Here is a bit of an explanation behind the making of my “Tough Teddy” painting, which I posted as a video earlier this week.
My traditional painting process is a lot like my digital work in that I like to experiment. As a result, a lot of my traditional paintings are done with mixed media. I like the interaction of the different materials and being able to use each of their advantages to create a one single great image. In the making of this painting, I used a whole mess of stuff, including gouache, oil, colored pencil, and acrylic.
In this post, I’ll explain which media I used and why, and hopefully you’ll be inspired to do a little experimenting yourself. Happy Painting!
The painting was done on Strathmore Vellum Bristol paper. To transfer my drawing, I simply printed my scanned sketch onto the paper itself. I then taped down the paper onto a board to minimize any wrinkling that would occur while I was painting.
Next, I painted in my background. For this, I used acrylic paint because it dries quickly and is great for painting a variety of textures. I tried to keep it rough and sketchy, and I paid close attention to the different values I wanted in specific areas.
When I painted my background, my layers of paint started to get thick, and I started to lose my drawing. Before I continued on with my image, I went back over it with colored pencil so I would be able to see what I was painting.
My next medium of choice was gouache. I like painting with gouache better than acrylic because I don’t like how acrylic dries so fast. Gouache is also opaque and will create a terrific flat area of color. I used it to block in my general colors.
Here is my bear with just the simple, flat colors:
I love texture. I simply can’t do a painting without a lot of texture. Since gouache is so flat, I usually don’t leave it by itself. To create some texture on top of it, I can’t use acrylic or gouache paint because they are water based and would stir up the gouache that I already have in place. For my next task, I will go to oil paint. I use a mixture of burnt umber and ultramarine blue to create a dark brownish-gray.
If this next image makes you cringe, just trust me. Because oil paint is – well, oil-based – it will not mix with or stir up the other water-based paint I already have in place. And because oil dries so slowly, I will be able to wipe most of it away.
After allowing the oil to dry for several minutes so it is easier to handle, I start to take it away with a kneaded eraser. This leaves a great texture on the painting, almost as if I had antiqued it.
After all of this, I start to bring back the line and the lighter values using colored pencil. I like how the texture of the pencil complements the texture that I already have in place.
It’s hard to really get some bright values with the pencil, so for a few small highlights and details, I got back with oil paint.