Thursday, February 23, 2017

Charcoal Portraits

New pieces for my RPG character folder. All done with charcoal and chalk on A4 paper.
An Iktotchi jedi temple guard from Star Wars: Edge of the Empire.
A young Maraskanian pirate from the Dark Eye.
A stealthy assassin from the Dark Eye.
A world-class archer with a dark past from the Dark Eye.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Garbage to the Rescue

As a beginning or starving artist, you look at pro artists' studios and wish you had all that great stuff they do. It'll come. For now though, there's a lot of handy not-so-pretty things around the house that cost you next to nothing. Here's some of my helpful garbage.

Foto-frame glass plate.
Glass withstands any medium - no amount of tape, acrylics, glue, or whathaveyou can harm it - and it's easy to clean when wet. I use it as my work table surface. This sheet is from a 40×60cm frameless frame; those come with smoothed edges, so the risk of cutting oneself is low. Such thin glass breaks easily though, and should be handled with care. I often bump the corners, which can be fixed with small bits of tape.

Freezer bag.
As any painter I put generous amounts of paint on my palette, and don't want to waste it. So I stick the whole palette into a freezer bag and tape it shut. It can keep paints useable for several days (larger amounts for weeks even). Sometimes I spray water into the bag with the atomizer, to stretch that time.

Addition to freezer bags.
Paints may spill over their wells, or you use flat palettes, and pulling the bag over it can smudge the paints into each other. Use something to keep the bag up and away from the surface; I taped a strip of foamcore board to the side.

File covers.
I use this when I paint in sketchbooks. The paper will buckle several pages of the sketchbooks unless I put something water-resistant under the page I work on; I use file covers. This also makes sure I don't brush paint on the page block, ruining several pages and sticking them together. Added bonus: the frame on the current page makes any piece look professional when the tape comes off.

Old paint bucket.
A small left-over paint bucket. It's got a handle, it's sturdy, has a big opening for my long brushes to lean on, and a lid if I wanted to take it on trips. I recommend either rinsing it thoroughly while the wall paint is still wet; or letting it dry with the lid removed, and then hit the bucket to loosen the dried paint.

Food glasses.
Sorting brushes by type is a good idea, tall glasses hold long brushes effectively. Mine are from olives, sausages, cherries, and pickled gherkins. Paper labels usually come off in the dishwasher. I also use convention mugs (without handles - saves room) and drinking glasses.

Extra tools.
There are always things to apply paint with around. The toothbrush is an old companion for flicking paint and making textures. I like my sponge for large washes. Drinking straws act as makeshift pipettes (although real pipettes are ridiculously cheap); toothpicks or barbecue sticks help with stirring liquid paints or applying glue. Kitchen spatulas with toothy edges make great textures. Finally, seen at the bottom, if you collect cheap brushes like me, with the paint coming off their handles, covering it in tape fixes the problem quickly.

There's more cheap stuff that's useful to have, but listing it up quickly amounts to a huge list, so I'll rather make a second post about them. I hope you found these tips somewhat useful; if you have any questions or comments, I'll be happy to hear them, especially if you have cheap tips of your own!

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Friday, February 10, 2017

All good pirates...

...listen to their mothers.
This quote from Dola's sons in the Laputa film is a recurring joke in crime families throughout fiction, and it always makes me laugh. I wanted to paint a classic subject, and dared the extra twist of an old wrinkled lady, which isn't seen so often in current fantasy.
Acrylics on paper mounted to board, 40×30 cm. I'd like to get a good, heavy metallic frame for it, but I don't have the wall space to hang it up anyway.