In this week’s installment, I will be writing about the works of yet another artist that never stops to inspire me to experiment, practice and develop my own style. Known by his online handle as Picolo, Gabriel Picolo caught the internet’s eye with his 365 Days of Drawing challenge in which he completed an intricate and detailed ink piece every day during 2014. Now with a following of over 700,000 on his Instagram and more than 5,000,000 page views on his DeviantArt, the Brazil-based creator continues to entrance his fans with every piece of art that he makes.

The magic happens in a sketchbook. A scroll through any of Picolo’s online galleries will showcase this, as a majority of his photos include the famed Moleskine lying open and revealing his newest creation.

In fact, Picolo’s entire 365 Days of Drawing was completed within the Moleskine sketchbook he used during 2014. Using black ink as his primary medium, Picolo is able to add life to the lines he draws through a variety of techniques such as fluctuating linewidth, hatching, blocking in great areas with black, and various shading styles. Picolo’s ease and comfortability using ink is clearly evident in the works that he creates.

Take a look at some of the drawings from his 2014 drawing challenge. 

(Day 1, Day 89)

(Day 177, Day 307)

As a medium that I am steadily getting more comfortable with, the possibilities of ink has never failed to captivate me. Expressed in Picolo’s gorgeous work, ink can be used to achieve so many styles and effects to ultimately creating masterpieces. By combining variation in line thickness and weight with entirely blocked in regions of the piece, he is able to bring depth and dimension to the page and embellish what would otherwise be a plain line. The shading of different aspects in his drawings utilize these types of lines but also unify Picolo’s collections of work into his inking style.

One can also see his experimentation in different techniques and strokes during the 365 Days of Drawing series and his overall progression and proficiency by drawing every single day. Picolo’s dexterity and diligence inspires me greatly to attempt such a challenge someday, but I’ll try doing so when I don’t have as much school work. Check out this compilation of all of the original designs he completed during his 365 Days of Drawing here!

Although Picolo primarily draws in his sketchbook, the limitations of the page doesn’t stop him. After a year of his black and white ink drawings, Picolo began 2015 with a shift in tone and embraced color in his works. Dubbing this change as the Palette Project, he challenged himself to designate seven months with a themed color ranging from red to violet and began to implement digital coloration in his work, adding values and shades to his beloved inkwork.

 (The Color of Love, Melt My Heart)

(Clearing, Paint the Sea)

Picolo’s digital technique resembles the effects that one can achieve using watercolor. Vibrancy of high end paints can be found in his coloring style as well as gradations and layered effects. Even the texture applied with his digital brush give the impression of the pigmented paint.

In addition to the beautiful layered effects that he achieves, Picolo’s choice of colors are phenomenal in each piece that he digitally colors. A great many of these works stem from his Palette Project, but his recent experiments have still produced the high quality of art that he is known for. Currently, Picolo pursues different series of artwork and the high quality found in his work hasn’t changed.

One such series is his Harry Potter project, in which he draws out pages of different spells and creatures found in the beloved franchise while making them appear like they’re a part of an ancient textbook. Take a look below at some of the lovely examples. 

(Avada Kedavra, Expecto Patronum)

(Wingardium Leviosa, Lumos)

Personally, this blend of traditional and digital was interesting to me as I have always kept these mediums separate in my work; acrylics and watercolors stuck to physical canvases and sheets of paper while their Photoshop and Krita counterparts remained on screen. The use of a watercolor-esque digital painting style also caught my interest as I always use an opaque brush that gives the impression of acrylic or oil when I paint digitally, and I wanted to improve the vibrancy in my coloring style. Picolo’s blend of artistic materials intrigued me, and I was eager to try it out myself.

Taking notes from his colorful digital works, I opened a page in my own sketchbook, turned on some good tunes (this week’s track being “Shelter” by Porter Robinson and Madeon) and started drawing some lines.

Inspired by the song’s music video, I began my artwork with a rough pencil sketch before refining the lines and inking over them; thankfully, my past pieces in this blog series got me more comfortable with this inking phase, but I didn’t take as much time as I should have and made a huge error in the anatomy of the character’s right hand. Nonetheless, I took a picture of my finished lines and brought it into my digital program of choice, Krita, in order to begin coloring it.  

I was excited to try and emulate Picolo’s digital style, but found almost immediately that my initial task was harder than expected. Instead of showcasing the lines I had drawn traditionally, I ended up painting over them, perhaps out of habit from my personal digital coloring style. While this defeated my original intention of making my lines more visible, I still enjoyed the process of creating the piece.

As someone who seldom draws backgrounds, I loved painting the environment and exploring the different textural brushes in Krita. Doing so felt strangely familiar and reminded me of traditional painting since majority of my acrylic pieces involve landscapes or natural scenery. Blending this traditional style with my digital process of rendering characters was an utter joy, and listening to one of my favorite songs at the moment, made this piece even more enjoyable.

I was surprised at the easy transition between the ink pen to my tablet’s stylus and because of this piece, I found that the barrier separating traditional and digital mediums wasn’t bad at all, and I am excited to do it more often!

(Original linework on the left, digital painting on the right)

Make sure to send your support to Picolo by following him on one of his social media platforms and on his Patreon! (And, as an additional challenge, scroll through his galleries and try to find black cats in his work; there’s one in almost every single piece.) Until next time, have a gradient day and keep creating!

All photos were used with the permission of Gabriel Picolo

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