Archive | December 2014

Review of 2014

This will be the last post of 2014, and because of that I went through my 2014 blogposts in order to remind myself what I have been doing all the year over. (Yes, I know that some of the images are gone from my posts due to some changes on facebook. I will try to fix that as soon as possible)

In 2014 I went back to paint/ draw with coloured pencils and markers, discovered the world of watercolour pencils (taking an online course helped me a lot coping with the medium), and had fun painting with a brush and paints coming out of the tube. No, I don’t mean acrylics – I very soon noticed that at least for the time being this is not a favorite medium of mine – I mean gouache. Gouache is opaque watercolour which means that paints can be rewetted and brushes can be cleaned easily. The more water you take the more less opaque it gets, and when you take it straight out of the tube with only tiny drops of water you can paint over a dark layer (dried) with a light colour. I also found out that markers and gouache go together very well. When you use gouache as the first layer, you can go on top of that without the marker bleeding through the paper .

In addition to all that I learnt something more: That doing art has become a substantial part of my daily life, that I need it in the same way as a plant needs water. That’s one thing. The other thing is: Yes I can do art even when after long days at work. It can be squeezed in most of the time. So one of my goals for the year 2015 is a very simple one: Keep up doing art regularly and enjoying myself while being creative!

Red Horse

Red Horse. Gouache and markers on watercolour paper. December 2014

I had done this horse as a pencil sketch a long time ago, and now I wanted to try out coloring the sketch with gouache and markers. So I printed out the sketch, put it on my lighttable and transfered the drawing to a DIN4 sheet of watercolour paper.

There were some colours left in my palette, one of them was red. Very carefully I added some drops of water from my brush to the dry paint, and then painted the horse. There was also some green left, and as complimentary colours mixed together result in a kind of grey, I mixed my red and my green together in order to get a darker colour for the shading.

Regarding the mane I first applied a layer of golden yellow with gouache. Then I grabbed all my orange and brown markers – some copics, some not – and did a second layer with markers.

Little green troll

Little green troll. Gouache and markers on watercolour paper. December 2014

The original pencil sketch was too small, so I enlarged it by copying the image into my wordprocessor and then blowing up the image. I then transfered it to my watercolour paper, this time using the windowplane as my lighttable.

I had some gouache paints left on my palette. I re-wetted them. They lose a great deal of their opaqueness when you use them like this, but the colour is still quite vivid. In fact they act like watercolours and work very well together with markers.

The reference I had was out of a youTube video about drawing chibis. I am however not so much into manga and chibis, and you might notice that the result is looking more like a troll than a chibi.

Coloured doodle

Coloured doodle. Markers on printer paper, enhanced with photoshop

I got a book about Zentangles as a Christmas present, and although it is not yet Christmas I could not resist opening the book. This on the other hand led to me watching some videos about doodling and zentangles. In the end I could not but try a coloured doodle. Actually I took a piece of scrap paper, a black PITT Artist brush pen and began to draw. While drawing I thought about colouring the doodle and fetched my markers.

As I hadn’t planned to do a “real doodle” there were a lot of marks which didn’t look good. So I scanned in the drawing and cleaned it up in photoshop. I like the intensitiy and the brightness of the colours. I might even consider to use it for a Zazzle design!

I wish everyone happy and peaceful holidays!

Art and Design

Time is limited, especially for someone who works from 8 to five. I love my job, but I also love my creative activities like drawing and painting with different mediums. In 2014 I managed to to both things (the latter mainly on the weekend). But I am also the owner of a shop on Zazzle (, and for a long time I was convinced that there was no way to combine my art activities with my design activities. This resulted in neglecting my Zazzle shop (I nevertheless had the one or other sale there…).

However I am the member of a very supportive German group of pod designers, and when I told them about my problem I got a very encouraging answer: Try it out! So I took one of my latest gouache paintings, made some changes in photoshop and uploaded it to Zazzle. You can see one product here:


Orange Flower and green leaf Tote Bag
Orange Flower and green leaf Tote Bag by ullahennig
Look at Orange flower Bags online at




Some time ago I had done a rough sketch of this portrait. I had a look at it and decided to colour it. However, the sketch was a bit smallish, so I made a copy of the image, pasted it into my word processor and enlarged it. This was the first step.

Now I had to clean up the sketch and to transfer it to my watercolour paper. I put my handmade lighttable together and did a very light pencil drawing on the sheet of watercolour paper. I wasn’t yet sure whether I wanted to ink it. I then did the first layer in gouache, using quite a lot of water. This produced a rather watercolour-y effect. For the hair I used the golden yellow which was still on my palette. Then I went through my markers looking for different shades of brown. When the gouache had dried, I applied them, leaving the part at the left top as it was. I must say that I am quite satisfied with the result!

Chibi sketch


Chibi. Pencil on printing paper. December 2014

I was watching some drawing videos on YouTube yesterday, and one of them was so inspiring that I grabbed paper and pencil and did this quick sketch.

The next step will be to colour this little chap. The rough sketch would be cleaned up and transfered to a piece of either watercolour paper or drawing cardboard (I am not decided on that yet). However, I wanted the sketch to be bigger, especially for colouring with gouache or watercolour. So I copied the image into my open office writer and enlarged it. Voilà! Now I am looking forward to using my handmade lightbox and cleaning up the sketch.

In the Jungle

In the jungle. Mixed media on watercolour paper. December 2014I

In this painting I combined gouache paints (first layer) with coloured pencils in some places (added to the gouache) and markers (applied on top of the coloured pencils). I am still fascinated by the intensitiy of the colour of the gouache paints, even if you rewet them on your palette. No paint is wasted, and your brushes can be cleaned easily.

I added quite some water to the paints when I did the first layer of gouache. Doing it this way you can get an effect which is similar to watercolour painting.

I also found out that you can get some very interesting kinds of grey when you mix two complementary colours – green and red, depending on the amount of red and green in the mixing.

Funny owl revisited


Funny owl. Mixed media painting. December 2014

This is really a mixed media painting: On a watercolour layer I added some coloured pencils, deepened the contrast with markers and added some gouache greens for the background. I had some green mixes left over from another gouache painting and wanted to know if they could be rewetted and used again for painting. Yes, they definitely could be used. I was surprised about the intensity of the colours (there is still some green left!).

Red Flower


Red flower, painted with gouache on watercolour paper. December 2014

Here I not only experimented with what kinds of subjects can be shown in a round shape, but also with what colours can you get when you mix brilliant red with violet. The yellow inside the flower has been painted with a marker, and the outlines been drawn with a black PITT Artist brush pen.

I love the intensivity of the colours on the one hand, and how easy it is to clean your brush and your palette compared with painting with acrylics. You can even rewet them and use them again like you can do with watercolour paints.