it was the right size.

Eventually I decided to go with the idea which looked across Morecambe Bay with all of the boats and Inspector Ted (of course)! This meant sketching out the illustration again to ensure that it was the right size. After I was at least satisfied with the sketch, I transferred my work onto watercolour with my light box.

Morecambe Bay's Inspector Ted Artwork
The final artwork!

A whole lot of watercolour, ink and coloured pencils later, the illustration was finished and ready to send off. Following a vote on Morecambe Area Police‘s Facebook Page, it was decided that the Inspector Ted I drew was going to appear on the front cover, which was really a dream come true!

Hannah Robinson Illustrations
A slightly surreal moment seeing your face in a book!

When I got my hands on one of the books, which I  eagerly waitied for, it felt very strange to see my work in print and to see my name and photo in the back of the book. There I was on the back page, wearing my flamingo coat, next to my illustrator’s bio!

Inspector Ted Book
The final book, still available to buy now!

So far, Inspector Ted has raised £1500 for the local charity they are supporting which is fantastic! There’s still in fact time for you to buy a copy for yourself either from Lancaster and Morecambe Police Stations or from eBay here. It was such a lovely drawing to work on and it’s great that it is being enjoyed by so many different people, helping others at the same time!

Acrylic Paint

New Art Supplies!

Very recently, I went to Hobbycraft, which is an amazing shop, selling so many wonderful art and craft supplies! So of course I purchased a few new things and this blog post is all about me trying them out and just experimenting. I don’t know about you, but when I buy any new art material, one of the best parts is testing it out for the first time…

Art Materials at Hobbycraft
The endless selection of different art materials!

When you walk into Hobbycraft, you are plunged into a world of art, which is obviously a good thing. Their art supplies selection is probably the best I’ve ever seen, with shelves lined with so many products that I wish I owned! Really, I could spend hours on end in there, because there is so much choice!

New Art Supplies
My recent art purchases…

After a lot of thinking (and I mean a lot), I decided to buy the art supplies in the picture above. There’s a new bottle of ink, because no one can ever have enough bottles of ink; a Copic Ciao Marker in a really light blue colour; a warm grey BrushMarker; a Hobbycraft sketchbook and finally some pipettes to use with ink.

Today, I thought that I should take trying out new art supplies to the next level; why not? I decided to create a little illustration only with just the new art stuff I brought from Hobbycraft. However, I allowed myself to use a pencil, fine liner and paintbrush that I already own just to make my life a little easier.

Sketch by Hannah Robinson Illustrations
Mainly, I used the plan to decide on the colours to use.

Before I jumped straight into the picture, I did a little plan for the illustration. As I was working with very few art supplies, it meant a small selection of colours, so planning seemed like the sensible thing to do. All I did was draw out the picture as a sketch and then annotated which colour should go where. Then it was time to finally test out the new things (the best part)!

The Princess and the Frog Illustration
Pandas can be princesses too!

So this princess and this frog (and panda) are the end product of my little test and I can say I am very happy with my new art supplies! The thing that pleased me the most was the sketchbook. Most sketchbooks can be too expensive for what I use them for. For me, a sketchbook is just a place to experiment, so spending too much money on one is not something that I like to do, but I still need them to be able to take things like watercolour. This sketchbook was really affordable and the quality was very good for the price that I paid for it (which is obviously amazing)! It did everything I needed it to! When I used my brand new markers, it didn’t bleed too much and took a bit of watercolour too.

It was also my first time using the Pitt Pastel pencil, but I actually really like it! Through experimenting, I discovered a really cool technique, which I used for the skin. Basically, on a separate piece of paper, I added water to the pastel with a paintbrush and then this produced a sort of pale, pinkish skin tone colour. It was really similar to using watercolour actually. The colours for my markers are fantastic as well and really nice to use. The Copic Marker is a really good pale blue, which can be really hard to find in a marker sometimes.

Anyway, I could literally go on forever about art supplies, but I think that I should probably stop! I just love experimenting with new mediums and they can really help you develop your art style and discover what you work best with. Hobbycraft is a really cool place to go to if you are looking for something new to try in your illustration work or even any form of art. I would like to say all of these views are my own.


