Live Gouache Workshop: Interview with August Wren

This week, Danny interviewed NY-based illustrator and author August Wren (Jennifer Orkin Lewis) about her upcoming workshop with Sketchbook Skool, Gouache Portraits from Photos. Watch the video above to learn more about the workshop.

August also answered a few questions below about her creative process, her favorite subjects, and how she's continuing to make art while at home. Read more below.

Why do you love gouache and watercolor? 

My favorite paint is gouache. I love the fact that it's opaque so I can get dense, bright color combinations and layer light on dark and dark on light. I also can add more water to create a more transparent look, so it fills all the requirements for me. I do use straight watercolor sometimes, but more when I want to use lots of water and let the randomness of the blending just happen and surprise me.

How much does color fit into your work and the art you aim to create?

Color is number 1. It creates the mood, it evokes a strong response in me and others whether I’m going neutral, all-bright warm colors, or creating a dark ground image. There are endless choices to make with color. I never get tired of it. 

How are you staying creative in this turbulent time? Do you have suggestions for other artists?

I’m doing one of the numerous challenges on Instagram right now. This one is a flower a day; It keeps me focused and sane, At least I’ve done one thing by the end of the day. I am hosting another challenge for 2 weeks starting April 1. I will announce it on my IG feed (@augustwren).

Do you have a creative practice or routine? If so, how do you stick to it?

I pretty consistently work all day, starting quite early and I fizzle out by late afternoon. I have work that needs to get done in that time as well as my personal projects. At this point, it's just a habit.

What’s your favorite subject to paint? Why are you drawn to it?

I enjoy painting so many things. I don’t like to stick to only one type of image; that's why my work looks so diverse. Flowers come naturally to me, so I do them when I’m more unsettled and restless. I love painting animals, people, scenes, memories of places. So many things!!

What (or who!) keeps you inspired?

My long morning walk is always a good time to look, think, imagine, listen, rev up for the day. My travels and time in the city also is so inspiring. Of course, none of that is possible right now, so talking with friends and family and staying connected brings me calm and inspiration.

Can you tell us about an upcoming project you’re excited about?

I have begun exploring some large scale acrylic paintings. I don’t know where I’m going with them yet, but it's opening up a whole new way of thinking and painting, which is very exciting!

The gouache workshop is sold out, but you can still sign up for our waitlist to get information and updates on future live workshops.