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Keeping original drawing alive when painting

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Hey all,

I am working on adding more illustrations of children to my portfolio. One thing I continue to struggle with is keeping the final painting true to the original drawing, especially with regards to my characters' facial features. I work in acrylic. If you do not work digitally, how to you maintain the facial features once you've started painting? Do you just draw the face again after you've painted skin tones, or use another media to add in the features (i.e. colored pencils), or something else? I find myself redoing the eyes, nose, and mouth many times, which then gives me texture problems as I repaint the area over and over again :-(.

Thanks!
Beth
#1 - August 20, 2015, 01:05 PM

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Hi Beth.

You're not the only one who struggles with keeping the original expression/features true to the originals. Have you tried diluting your acrylics more to the constancy of watercolors when rendering highly defined areas? It might help a bit. I work in graphite/watercolor/gouache/colored pencil. Truly mixed media. I've a friend who starts with graphite and color washes digitally, prints on watercolor paper and then paints details in, there are so many ways to work now. Without changing media, maybe diluting more between layers?

Hopefully someone who uses solely acrylics will chime in.
#2 - August 20, 2015, 05:39 PM
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I used to use liquid acrylics instead of tube acrylics, they are thin enough to see the pencil through while working. But I switched to watercolor years ago, and also often use ink and sometimes goauche or colored pencils as accents, so I'm afraid I'm not much help.
#3 - August 20, 2015, 10:31 PM
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Thanks! I'm going to try my luck with building up thin washes.
#4 - August 27, 2015, 12:05 PM

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Great advice! I've been having that same problem too...
#5 - August 31, 2015, 01:18 PM

Beth

I used to work in acrylics as well so I understand your pain all too well! This is what I used to do; I usually start out with thinner paints and build up slowly. And basically I would try to get as much paint on the surface as I can before losing all of my drawing underneath. But once I got to that point, I would essentially redraw the important parts that I still need (like faces and hands, etc.) with either regular lead or colored pencils. I generally used colored pencils because it was easier to blend in the colored pencils with the paint. So colors like sepia and other reds and browns work well for areas like a face. Once I've redrawn what I needed, I spray fixed the surface with crystal clear, clear matte, or any of those types of spray fixatives. Once you let that dry you can continue to paint and now you still have some of that drawing to refer to while you move onto refining smaller areas. And I would repeat this process until I got to a point where I didn't need the drawing anymore(don't think I ever needed to redraw more than once). Great thing about acrylics is how durable the medium is, you can pretty much draw right on top of it without much trouble. As long as you remember to spray fix the surface well to ensure you don't smudge all you lines once it makes contact with wet paint, you should be good to go.

Hope that helps!

Donald
#6 - September 14, 2015, 01:02 PM

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