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Rebeccak
05-29-2006, 12:36 AM
For those of you working with Acrylic Paint, here are a few tips which I hope you will find useful:

Acrylic Painting Tips:


The first thing is that you might try using colored gesso, instead of normal acrylics, to coat your board or canvas before painting. They sell colored gesso in small or large bottles (it's a bit expensive, but a small bottle should last for several canvases, depending on size). Try getting a burnt umber / whatever type of medium to dark brown that they sell. Gesso is best applied with a porous black sponge brush such as they sell at art or hardware stores.

Secondly when starting out with acrylics it's best to try a limited palette. The colors for a limited palette are listed below.

Limited Palette Colors:

Recommended Acrylic Brand: Liquitex (http://www.dickblick.com/zz006/17/)

Recommended type of Acrylics: Acrylics that come in jars, not tubes ~ they have better viscocity (smoothness):

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b380/rebeccak5/Acrylic%20Painting%20Tips/acrylic-jar.jpg


http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b380/rebeccak5/Acrylic%20Painting%20Tips/01_white.jpg Titanium White
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b380/rebeccak5/Acrylic%20Painting%20Tips/02_yellow-ochre.jpg Yellow Ochre (or Lemon Yellow)
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b380/rebeccak5/Acrylic%20Painting%20Tips/02B_cadmium-red-medium.jpg Cadmium Red Medium
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b380/rebeccak5/Acrylic%20Painting%20Tips/03_alizarin-crimson.jpg Alizarin Crimson
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b380/rebeccak5/Acrylic%20Painting%20Tips/04_viridian-green.jpg Viridian Green (or Pthalo Green)
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b380/rebeccak5/Acrylic%20Painting%20Tips/05_ultramarine-blue.jpg Ultramarine Blue
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b380/rebeccak5/Acrylic%20Painting%20Tips/06_burnt-sienna.jpg Burnt Sienna
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b380/rebeccak5/Acrylic%20Painting%20Tips/07_burnt-umber.jpg Burnt Umber (or Raw Umber)
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b380/rebeccak5/Acrylic%20Painting%20Tips/08_black.jpg Black (Note: It's best to mix your black, see below)

Really it is most advisable to mix your black from: Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Viridian Green, and Burnt Umber. Experiment a bit to see what gives you the best result, but generally speaking you want roughly equal quantities of each in the mix.

Use white VERY sparingly ~ as I mentioned earlier, use yellow ochre for highlight areas at first.

Materials (Click for links to images):

>>Paints<<: See above list for limited palette colors.

>>White Gesso<<: (http://www.dickblick.com/zz006/23a/) For priming your painting surface, unless you purchase a preprimed surface, such as treated canvas.

>>Colored Gesso (Burnt Sienna or Burnt Umber)<<: (http://www.liquitex.com/Products/images/surfaceprep/color_gesso_info.jpg) For priming your canvas, or even for painting.

>>Brushes<<: (http://www.dickblick.com/zz053/96a/) A variety of flat bristled synthetic brushes is best. As a student I used long red handled "University" brushes, though they may not make them anymore nor sell them in your area.

>>Sponge Brush<<: (http://gvdesigns.co.uk/images/sp%20brush.jpg) A wide black sponge brush to coat your canvas with either colored brown gesso or brown acrylic paint.

>>Small Bucket for Water<<: (http://www.craftamerica.com/images/products/6545_pail_galvanized.jpg) Of course you need a bucket for water. Get something solid that won't tip over easily and is small enough for your work area.

>>Palette<<: (http://www.dickblick.com/zz030/00/) A great palette is a ceramic butcher's tray which they should sell in art stores. A butcher's tray is great because paint scrapes off of it easily with a flat razor blade with a handle for safety. It is also great because the raised sides keep water on the palette.

>>A razor blade with a safety handle<< (http://www.dickblick.com/zz574/28/) is great for scraping your palette clean periodically to make room for more paint.

>>A spray water bottle<< (http://www.gssdist.com/SB910.gif) to spray / keep your acrylics moist.

Paper towels: Fold a sheet of paper towel in thirds or quarters and spritz it liberally with water. This keeps your acrylics moist as well as adheres the paper towel to the butcher tray / palette. After you have liberally moistened (but not soaked) your paper towel at one of the narrow ends of the butcher tray, lay your dabs of paint on top, starting with White and progressing to Black (see colors list above).

