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CREEPY Mixed Media Skull Watercolor for Halloween with Karen Campbell (Hot Dog Style!)
Today's CREEPY skull watercolor project for Halloween was a special request from my students over at Awesome Art School! If you're not sure how to draw a skull, don't worry - I guide you through the skull drawing step by step. Then we'll bring it to life with one of my favorite art supplies that works JUST like watercolor - Noodler's Ink!
If you're curious how I paint with fountain pen ink, complete this project with so few art supplies, or if you're just in the mood for a spooky mixed media Halloween art project, hop over to YouTube because today's Halloween watercolor video is FOR YOU.
Before we continue, super quick announcement: All product links are Affiliate. I may earn a small commission if you choose to order through these links but by law there is never any additional cost to the consumer for doing so. I thank you for your support
I created today's tutorial project in my Strathmore Watercolor Journal. It's filled with cold press (textured), 140# paper. If you're new to art-ing with me - I LOVE using this watercolor journal for my mixed media work because the paper is so hearty. It can really take a beating from whatever layers and art supplies I want to throw at it, and has become one of my go-tos over the years.
If you're new to mixed media art, looking for mixed media examples, or clear instructions on how to layer your mixed media art supplies so you can make a masterpiece instead of a mess, look no further!
I've been teaching my 7-step "Hamburger System" for almost 2 years now and it's been a game changer for SO many students.
While the Hamburger System is my main mixed media layering process I use when creating full blown mixed media portraits (like the one above), sometimes I enjoy lightening up on the art supplies and layering.
I'm calling this condensed layering process "The Hot Dog System," and it's perfect for mixed media beginners!
There are just four simple layers in my Hot Dog System:
I've put together a ginormous 32-page PDF (you're welcome!), giving you examples of 4-art supply layer combos- HOT DOG STYLE- not just from me, but from TWENTY of my artsy friends to inspire you!
Click the button below to download this FREE 32-page stack of cheatsheets just filled with Hot Dog System inspiration!
A copy of today's skull drawing reference is included in the above cheatsheet packet, so be sure to click that button and get a copy so you can create along with me!
If you're not sure how to draw a skull, don't worry- I take the skull drawing step by step in this tutorial.
Drawing a skull is like drawing anything - we just break it down and take it shape by shape, starting from the top.
I saw a large circle at the top of the skull and basically decided to warm myself up by sketching a few light circles until I got the shape I wanted and saw in my reference image.
Once I got a bit further down the face of my skull drawing, I started cracking myself up, because my drawing looked like I'm actually drawing Darth Vader! LOL! I swear I'm NOT - he just looked this way before I started drawing the mouth.
When I sketched in the lower jaw and blocked off the area for the teeth, I was seriously reminded of the smiling Italian woman from my Whimsical Women of the World series on my drawing channel last year! She was another student request (how to draw a smiling mouth with teeth), that I created a lesson around just for my students (see below).
For me, drawing teeth is a laborious process (hence why MOST of my whimsical faces and mixed media portraits have closed mouths!).
In all seriousness though, I think the biggest mistake people make when drawing teeth is drawing them all straight, perfect and the SAME.
Check out how each tooth below has an individual, unique (and wonktastic) shape. It might look crazy - but I'm just drawing in the shapes I see in my reference photo.
As soon as the upper teeth were sketched in, I headed into that bottom row to knock them out so we could move on with the drawing and get to my favorite part - shading!
In today's tutorial, I shaded with one of my favorite mixed media art supplies - fountain pen inks. Most people use these for writing or even drawing, but I use them exactly like I do my watercolors, and PAINT with them!
If you're new to painting with fountain pen inks, check out this playlist. It's got your name all over it! If you love watercolor - this is definitely something you HAVE to try.
I layered a variety of ink shades (Hot Dog Layer #2: Noodler's Ink) carefully on top of the previous layer (once the previous layer was dry), and worked from light to dark to shade my drawing to look like the skull drawing reference image (Click here if you want to grab a download of the drawing reference and all my HOT DOG SYSTEM layering tips with inspo from 20 of my artsy friends!!).
When I was happy with my "watercoloring," I moved on to incorporate colored pencils to smooth my transitions and work in some highlights (Hot Dog Layer #3).
Once those were in a good place, I pulled the tape off my journal page and started doodling in my 4th layer with my pentel pocket brush (Hot Dog Layer #4), and...DONE!
I hope you enjoyed today's project and take some time to go through the helpful PDF I've put together for you!!
I think you'll love seeing the mixed media inspiration from not only me, but from TWENTY of my artsy friends who also enjoy creating mixed media art journal pages and canvases with fewer supplies!!
Thanks for hanging out with me today!
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Founder of Awesome Art School. Mixed Media Artist. Author of 18 Instructional Art Books!
"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!"
- Elizabeth W.
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Karen, you are absolutely fabulous! You make me feel like I can draw anything. I have recently retired and finally have the time to do some of the art that I have loved since I was in school. I am really at the beginning of my art journey and I hope to learn as much as I can. Thank you for all you do.