Video Notes: Tough Teddy

Video Notes: Tough Teddy

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.

Tough Teddy - Surface and drawing

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.

Tough Teddy - Acrylic background

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.

Tough Teddy - Fixing the drawing

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.

Tough Teddy - Gouache block-in

Here is my bear with just the simple, flat colors:

Tough Teddy - Gouache block-in

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.

Tough Teddy - Oil paint

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.

Tough Teddy - Oil paint

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.

Tough Teddy - Erasing the oil

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.

Tough Teddy - Colored Pencil

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.

Tough Teddy - Oil highlights


Tough Teddy - Finished

5 thoughts on “Video Notes: Tough Teddy

  1. Dani Post author


    I’m assuming you meant “tape”. For this illo, I just used regular masking tape, and it was 2″ wide. I also use white “Artist’s Tape” that can be found in art supply stores.

  2. Robert Eberz

    Great tutorial! I think I’m going to give it a try with some of my creature sketches. I don’t do digital work (mostly because of my inexperience) but some of your painting methods are similar to mine. I’ve used a watered down wash of acrylics (raw umber and purple) to create the same effect you did with the oil, but it’s always been labor intensive and like you said it dries much too quickly. LOVE your blog and website…Thank you for your hard work keeping us hopefuls informed!

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