Part 2: Creating a Critter from My Mind

Using oils to paint a smoothly-blended, multi-colored background is relatively easy because of their lengthy drying time. On the down side, additional layers can’t be added to the background for a few days. Conversely, acrylics dry within minutes and therefore entail a different painting approach.

Thin layers of acrylic paint can be added over one another as soon as the paint dries (15-30 minutes). You can even “erase” (paint over) mistakes and sections you don’t like.

If you want to slow down the drying process, mix a little “retarder” (manufactured by Golden) into each paint color. However, make sure you thoroughly mix the retarder into the paint or you’ll end up with lumps (paint that didn’t get any thinner).

By working the background with layers of thinned paint, I can simply play with values and colors. The background colors are similar to those I plan to use for the emu’s fur/feathers (yellows and browns).  I begin with a few thin base coats to establish preliminary values and colors (which will no doubt change as I work).

My chosen light source is from the upper frontal right. I plan to paint the background’s darker values behind the emu’s lightest values (on the upper right and right side). Conversely, the lighter values need to be behind the darkest values (on the lower left and left side).

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About Brenda Hoddinott
Award-winning artist and author; illustrator, art educator, curriculum designer, co-owner of Drawspace.com, owner of Drawspace Publishing, and retired forensic artist Brenda has developed art curricula and taught multidisciplinary arts since 1980. During her 25-year career as a forensic artist, Brenda worked with diverse criminal investigative agencies including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Department of National Defense, private investigative agencies, and municipal police departments. Brenda and her partner John live in the suburbs of Halifax, Nova Scotia with their two SPCA rescue dogs: Timber the Huskador and Katie the Pitweiler. Their blended human family includes five adult children and two grandchildren. Books by Brenda Hoddinott include: 2012: Introduction to Contour Lines (Drawspace Publishing) 2012: Introduction to Drawing (Drawspace Publishing) 2011: Illustrated Dictionary of Art-Related Terms (Drawspace Publishing) 2010: Getting Started with Drawing (Drawspace Publishing) 2004: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Drawing People Illustrated (Alpha Books) 2003: Drawing for Dummies (Wiley Publishing, Inc.)

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