Most people think that I work with watercolors, but truth be told, I’m personally not a huge fan of them. I find that acrylics offer me more options when I work from my super loose washes, to really deep, thick layered color when I want more coverage. I also don’t have to worry that I’ll disturb what I’ve already painted. I like acrylics also because they are insoluble once they’re dry & that equals awesome.
Here is the process I work exemplified with one of my recent illustrations as an example.
The following photo displays everything I use on a daily basis: Golden, Windsor & Newton & Liquitex acrylics, black Higgins ink, a pile of brushes, scrap paper, paper towels & a water bottle for keeping paint moist all day.
The first outline washes are mostly water, with just a tiny drop of well-blended acrylic included. I use a larger (size 8) brush for mixing this, I want to make sure the color wash is uniform & there are no stray bits of unmixed acrylic in there, they can make unwanted streaks on your paper. With each layer of paint, I’ll add more color to the wash so that it becomes thicker and I can control where I want details to emerge.
I don’t use any specific techniques or acrylic mixing mediums - for me, it’s more instinctual - the simpler, the better. I just start painting transparent layers of color & shape on top of one another until I get my desired effect.
You can see in the photos of the illustration how the layers of color become one to create the final piece. There’s actually some texture from the metallic paint that creates a detailed look in real life, as well as the scanned art.
As you can see in the example photos the gradation of color can be anywhere from transparent to really opaque with a lot of texture. I rarely work acrylics “straight out of the tube” since I enjoy a more subtle effect. But if you want that coverage, it’s certainly easy to achieve.
I love that acrylics because they are so smooth & buttery to use and because they deliver amazing color and dry wonderfully vibrant & permanent.
Give acrylics a try! Happy Painting!
Guest Post & Photos by Fashion Illustrator Jennifer Lilya
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