Welcome back to another day in the Paint with Me series! Catch up here on Step One: Gather Inspiration. Today, we'll cover planning, stencils, and supplies.
Once you have a good idea of what you are going to paint, start sketching your ideas out on scrap paper. Sketching them out allows you to see the layout and and play with the proportions. For my most recent painting, I drew several different configurations until I landed on one that looked right. Here are some of my doodles.
If possible, hold your canvas up to the spot on the wall where you will hang it. This will help you figure out if you want it vertical or horizontal. I originally wanted the space shuttle painting to be vertical, but when I held my canvas up above Little Man's bed, I quickly realized that it looked better horizontal and was able to reconfigure my sketches to make it horizontal.
After I figured out how I wanted my painting to look, I brought out my canvas to figure out how big I wanted everything. A trick I've figured out that has really helped me is to create a stencil for larger shapes. I use scrap paper/poster board/wrapping paper to draw the shape out on, then cut it out. I like this method because on scrap paper, I can erase and try again as many times as I need to. On the canvas, you can't erase well without messing up the paint, even if the paint is completely dried.
If you aren't great at free handing, search Google Images for a picture of what you are looking to paint. Blow it up on your computer, hold a piece of paper up to your screen, and trace that bad boy! :) If you need a larger stencil, you can have the image printed at an office or shipping store for cheap and then cut it out. Whatever works! This method also works great for lettering! Just type out your words in your desired font, print them, then cut them out!
If you want to get really sophisticated, pick up a package of tracing paper at Michael's! I never seem to have any on hand, but it is super easy to use! All you have to do is lay it on the canvas (the package will tell you which side to put down) then lay your shape or letter print out on top of the tracing paper and trace the outline, pressing firmly. It will leave a nice outline for you on your canvas!
You're almost ready to paint! Ready to gather your supplies? Here's what you'll need:
Canvas- I really like the wrapped canvases with no staples on the exposed sides because it gives me the freedom to skip framing my painting. If you plan on framing your painting, any type of canvas will work. I usually wait for a sale or use a coupon to make them very reasonably priced. I found this large canvas for $5!
Paints- If you are a beginner/craft level painter, I recommend starting with inexpensive craft acrylic paints because you don't have to mess with mixing colors. There is an entire aisle of them at Michael's in every color of the rainbow and typically vary in price from .59-$1.29 per bottle. Do a mental walkthrough of the colors you will need, referencing your sketch and any Google Images you find helpful. While you are shopping, make sure to hold the bottles of paint next to each other to make sure the shades look good together. Always pick up a bottle of white, just in case you need to lighten a color!
Brushes- Get good brushes! Brushes are not a good place to skimp and be cheap. Look for the artist brushes in the professional painting aisle. I bought the inexpensive professional brushes. It's been several years now, but I think they ran about $2-$5 a piece. If you are holding a Crayola paint brush from your child's watercolor set, but that thing down right now. Ha! ;) It will not give you desirable results. Trust me!
Grab a good large brush, a rounded medium brush, a liner brush (a must!), and a smaller brush or two for details. These are a few of my favorite brushes that I use for most of the paintings I do. If you have zero brushes and are not sure what to choose, these would be a great place to start!
Ok, that was a lot of information! In my next and final beginner Paint with Me post, I'll show you some tips and techniques to help you get started! I'm thinking video blog post... maybe. Chickening out? Probably. Which format would you like best? Video or typical blog post with pictures?