Let’s go on an adventure! A rambling adventure with much back and forth and uhmmming and aahhhing and frustrations and joys! An adventure in painting!
As the proud owner of three wee little blank canvases and mother to a child with two wee little pet mice, I decided hey! Why not paint the furry little creatures! What a delightful idea!
The idea began as sketches. Those sketches were then transferred onto tracing paper and fleshed out. Those fleshed out sketches ventured forth to the canvas for placement…
But hark! A problem! These sketches are not looking great. No matter how I shift and twist and merge and push and pull, I am just not happy with their placement. It takes me a while, but I finally figure it out. The mice are too small on the canvas. They must be bigger! Bolder! MORE!
Yes! Yes! To the Tracing paper with ye!
And, with magic and witchery, to the canvas!
And now paint my lovelies! PAINT!
Neener screeech eekk urrr… We apologize for the loss of transmission. Please be assured that “stuff” happened and, several hours later, a completed painting emerged.
Thank-you for joining us on this journey. We hope that you had a pleasant experience and look forward to having you with us on our next adventure.
Three years later, and Thell the fairy is getting her picture taken! To be fair, I did try three years ago, but it was just a crazy stressful mess. Mentally, I was not in the right place, but that’s a story for another day.
Today is for celebrating! Thell has a lovely bunch of sketches all ready for her story. One coloured, a bunch to go! I will admit that I almost gave up at the colouring stage. That was Photoshop’s fault. I don’t know why, but no matter what I seem to do, I always end up with pen pressure issues. I’ve had problems with randomly loosing pressure mid stroke and then it suddenly coming back again. I’ve had pen pressure just full on dropping and only coming back when I restart PS.
It was a mess and made the whole painting experience a nightmare. These are known issues. Other people have these issues. And I found myself wondering what I was paying a monthly sub for if stuff didn’t even work properly.
Enter Clip Studio Paint and love at first sight. Yup. It’s true. I’ve converted and couldn’t be happier. I have only scratched the surface of the program, but already the whole process feels more natural. More peaceful and more in line with how I work when I paint traditionally. I wish I had made the change sooner.
Over the next few weeks I will be cleaning up and colouring these sketches. If you keep an eye out, you may even catch some of the process live streaming on twitch. This is another new experience that I hope will grow into joyful hilarity.
If watching each and every snail paced tiny brushstroke while the artist mutters incoherent stuff is your thing, you can find me here: https://www.twitch.tv/actonart
For now, I hope you enjoy Thell’s sketches. Progress and process walk throughs to come. 🙂
Finally, it’s time for painting. I don’t have much to say about my process. I keep things fairly simple. No special tricks or magic tools, just a bunch of familiar steps built over years of painting practice.
Most of my paint is Windsor and Newton Professional Acrylic. I do have a couple of tubes of Galleria (Windsor and Newton’s student range) as well as some Atelier tubes, but for the way I work, the Windsor and Newton Professional range feel the best.
For brushes I use a large, square to wash in the background, but the rest of the painting is done alternating between three differently sized round brushes. As for the actual technique, I can best describe it as layering on thin washes of colour and softly (but quickly) blending lights into darks until I get the desired gradient.
In future, I would love to video the whole process, but I don’t really have the right setup for it. For now, I can offer a photographic journey.
With the sketch done, it’s time to prepare the canvas for painting. Word of wisdom, buy the canvas before deciding on what size to make your sketch. I, of course, did not work with this sort of wisdom and alas, when I went canvas buying, could not get the exact dimensions that I needed. The best canvas I could find was a little wider than the sketch, but not quite as tall.
With some tracing paper, a pair of scissors and ample floor space, I got to work making adjustments to my composition. Satisfied with the new positions, it was time to transfer. Another feat accomplished thanks to tracing paper. I make sure to put only the main lines down. They are fairly light on the canvas, and serve as a guide for the initial layers of colour.
Speaking of colour, I need to make some decisions on my palette choice. I paint out a few quick colour studies to get a feel for the atmosphere. For me, the yellow one best brings out the kind of vibe I’m aiming for.
After hashing out the idea for my Alice illustration in a few rough doodles, I jump right into the final sketch. This sketch is something of an exploratory process. I’ve got the basic idea of how I want the image to look, but I haven’t worked out the finer details yet. There is a lot of back and forth with erasing and drawing and erasing again, particularly in areas like the hands where getting the pose just right can be tricky
The sketch is A3 in size, done on an A2 sheet of Canson Artists Series Drawing Paper, 220GSM. I used a 6B graphite pencil for the entire sketch. I find I can get both really light and really dark with 6B pencils and don’t have any need to switch between pencils. The final trusty tool is the kneaded eraser.
