Thursday, December 3, 2009

Using Acrylics


"Hello,
I just wanted to ask if you would be willing to help explain your painting process a little? I don't quite understand how you manage to get your acrylics so diluted, yet paint evenly. When I try this (it's hard enough to mix it smooth without any clumps!), I usually get uneven streaks.

A big difference, of course, is that I don't have any water colour paper on hand most of the times. I have been trying to get back into painting in sketchbooks first, a la James Jeans' sketchbooks.

In any case, I haven't much time for painting most nights, hence my using acrylics at the moment rather than oils.

Thanks for any advice!"


Thanks for the question. Acrylic is very versatile. I tend to water it down(I just use water) to a fairly thin consistency. I would try different consistencies to see what fits you. Starting off with a medium viscosity acrylic helps a lot ie Liquitex's Soft Body acrylics or Golden's Fluid acrylics. I usually add a drop of water (an eye dropper comes in handy) mix it around a bit then add more drops and mix, gradually mixing as I thin it out so I don't have chunks floating around within a watery mixture.

Using other wells in my water color palette, I'll have 1 w/a more intense solution, another w/ a medium intense solutioin, and a 3rd with a very thin solution all of the same color. So if I need a more subtle change in my painting I can use the very thin solution.

I paint in very thin washes on watercolor paper. Different papers react differently with the paint (hotpress vs coldpress vs illustration board vs canvas etc) It's not the fastest way to paint. One should recognize this. Don't have expectations to do a great painting in a day. My paintings go through a very unfinished "ugly" stage before they get refined at the very end. If you're just getting started or trying to get back into painting. I would recommend working with a vey simple still life to practice your craft, technique, and observational skills. When you're comfortable with your skills you can apply them to your personal work. If you're trying to be realistic good reference is key. Also, before picking up the brush be sure the drawing is exactly the way you want it. It's the foundation of your painting. If the drawing is off it doesn't matter how rendered something is it's going to be wrong.

Hope that makes sense.

Good Luck:)

14 comments:

Sam Wolfe Connelly said...

thank you for answering questions like these! I totally know what you mean by ugly state....I guess thats usually keeps me from using acrylics and watercolor as a medium in my art

andrewlong said...

For every one person that asks a question like that there are probably a hundred that would like to ask the same thing - so thanks for answering on the blog and sharing more of your process/tips/techniques.

I'd like to follow that up with my own question... How do you transfer your drawings to the watercolor paper so accurately? Is it all freehand? A light grid that you erase? Some other method?

Jabari said...

i love this. thanks for posting it. i love it when artists aren't stingy with their techniques lol

JB Segura said...

Thank you for being so nice as to post this up! I love reading about artists and their process, it feels as though next time I see their work, I will be able to visualize the artist exactly as they were making it.

And I will agree with Andrew and Jabari - there's usually a hundred out there who would like to ask the same thing, but are often too afraid that the artist might snap at them for asking them to reveal their deepest secrets, hah.

Andrew, perhaps saral transfer paper could help? it's really easy to use and can be erased... It's also relatively cheap. I own a roll of it in red, which I had to use for a project in school, but it also comes in yellow, white (i think?), blue, and the good ol' black graphite.

Dave Groff said...

I dig the new work Eric-you ready for CCAD??

EricFortune said...

Big D- I'll never be ready. But we'll see.

Andrew- Great question! Something I've always hated. I'll get into transferring on my next post. Thanks Guys!

J.Wang said...

This is why you're so awesome, Eric. Thanks for your input and I'm looking forward to the "transfer" post :-D

Shannon.Doran. said...

I have always wondered the same thing, about anyone that paints with acrylic! It makes sense that you use the more fluid acrylics then to make it smooth. I only have a couple colors of goldens fluid acrylics and they are much less of a hassle to work with, though I've never done more than sketchbook work with them (because of the limited pallete of green and sepia, hahaha)
Thanks for sharing with us!

Dawei said...

good to know what the techniq is. Thank you very much for sharing it

alex garcia said...

thanks so much for sharing your techniques with us! Your work is amazing, and very inspiring. Thanks again!

Joshua James said...

Eric Lies. It's all Photoshop.

bill said...

acrylic is the medium of the Gods. thanks Eric

Wounded by a Wandering Scent said...

Thanks so much for answering this. I just never though you could get such nice layering with the acrylics. Right now I use full bodied paints, but I'm going to experiment with some liquid acrylics.

Again, many thanks!

pixel pusher said...

The real question is how do you paint all the way to the papers edge and not have the paper ripple? When I've done it in the past is to staple it down. Do tell...