Part 9: Creating a Critter from My Mind

Hawk was just way too dark and scary (lower image below), so I lightened both her eyes and eyelids (upper image ). I also tried a muted orange color on her lower eyelids, which seems to suit her beautifully.

BUT! Now, the color of her beak looks totally wrong. The following short lesson in color theory explains the problem:

  1. Alizarin Crimson (a red) contains a wee bit of blue and was used to mix the beak colors (when mixed together, red and blue create purple).
  2. Most of her fur/feather colors are mixed with yellow. Yellow and purple are complementary colors and when placed beside one another, both appear brighter.
  3. The beak now looks a yucky purple/pink and sticks out like a sore thumb (pun intended). The beak’s shadow sections demonstrate the “purple problem”.

Thankfully, painting with acrylics is like putting on makeup – super fast and easy to change.

I have authored several lessons on painting. These two are FREE until Sept 12, 2017:

Painting Supplies for Beginners: Selecting painting surfaces, brushes, soap, palette knives, palettes, and paints

https://www.drawspace.com/lessons/1431/overview/painting-supplies-for-beginners

Color Theory for Beginners: Introduction to the fundamentals of color theory for painters.

https://www.drawspace.com/lessons/1438/overview/color-theory-for-beginners

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Part 4: Creating a Critter from My Mind

Where are all the emus with green eyes? Maybe they live on another planet. But – as an artist, I can bring a green-eyed emu to life on my canvas!

Eyes are surprisingly easy to paint (and draw). Simply add the three basic ingredients (pupil, iris, and highlight) to a roundish shape. The upper image shows a base coat that provides a blueprint for painting (ignore the lighter color painted on the wrong side of the iris). The second layer of paint fixes my mistake and almost covers the white of the canvas. The lower image is closer to a believable eye. The “dots” in the iris are painted with a fun technique called stippling and a range of different yellow and green hues.

When working with layers of acrylic paint, make sure the mixed paint is thin. Painting fine details over top of dried lumps of paint is not fun! Thankfully, a light sanding with a small piece of fine sandpaper flattens the lumps and prepares the section for more paint.

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