We Finished Inktober!

I have heard about the art challenge inktober for a few years now, after seeing numerous illustrators I admire complete it most years. Last year I kind of wanted to give it a go, but I wasn’t sure if I would able to keep up it all for an entire month. So obviously I found an excuse, because it was a lot easier. My excuse was that I did not have enough ink supplies to really give it ago, as I did not own any coloured ink and we all know a month with zero colour is impossible for me! However, this year I have started a bit of a coloured ink obsession, so I tried my best…

Witch Illustration by Hannah Robinson Illustrations
Day 2 was a witch, one of my favourites!

Guess what? I did it! I survived all 31 days, which just calls for a celebration dance or even a party. Everyday, I managed to post one ink drawing (at least) and completed the challenge over all. What’s even better is: I really enjoyed doing it! I hope you all liked seeing my daily ink drawings and thankfully so far I have received so much lovely feedback, which is super kind of you all.

Owl Illustration by Hannah Robinson Illustrations
Another fun one, but this time an owl illustration.

One thing that I have loved about this month is everyone else’s inktober drawings. It’s a great source of inspiration and on a day when you want to give up, it really encourages you to carry on. It’s also really interesting to see how everyone’s work is so different, even though they are working with the same medium.

Dragon and Wizard Illustration
This one was done fairly recently.

Through out the month, I feel like I have improved with the medium ink, but especially with black and white illustrations. You may not see much of a difference, but I have certainly grown more confident as the challenge has progressed, which is of course really encouraging to see. It’s also been nice to take a step back from my usual mixed media work and focus on just one thing and really get to know it and how it works. Another thing which I am sure will be useful for me in the near future, will be now having a better understanding of ink, so I can incorporate it into more of my art when I am using other things like watercolours, pencils and gouache.

Lemur Illustration by Hannah Robinson Illustrations
Sometimes I abandoned the spooky theme.

Without a moments hesitation, I definitely want to do inktober again next year. If I do it again, it will be really fun to compare this year’s inktober with it and fingers crossed, there will be some form of improvement for us all to witness. I think that next time I will go for a theme, which will help guide me through the month, so if you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know. This year I kind of followed a rough Halloween and autumn theme, but some days (like the day I drew the lemur), I was just feeling really inspired to draw something that did not fit the theme at all!

Halloween Illustration by Hannah Robinson Illustrations
The very last inktober of 2017 (today)!

Quickly, the month seemed to disappear and today I drew and inked drawing number 31. Now that it is all over, I will still be posting regularly across my social media accounts. For November, I have a lot of ideas for some fairly exciting content and for December, let’s just say it will be looking a lot like Christmas, so I hope that you are all ready!

Flowers by Hannah Robinson Illustrations

Painting Gardens

Just because I am a really kind human, I thought that I should give you a very well deserved break from the world of  Inktober. So in this week’s blog post, I am going to be talking about making this illustration which was for my Grandma’s birthday nearly a whole month a go, which I have not had the chance to write yet until now. It contains a lot of flowers, meaning it’s bursting with colour!

Pencil Sketch
Sharing my pencil sketch for once!

I normally don’t share my pencil sketches for my illustrations, because they are never really that good. With a distinct lack of outlines and colour, I feel that mine look a bit bare, so I usually avoid showing them to other people. However sketches are simply a way of getting down your ideas so they can be refined later one. Therefore for me personally, they are a key element of the creative process and shouldn’t be left behind!

Ink Outlines by Hannah Robinson
The hardest bit: Inking…

I really like my illustrations to be bold. This means an outline with a fine liner or some form of ink is normally essential for a large proportion of my work. In this piece, there were loads of teeny tiny flowers to ink carefully. When it comes to this step, I am forced to slow down a lot, but they do say slow and steady wins the race! The lady in the picture is actually an illustrated version of my Grandma who loves gardening and flowers, so a garden environment seemed very fitting.

Watercolour Illustration
Lots of different colours!

