Let's Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!!!
You are going to LOVE THIS 3 MINUTE mixed media canvas background technique!! It is by far THE FASTEST way to knock out a vibrant background for my mixed media portraits! I typically start with collage, but sometimes I'm in the mood for something a little different. Evidentally, today it was punk, and I'm LOVING how she turned out!!
To get started, select 3-4 spray paint colors you like together, a few stencils, and head outside with your canvas. Begin by adding a few shots of color here and there, in two different shades.
Then drop a stencil on top and use your third color of spray paint to start working in some fun patterns.
Cool, right?! There are SO many directions you can take a mixed media canvas background like this. I worked in some black with mine because I wanted it to feel edgy since I knew where the portrait for this piece was headed.
This background seriously took me ALL OF THREE MINUTES. That's it. I think that might be a record, even for me!!
Once my canvas was dry, I pulled out my GINORMOUS magnum sharpie back in the studio, and got to work on a side profile drawing prompt from an artist friend of mine, Jenny Manno.
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Just a word of caution... if you're not used to doing profile drawings, I definitely DON'T recommend using a sharpie!! Especially one this big!!
In all seriousness, if you're new to side profile drawing, it's NOT as hard as you think it is. You probably just need someone to break it down for you so it doesn't feel so overwhelming. Then you just need a little practice.
I have TONS of resources to help you with profiles! Feel free to check out this playlist on my YouTube Drawing channel for beginners. You'll learn how to do side profile drawing step by step in pencil.
You can also check out my book, How to Draw MORE Fun Fab Faces, over on Amazon. This is PERFECT for beginners who want to learn how to draw profiles step by step (even kids!!).
Once I finished my initial drawing, I got my gesso going inside the face and just around the outer edge of her face shape to knock the background back just a bit. Then I painted a thin layer of flesh colored craft paint on the face.
If you've been watching me for a while - you know I'm NOT super patient, LOL! Layering with gesso and acrylic paints really can take forever, and I don't usually have the patience for that.
Because I have the neeeeeed for speed, I developed this cool technique to add color to my mixed media portraits QUICKLY, using my gelatos by Faber Castell!
See the light pink in the face below, where it looks like blush has been applied to her cheek? That's from my gelatos! I blended it with my finger and it literally took me TWO seconds.
If you want to see this gelatos technique slowed down in REAL TIME, I just did a product demo with my Faber Castell Gelatos, so you definitely need to check that out!
If you haven't tried them before on your own, this is my favorite set. FYI, beware of the metallic version if you want to follow me with this technique, because sadly they don't work!
If you're watching this project unfold (and I HOPE you do!!), I actually struggled a little with the skin tone and decided I wanted a clean slate to work with, so pulled out my gesso and started again with my fun gelatos technique. In the pic above, you can see it's looking SO much better, so that ended up being a great move!
Keep that in mind- if something doesn't go quite right- there are a MILLION ways to fix something, so DON'T give up. Keep pushing through!! In the world of mixed media art, gesso is your friend in more ways than one!!
When I'm switching gears from mixed media painting to mixed media DRAWING... I seal my whole canvas with one of my favorite mixed media art supplies - mod podge! I buy this stuff by the gallon!!
When the mod podge has dried, my canvas is slippery and has been prepped beautifully for playing with pitt pens. I love using my pitt pens to help me when shading a face (mixed media style). I use them in a similar way to my gelatos. I layer some color and blend with my fingertip.
What's REALLY cool about working with pitt pens over mod podge, is you can ERASE things you don't like with a simple baby wipe! Amazing, right?!
The art supply layering system I'm using in today's project is something I lovingly refer to as my mixed media "Hamburger System." I compare layering my supplies to the way you layer toppings for the perfect burger!
I've actually got an entire FUN YouTube series of tutorials, cheatsheets, and even wrote a mixed media art BOOK about it!! Download the FREE, one-page cheatsheet that explains it all by clicking the button below.
I'll send it straight to your inbox so you can print it and keep it at your art table for reference to help you with your own mixed media layering.
When I'm using my hamburger system for layering and am happy with something I've done, I seal my work with another layer of mod podge to ensure it won't move, then hit it with my hair dryer so I can do a bit more doodling.
My last step is always grabbing a white sharpie or posca pen to add highlights throughout. I LOVE the drama this adds to my mixed media portraits.
I hope you enjoy watching this video!! I had a blast doing this project!!
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"Karen is flipping hilarious and she's very real...I like the way she teaches in a way that really gives you confidence, whether you're a beginner or advanced there's always something new to learn!"
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