Since I was young, I have been exploring many mediums. It is natural to me to mix medias together and I did it a lot when I did my first paintings. Because I had a lot of troubles doing great gradients with paint (especially with acrylics), I chose to use gouache and add layers of colored pencils on it. I eventually switched for acrylics years later. I worried about the longevity of the gouache and had interaction problems between mediums and varnishes.
Anyway I thought of sharing my process for a piece I did last year. For most of my paintings, I make a study I use as a guide. I made a lot of research about strawberry and its leaves and flowers. It helps me to place lights and choose colors. Actually I do a lot of research on everything and I keep the reference pictures in a personal image bank divided in a lot of folders. It mostly made of photos but sometimes I add pictures of other artists works.
Photoshop is very helpful to create the perfect layout for the painting. I have scanned the sketch outlines of my characters. I made the typo and scanned it too. Then I try different layout fitting with a size of wood panel I have in stock. In this case, a 18×12 in panel was the best. When the composition is looking good, I print the outline and transfer it on my panel. For this one, I wanted to color the background and keep the wood grain. Some artists would make washes of acrylics but I felt more comfortable using dry pastels. I used a cloth to smooth the pastel and remove the excess and then I put a layer of workable vanish.
I love putting gold o my artwork. And I always prefer doing the background before the characters. It helps to adjust colors and sometimes I feel intimidated by acrylics. I have this little fear that I may not be able to complete my work. This is a strange feeling which will disappear with time and experience. This is why doing background before helps me to approach slowly the work.
* for the borders, I used a gold ink because it is more opaque. The only problem with is I have to spray varnish on it because it is not permanent and it will dissolve when I’ll add acrylic varnish at the end. Now I use gold acrylic. I have to paint more layers to achieve the same opacity but it is stable.
Now the typo. There is no real trick for doing crisp typo. You need to have tight outlines, a tiny brush and a lot of patience. I love doing this part, I can let my mind to wander.
Now the characters. I always keep the hard work for the end. I put flat layers of colors on each part before building with lights and shadows. I work with hi flow acrylics so it feels like ink. That’s why I put flat layers of color before.
Then 2 or 3 layers of acrylics varnish and tada! I did a painting! So this is mostly how I do my paintings. Next post I’ll try to share my process for the step before painting, how I make my sketch ready for a painting.