Let's Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!!!
Don't ya just love a funky watercolor portrait with attitude?! Today I'm trying a new-to-me mixed media technique using FOUR simple supplies: Noodler's ink, watercolor and colored pencils with a layer of wax pastels on top!
If you've never tried Caran D'Ache Neocolor Is (basically wax crayons for artists), grab a set to create along with me, and I'll talk you through the project step by step.
Or, sit back and relax as I create this "Hot Dog Style" project in my mixed media sketchbook in real time.
I've been teaching my signature mixed media technique for layering, "The Hamburger System," for almost 2 years now, and it's been a game changer for SO many students!
Sometimes, mixed media beginners can feel a bit overwhelmed by all the new supplies. I recently created a condensed approach using just 4 supplies, called the "Hot Dog System."
I also made a ginormous 32-page PDF (you're welcome!) to go with it, 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 mixed media "Hot Dog System" inspiration!
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.
Today I'm doing a mixed media project in the style presented by my friend Tara, on page two of my hot dog packet. The four supplies she's using are watercolor and colored pencils, Noodler's Ink, and what is basically a fine art crayon, made by Caran D'Ache. I didn't even have those, so needed to take a quick field trip to my FAVORITE art supply store in town - Jerry's Artarama!
After a quick Jerry's stop, I gathered the rest of my supplies for today's project. Then I did a little Pinterest search through my face drawing references.
If you're new to my world, you may not know that I have a fascination with digital art. I use digital portraits and characters all the time as faces for drawing reference to inspire my own work. These images are perfect to guide you where you need to add shading, especially if you don't know how to shade faces yet.
I also love to challenge myself to recreate digital faces using traditional materials. Take a look at this guy!
I love his deep eyes and dramatic facial features. They're kinda magnificent - like they've been sculpted out of clay or something.
Since the purpose of today's project is to try a new combination of 4 art supplies, I'm not gonna bother with making my drawing perfect. I'm just blocking in what I see from my reference photo with my mechanical pencil . If you don't have one, these are my favorites!
Since the watercolor is my base layer, I'm going to keep it fairly simple, so we can add depth later with our colored pencils and wax crayons.
A lot of my students ask me about my favorite paint brushes. Right now I'm seriously in love with the ones by artist, Polina Bright (shown above). They take a while to ship because they're from Australia, but they are SO worth it!
Polina made a coupon code JUST FOR MY FOLLOWERS, so you can save 10% off your order. Simply enter my name in all caps (KARENCAMPBELL) at checkout on her website. To see how her watercolor brushes compare to two of my other favorite brands, check out this video.
As far as skin tone watercolor shades go, I tend to be kinda lazy about mixing colors to come up with my own color. I prefer to use shades someone else created, right outta the box or tube because it's faster!
For a couple of years, the Complexion Watercolor Set by Prima has been my go to. It's got some beautiful light, medium and dark skin tones you can play with straight from the palette (or mix if that's fun for you). If you'd like to learn more about it,I did a video on this skin tone watercolor set not too long ago that will answer ALL your questions :)
I don't often draw guys, but sometimes I just love to do something a little different. If you're interested in learning how to draw a male face for beginners, I published a book a couple of years ago called How to Draw Fun, Fab Fellas.
After I get the face shading done for today's dude, it's time to move on to his hair. Cobalt blue violet by Daniel Smith was calling my name. If you're new to watercolor, or thinking about starting a Daniel Smith watercolor collection, be sure to watch this video.
Typically I would shade the larger areas first, and finish off with colored pencil for detail because I tend to work biggest to smallest, but Tara has suggested doing the opposite, so I'm giving that a shot. Out come my prismacolors!
It cracks me up that he looks SO MAD. LOL!
Look at how the colored pencils are really bringing out the texture of my cold pressed watercolor paper. Beautiful! I love that effect.
After the colored pencil layer, it was time for the Caran D'Ache Neocolor Ones to come out and play. These really felt like working with crayons from childhood, except that they're a high quality fine art product. I kinda loved them! The white was super opaque too, which really made me happy. I'd love to play with them on hot pressed paper too because I wonder how they would look over a smooth surface without texture.
Whenever I need a super bold, amazing background, I pull out my Noodler's fountain pen ink. It's seriously juicy and so vibrant. This color is called Bad Green Gator. I think it's a perfect backdrop for his crazy hair, don't you?
And as all my students know, the way that I love to finish, 99% of my projects is with my pentel pocket brush. It's perfect for outlining and detail work. It's also amazing for drawing eyelashes on my female mixed media portraits!
I hope you enjoyed today's project and learned something new!
Not familiar with my "Hamburger System"? It's a simple order of operations for collage, acrylic paint, mod podge and ALL my favorite mixed media art supplies. I'm sure you'll love it!
Check out my Hamburger System playlist for FREE on YouTube to see the entire process step by step, in action. Here's the FREE cheatsheet to go along with it!
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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.