Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Watercolor and Acrylic Background Tutorial

Today we are going to be focusing in on another tutorial. This was actually scheduled for yesterday, and yesterday's was for today, but I decided to switch it up a little. Normally it's going to be "Tutorial Tuesday", but I guess today it's going to be a Tutorial Wednesday. That's not too bad. Anyways. The tutorial that I'm going to be showing you guys today is how to mix different mediums to create one cohesive piece. That's one of my favorite things to do. Mix different kinds of materials in one thing. That's why they call it mixed media after all. Okay. So first things first. What we're going to be making. You can obviously do this technique anywhere that you want, but the easiest way for me to do it in a tutorial format would be to show you on plain pieces of copy paper. You could do it on cardstock, mixed media paper, in a journal or sketchbook; anywhere that you would normally use any other technique that you find floating throughout the internet. Let's get started.

The first thing that you're going to do here is prepare a pallet. You've seen me doing this on multiple occasions, so you're probably pretty used to this by now. Now let me give you a really quick run through of the supplies that you are most likely to use. You're going to want a little bit a tube watercolors. This forms the background, and is used in many layers throughout the technique. Next, you're going to want an acrylic paint in a similar, but NOT identical color. If it's identical in shade, then, in my opinion, it will not have enough variation to make an interesting piece. You could try it though; I haven't yet. The last type of paint that you're going to be using is just a plain white acrylic. I am using a poster paint, but you could use any kind of acrylic that you like. You're also going to need some paper (or whatever surface that you are going to use), and a paintbrush. The paintbrush that you use for this technique NEEDS to be one with the natural bristles. The roughness of them gives the right texture that we need for this technique. A softer brush will not work.

The next thing that you are going to do is mix a little bit of your tube watercolor with water, and spread it all over the page. Make sure that you are very haphazard with where you are placing your marks, and don't over think it. Just play with moving the color around on the page. I cover almost the entire background in this first layer, but you can certainly do a lot less if you wish. This is just this particular page. I first came up with this technique when I was just playing around with a bunch of supplies, so it's a very experimental technique that is very open to suggestions.

The next step is going to be to add some white acrylic paint to the page. Again, be very spontaneous, and don't worry about what comes next. I added some layers of the watercolor on top of this, and then alternated back and forth, blending a bunch, and just trying to come up with an effect that I enjoyed.

To finish off the technique, just work with the supplies you have. I added the acrylic paint, and mixed that with a little bit of the white paint. Then I took a paper towel and lifted some of the paint up off of the page, and then dipped it in watercolor and dabbed it over the page. I also added some more layers over top of that, and finished off the page by putting some little rectangle splotches of watercolor over the page. This technique will be very different each and every time you try it, so be prepared for that when you do it. As you can see, this blue page is a lot different than the pink one that I showed at the beginning of this post.

I don't really know what's up with me lately and making big batches of colorful papers, spreading them out on the floor, and taking pics of them to share with you guys, but I guess I just love the way they look. These are all pages that I did today in about a 45 minute time slot. As you can see, you don't have to have a lot of time to create a bunch of quality backgrounds.

This is just another angle of a couple of the pages, and a few others. Some of these were done with this technique, and others just used portions of it. Some used none at all, and were just made because of the fact that I had leftover paint on my pallet that I wanted to use up. That's another thing that I tend to do. I hate being wasteful, so I'll make tons of other papers to make up for the paint that I would otherwise just throw away. That's what I've got for you guys today, and check back tomorrow for yet another post.

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