>>Saran Wrap / plastic wrap<< (http://shopuncleharrys.dukestores.duke.edu/images/Missing%20One%2010%2006%2005%20001.jpg): If you have globs of acrylic paint left over on the paper towel at the end of your painting session, spritz your paints and then cover the whole tray with plastic wrap and store in the refigerator til your next session. To easily remove mixed paint from the exposed butcher tray, just spritz the tray and scrape it down with your razor blade, wiping the excess on a paper towel.

General rules of painting of any kind are to work from dark to light, and 'fat on lean'.

1. Working Dark to Light:

Coat your canvas with a burnt umber or other brown acrylic gesso with a lightly wet sponge brush, allow that to dry. You may want to give your canvas 2 coats, but don't build the surface too thick. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly (this will dry faster if canvas is placed in the sun). Alternately you can coat your canvas with burnt sienna or burnt umber acrylic paint. Giving your canvas this brown coat gives you an automatic midtone, and you don't have to work so hard to achieve them.

Gradually build your values using yellow ochre for your lights, and a mixed black for darks.

2. Working 'Fat on Lean':

Working 'Fat on Lean' just means not to build your paint too thickly. Work 'Lean' at first, using water to thin your paint (though of course not too much, use your best judgement for this). As you build your surface and your painting progresses, gradually use thicker paint, but don't slather it on ~ again, use your best judgement and build your painting organically.

~~~

Cheers,

~Rebeccak

Rebeccak
05-29-2006, 12:46 AM
Mixing Colors:

Limited Palette Colors:

Recommended Acrylic Brand: Liquitex (http://www.dickblick.com/zz006/17/)

Mix your black from: Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Viridian Green, and Burnt Umber. Experiment a bit to see what gives you the best result, but generally speaking you want roughly equal quantities of each in the mix.

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b380/rebeccak5/Acrylic%20Painting%20Tips/03_alizarin-crimson.jpg Alizarin Crimson
+
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b380/rebeccak5/Acrylic%20Painting%20Tips/05_ultramarine-blue.jpg Ultramarine Blue
+
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b380/rebeccak5/Acrylic%20Painting%20Tips/07_burnt-umber.jpg Burnt Umber
+
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b380/rebeccak5/Acrylic%20Painting%20Tips/04_viridian-green.jpg Viridian Green
=
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b380/rebeccak5/Acrylic%20Painting%20Tips/08_black.jpg Black

Rebeccak
05-29-2006, 12:46 AM
*space reserved*

Rebeccak
05-29-2006, 12:46 AM
*space reserved*

Rebeccak
05-29-2006, 12:47 AM
*space reserved*

Rebeccak
05-29-2006, 12:55 AM
Please post your Acrylic Painting Tips here! :)

Cheers,

~Rebeccak

Seratogui
05-29-2006, 01:12 AM
thank you for this, but I have a small question, we're working now in black and white only, how is it possible to recieve a smooth transition between the color? Much like a gradient.
Or is that not advisable/possible ?

Rebeccak
05-29-2006, 01:26 AM
Seratogui,

You're welcome! :) Creating gradients in Acrylics is a matter of using layers of paint thinned with water and gradually building the transition from dark to light.

The key really is to work from Dark to Light. This is really true in almost any form of painting, be it Traditional or Digital.

The brushes I used as a student are >>these University red handled brushes<<. (http://www.dickblick.com/zz053/96a/)
Keep them very clean (wash with soap and water after each use) and they will last you for a long time.

The real trick with acrylics is to use thin layers of paint, and not build the surface too quickly with paint that is too thick, or you will end up with a more or less unworkable, plastic surface ~ since that is what acrylics are basically, plastic.

Before you start to paint, coat your canvas with black acrylic gesso if working only in black and white. Gesso is much smoother than acrylic paint and will give you a nice ground to start out with. Using black acrylic gesso is perfect as then you do not have to work hard to establish your darks.

Create your drawing (either in pencil, or in black paint, being careful not to use thick paint as you will leave a raised ridge ~ I recommend creating your drawing in pencil) and then mix your dark grays, and begin to establish your midtones. Use white very sparingly for the highlights. Work your way gradually from dark to light.

If you find after painting for a while that your painting has become too light, let the whole thing dry, then coat your entire canvas with a thin wash of a very thinned down black, so that you knock the overall lightness of the picture back. Then continue to build your lights more selectively from there.