Here are some shots of the process with the final illustration at the end.
Next up: Transferring the sketch to canvas and getting ready for painting!
Dust lay thick on the furniture. Spots of sun leaked through the worn curtains. Somewhere, a rodent skittered away on clawed feet. Kayla stood in the middle of the living room and sighed. She wasn’t sure why she had come. She had given so many years to this place, to the waiting. It hadn’t given back, yet she couldn’t help but feel guilty for having abandoned it.
Kayla stepped around the couch and into the kitchen. Her breath caught in her throat as her hand grabbed toward the nearest wall. She swayed on the spot, fighting against what her eyes saw but her brain refused to believe. Standing beside the antique stove was her sister. Her twin sister. Gone was the unsure teenager who Kayla remembered. In her place stood a confident woman with beaded dreadlocks gathered atop her head and a hand resting easy on a solid fighting staff. The strangeness was still there. That haunting way she tilted her head as if listening to something a million miles away. The way her eyes looked glossed over yet swam with swirling clouds. And the voice, as if speaking from another place:
“Kayla. I have been waiting for you.”
Kayla didn’t know if she should laugh or cry or scream.
“Waiting for me? You’ve been waiting for me?” She shook her head. “I waited for you. For six years, Ruta, I waited.”
Ruta closed her eyes and lifted her chin, catching a breeze that wasn’t there. No, that wasn’t here. How easy it was to watch her sister drift between two worlds and feel that anger rise again, anger at not being given the same gifts as her twin.
Anger at being normal.
Kayla thought she had moved past all of that, but this shock and storm of emotions thrust her back into childhood. She knew how hard it had been on Ruta -she had watched her sister struggle with even the most mundane of tasks- and still Kayla had wanted to be the one that was different.
Ruta came back to the room. Her eyes focused on Kayla. Ruta didn’t look like she struggled with things anymore. Ruta didn’t look like someone who saw her gifts as a disability anymore.
“Why did you stop waiting?”
It wasn’t an accusation; just curiosity. Kayla let her body slide down the wall. Her eyes stared at nothing.
“I lost hope. I started to believe mom was right. You had to be dead.”
“I was dead. I will be dead again. We are all trapped in the cycle of life and death. Living is just unbecoming and reconstructing. Death and rebirth. You die too. We all do.”
Kayla looked long and hard at her twin. Ruta was right. Kayla could not find even a spark of the teenage rebel she had once been: a young girl willing to take any risk just to be different, to feel different. That girl had died.
Kayla could feel herself dying again. A cycle of unbecoming and becoming again.
I’m just in with a quick update on the things I’ve been busy with, primarily in the vein of “how not to do things!”
I am excitably working toward a tutorial series on concrete sculpture, but to do that, I first need to remember how to do it properly. Aha! Also, I need to work out the intricacies of recording process. I’m having some success on that front, but also plently of failures. I’m learning how to edit video. Next on the list will be audio.
In the meantime, I am getting plenty of “What not to do” footage and it will totally add to the completeness of the series so we can pretend I did it on purpose. 😉
A quick, visual journey of my activities:
Let us begin with a snapshot from the art of plaster moulds:
Hark! A tub of curing concrete scuplts! Note all the bugs and leaves that have fallen in. Also the strange surface floaty bits that I have, without any scientific backing whatsoever, decided must be related to the petroleum jelly used as a release agent. I am probably wrong.
This, a small concrete sculpture that broke on demoulding because I got the cement to aggregate ratio wrong. Ah, relearning you old fiend!
And this, a giant pile of clay scraped from the depths of this one piece mould that really would work better as a two piece mould, but here we are!
And Finally, a lovely demonstration of myself working on the part of the sculpture that’s facing AWAY from the camera. Also see: Wobble because I’m hitting the charging cable.
Here is MerMay number 6! I went with a barnacle and seaweed look for this Mermaid. I rather like the barnacles and think I will explore them further throughout Mermay.
Video wise I have mostly removed the wobble. Except for that time I hit my phone with my shoulder… 😛 There is a small bit of sketch lost on the top of the screen which I do need to address, but otherwise I am pretty happy with my “making videos for YouTube” progress.
I hope you enjoy and Let me know what you think! 🙂
Do you know what makes me happy? Painting! Painting makes me happy! All that smooshy wooshy messy turpentine smelly gloriousness that is Painting Makes. Me. Happy.
I should totally do more of it. 😛
Here are some progress shots from my Hogwarts Alumni Portrait. Still got a fair bit to go on it, and I’ve made some ridiculous errors (see weird blue section at bottom of robe) but I am super duper happy with the progress thus far.