Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Begining of a Mermaid painting step by step

The Begining of a Mermaid painting

I worked on the sketch before I got to the point that I felt comfortable trasferring it onto the surface. It is very important to make sure that your sketch is exactly the way that you want it before you transfer it onto the surface you will be using. I spent a full day getting the sketch just right. It is my opinion that a great painting starts with a great drawing. To me, this doesn't mean a ton of detail, you can see that my drawing is not that detailed. I will add detail with paint as the last thing that I do. By "great drawing" I mean good composition, good lines, proportion and design.
I use both canvas and gessoed art board for my surfaces. For this project I used gessoed art board. I like the surface to be ultra smooth, so I sand it down with very fine sand paper until it feels like porceline.

I did several sketches and sometimes there are parts that I like of one and I want to combine it with a part from another etc. This one I like the body and the baby, but not the head - so I removed it. There is not law about decapitation in the art world, I don't even feel guilty. So I took her head off and replaced it with another head. I suggest you do several sketches, invest in some tape, and do this with your sketches. It's much easier than resketching over and over.

Once the head is taped on, I tape the sketch to some graphite paper (available at any art or craft store - for a hefty price) and then taped the entire thing to the art board. Make sure that it is secure and won't slip around - this can be disastrous.

Now you simply redraw the skecth. Make sure that you cover every line. Don't be afraid to press hard, we're going to cover any graphite smudges. I use a colored pen, because pencil just doesn't cut it, and it's much easier to see which lines I went over already .

This is my happy spongepaint dude. My son calls him and all other sponges spongebob. Bob is ready to get some work done. I use a sponge because the blotting is much less likely to smear the sketch than painting is.

I blot, lightly. You want to be able to see the sketch. I use acrylic paint for this because it dries faster. Actually, to cut costs, I use the cheap craft acrylic paints for this. It is only the first layer in the painting, later layers I will use oil paint

So now the sketch is covered lightly in acrylic craft paint. This ensures that the later layers of paint will not smudge the sketch. The graphite can also get into your paint and really change the color - we don't want that.

I did blue because there is going to be a lot of blue in this painting, it just makes life easier later on. Think before you apply this base color, what is the predominant color of the painting?


Now we wait about an hour for it to dry. Acrylic dries very quickly, so it may be done before this, but I like to be safe.
Ithen paint with midnight blue the outline of the tail. There is no reason I start here, it just seemed like a good place to begin.

After I did the entire tail this way, I decided it wasn't dark enough, so I added some black.

I then painted the floor of the ocean. i just did some greyish blue. As you get further back toward the horizon, you want to add more and more blue and make it lighter and lighter to macth the color of the sky, or in this case the water. You also want to make sure that objects further away are a little blurry, with less and less detail, they should also get more blue as the get further away.

I then painted the tail, and as it so often happens to me, I got so into it that I forgot to take photos of the stages of the tail. Basically I just painted the two tails slightly different shades of green. I then added a little dark blue on the shadowed side and some black as the shadows got darker. This is what I have so far. For the next week I will be working on this painting and blogging my progress and showing you how I did it. I have lots of little things that I have learned to make the painting proccess a little easier, so be sure to check back.


Glitzer said...

I dont really know how to paint. However thanks for sharing the tutorial! I hope one day I could make great paintings like you!

Hypnotransformations said...

I loved reading this tutorial! Thank you for sharing about your process. Thanks for visiting my blog =) I was so excited to hear about your success so far. It made my day actually.