You can find a lot of useful tips and information on Acrylic Painting here:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/channels.php?s=&channel_id=7

Feel free to post your work here to this thread, or to your own Anatomy Thread. :)

Hope this helps! :)

Cheers,

~Rebeccak

Seratogui
05-29-2006, 01:32 AM
We only get 1.5 hours per A1 sized painting, so waiting between steps is a luxury I can't really afford, would the technique still work then?
Also, what I noticed is that I have to use a boatload of white with a tiny bit of black paint to even produce a tone which is grayer then the original black, how is it that u suggest using white in a small amount?
btw, thanks for the advice :)

Rebeccak
05-29-2006, 01:34 AM
No problem! :)

We only get 1.5 hours per A1 sized painting, so waiting between steps is a luxury I can't really afford, would the technique still work then?
You mean per painting, you can only paint for 1.5 hours? I would say for even a standard illustration board sized painting, you'd need a half or full day to produce anything decent, given the necessity of allowing things to dry. Why are you on such a short format? :)

One thing that works well for drying things quickly is a small hairdryer. We used to bring these to class to dry our boards quickly. I recommend doing that, especially if you're in a hurry, but of course be careful as you have a bucket of water around and it doesn't mix especially well with electricity. :) You really need to be working on either canvas or illustration board for this to be effective. But I can't imagine that you'd be working on a flimsier surface than that anyway, so it shouldn't be a problem.

Also, what I noticed is that I have to use a boatload of white with a tiny bit of black paint to even produce a tone which is grayer then the original black, how is it that u suggest using white in a small amount?
Try the other way around ~ start with white, and add just a bit of black. :)

Cheers,

~Rebeccak

Seratogui
05-29-2006, 01:41 AM
No problem! :)


You mean per painting, you can only paint for 1.5 hours? I would say for even a standard illustration board sized painting, you'd need a half or full day to produce anything decent, given the necessity of allowing things to dry. Why are you on such a short format? :)

One thing that works well for drying things quickly is a small hairdryer. We used to bring these to class to dry our boards quickly. I recommend doing that, especially if you're in a hurry, but of course be careful as you have a bucket of water around and it doesn't mix especially well with electricity. :)


Try the other way around ~ start with white, and add just a bit of black. :)

Cheers,

~Rebeccak

No idea, the teachers said do this, we give grades on it, and who am I to dispute? :)

So most of my paintings come out with heavy usage of acrylics making it indeed look like plastic. I also make the mistake of only using 3 colors, gray, white and black because there's simply not enough time to make a smooth transition on such a large scale.
So I thought there was maybe some technique I was overlooking to get semi nice gradient like transition effects.

Also, I tried that once, but after adding only a tiny spec of gray, i still got a seeable color difference between the white parts and gray parts, nothing smooth at all.

But I'll see if I can find a small hairdryer then, thanks for the advice.

Rebeccak
05-29-2006, 01:44 AM
You know, instead of using acrylic paint, you might try using gesso (white and black) to paint with instead. It's much, much smoother and less 'plasticky' and you might enjoy it a lot more. Check to see if this is okay with your instructors, but I don't see what they would see wrong with it (though you never know). I can see the point of doing fast pieces (they just want you to get the essence) but this is easier done with oil than with acrylic paint. I mainly recommend painting with gesso ~ they sell fairly small bottles, though the bottles are larger than the tubes. Buy just black and white and you should be okay. :)

Gesso has a much smoother consistency, and I frankly wish it came in more colors. :D

Also, the acrylic paint that comes in the tubes is not as good as the stuff that comes in little short bottles. That stuff tends to have a better consistency as well, though not as nice as that of gesso. :)

Recommended type of Acrylics: Acrylics that come in jars, not tubes ~ they have better viscocity (smoothness):

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b380/rebeccak5/Acrylic%20Painting%20Tips/acrylic-jar.jpg

Cheers,

~Rebeccak

Seratogui
05-29-2006, 01:46 AM
thank you, I will try that :)
Off to sleep now, ciao.

Rebeccak
05-29-2006, 01:47 AM
No problem. :)

Ego
05-29-2006, 03:39 AM
I am very happy to see more traditional painting techniques appearing in here . The truth is that a lot of digital people are also into traditional art and getting their art information from one board is a great thing. I hope more traditional painters in here will step up to the mic. :scream:


Thanks Becca.

paperclip
05-29-2006, 10:28 AM
I used to paint traditionally for a while, but I stopped because the results were piling up around me too much. :D I'm thinking of getting back into it in the summer when I have extra time.

One thing I noticed about Ingres' paintings (which were obviously oil) is that they had this wonderful sort of luminous glow. Is it only possible to get that with oil? Or is there some secret way with acrylics that will produce a similar effect?

umbrellasky
05-29-2006, 11:57 AM
Awsome tips Rebecca! Thankyou! :thumbsup:

dbclemons
05-29-2006, 02:25 PM
Hey, this is a great topic. It could be a forum all to itself! ;) I'm mostly using other types of paints these days, but have used acrylics quite a bit in the past.

Rebecca, I think it's possible to get very concentrated pigments in tubes. In fact, I prefer tubes as they don't seem to dry out as quickly. I think more air tends to creep into the larger opening of the jars. Look for the term "Heavy Body" or "High Viscosity" on the label (both Golden and Liquitex.)

As for the white, zinc white tends to have less covering power (be more opaque) than titanium.

Golden & Liquitex Blacks tend to only be offered in pigments that have low covering power, like "Mars" or "Lamp" which is why mixing up blacks with other dark colors is a good idea. However, these blacks can be useful to create nice neutral greys. Other smaller manufacturers tend to offer other colors like ivory black, so it's worth shopping around. M. Graham or Tri-Art make a good acrylic. It's worth mentioning that you can mix acrylic medium with other water based paints (watercolor, gouache [including acrylic gouache,] or pigment powders) to make your own paint.

Couple of tips I've used:
You can extend the "open" (drying) time of acrylics by using a small sprayer to mist your palette and keep it moist as you work. There are some trays that have sponges in their design for this purpose you could try, but I've found them to be a bit awkard. There are also mediums like retarders and slo-dri or glazing mediums. The retarders seem to add a different feel to the paint I don't like, and slo-dri doesn't add that much benefit in my experience, but I'd still recommend giving them a shot.

For blending fast drying paints, it's very helpful to get experience in mixing your paints on the palette first before applying them to the surface. Instead of trying to go from white to black directly on the canvas, for example, mix up a couple shades of grey in between, and you'll likely get better results. It does take a bit more skill, but it's good for you :). Use more medium than just water, too.

Speaking of greys, Golden makes a range of neutral greys that are very nice. Good for underpaintings and lowering the chroma of your colors.

peace,
-DBC

Ego
05-29-2006, 03:01 PM
Awww dbclemons, thanks for the tips. I know you have some for oil painting as well ;)

Rebeccak
05-29-2006, 03:03 PM
Originally posted by Queensoul: Awww dbclemons, thanks for the tips. I know you have some for oil painting as well
Yes, I think it might be nice to see some Tutorials for oil painting here as well ~ if you have the time or inclination db, we'd certainly love to hear from you. :)

Cheers,

~Rebeccak

-voraz-
05-29-2006, 03:41 PM
Great tips here. Thanks a lot.

I'm using mostly liquitex and winsor & newton acrylics, mostly in tubes. I have to give the bottles a try to check the consistency.

I really apreciated the tip of using greys to lower the cromatic intensity, normally I use black for that, but only a small portion of black makes evrything very dark. One thing i do sometimes is to use a very dilluted layer of white or black above what I have painted before. I do like the effect but I don't think it works always. So I'll give it a try with the greys (seems very obvious but I never though about that!!!).

I hope there are more tips from more experienced users! is there a thread like this for oils (off I go, to look for it...)

Cheers
Fil

Rebeccak
05-29-2006, 04:55 PM
Hi Fil,

Welcome to the Anatomy Forum! :) We don't have as many traditional as digital resources here since this is primarily a CG board, but I'd like for us to have more in the way of traditional resources as well. :)

In the meantime, try checking www.wetcanvas.com (http://www.wetcanvas.com), and feel free to post your work here to your own Anatomy Thread or to the WIP 2D Section of CGTalk. :)

Cheers,

~Rebeccak

dbclemons
05-30-2006, 03:17 AM
There's no shortage of places out there for oil painting info, so I doubt I could add anything more helpful than you can already find rather easily. Maybe I'll start one that's pretty basic and see where it goes. Oddly enough, it seems harder to find good acrylic forums. I guess folks think it's so easy it should paint itself. :-P

I hope that tip of using greys is useful to you voraz. You may find you only need a couple.

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