I used a combination of watercolours and inks, which meant I got to do a bit of experimenting, which is always fun. As you can probably see, to make sure the grass had a bit more texture than everything else, I used a sponge with different shades of green to create the overall effect. To further develop an art style (well in my case anyway), I always feel like I need to experiment with different things within my art to make sure I can grow as an artist. For example, trying out new mediums is a great one and my favourite. At the moment due to Inktober, I am experimenting with black and white illustrations and some with a more limited colour palette.

Grandma's Garden by Hannah Robinson Illustrations
The finished birthday present!

Ta-da! Here you go, the finished picture which you may have already seen before, but hear it is again. It now lives in my Grandma’s house and she is very happy with it. In fact she has now commissioned me to draw another illustration to go along side it on the wall. I actually have a very clear idea of what it could be, but I am not going to say, because she normally reads these blog posts! Have you noticed the panda yet? Of course there had to be a from of panda in the artwork, but this time the panda is in a very convincing disguise of a garden gnome.

Inktober Winsor and Newton Ink

An Inktober Update!

It is officially day 15 of inktober, which means we are nearly halfway there. So far there has been pumpkins, spiders, pirates, fairies, ink disasters and so much more! I am pretty impressed that I haven’t missed a day (yet) and I am still really enjoying creating lots of cool ink drawings and seeing what everyone else creates.

Mermaid by Hannah Robinson Illustrations
The panda has been making an appearance as usual in all of my inktober illustrations.

Going into inktober, black and white illustrations were my main focus. As I have previously mentioned before, I get sidetracked by colour all of the time and completely forget that limited colour palettes and monochrome work exists. Despite abandoning this type of work normally, when I get into a one tone illustration, I actually really enjoy it and wonder why I don’t do them more often.

Autumn Fairy by Hannah Robinson Illustrations
I have been going for a spooky and autumnal theme this year.

However, because it is obviously Hannah, a bit of colour has to come in somewhere. So as well as going for a Halloween theme, as a perfect excuse to use colour, I have also expanded my boundaries to all things autumn, because this time of the year often looks so pretty. My first coloured inktober was this autumn fairy and I was super happy with her colour palette. (Now, I think I have said the word colour too many times, so let’s move on…)

Pirate by Hannah Robinson Illustrations
This one I stuck to mainly black and white, but added a hint of gold.

One of the hardest things about this art challenge is time. During the week days, like any other teenager I have to go to school and do homework, but I always still have plenty of time to draw. So if I have loads of time to draw, what’s the issue? The problem is that in October, it’s starting to get dark earlier and earlier and as I like to take photos of my artwork in natural daylight, I have to try and get them finished when the sun is still shining. Therefore, I usually do the pencil sketch the previous evening, ink it in the morning and colour/shade it before I go to school and sometimes as soon as I get home too. It also doesn’t help that loads of artists are doing inktober too, which means I can’t help but sometimes get distracted and spend hours looking at everyone’s amazing work!

Inktober Disaster
When a picture is going so well, this is one of the worst things to happen…

Probably the point that nearly finished my bond with inktober was when I had my first ever giant ink disaster. Yes, you are probably thinking “it doesn’t matter,” but in my little world it was fatal (well certainly for the picture). It was going really well and I was pretty pleased with how the panda had actually turned out and the ink outlines, which I find the hardest to do in an illustration, but then I had to go and tip my ink bottle over my work didn’t I! So I had to start it all over again and as you can imagine, it wasn’t very helpful. However, at least it has taught me to be a bit more careful around deadly bottles of ink for now.

Haunted Pumpkin House by Hannah Robinson Illustrations
Teeny tiny inktober drawings!

The extremely small pumpkin house was for inktober day 14, so yesterday. For your knowledge, it is smaller than 3 x 3 cm, which you wouldn’t be able to know if the pen wasn’t their for the size comparison in the photo. Later on today, across my social media pages, I will be posting today’s inktober which combines autumn, dogs and cats, so keep a look out for that if you are excited about those three things! I hope you are all enjoying inktober so far, whether you’re participating as well or just enjoying looking at all of the inky drawings.