I posted some backgrounds I made on instagram and lindyv321 asked if I would do a tutorial for them.
I always drool over the mixed media pieces some artist just seem to whip out in a few minutes but none of my recreations ever looked as good. I know a part of creating is pure artistic talent but the majority of it is just practice. I just practiced different techniques I've learned from all over the internet and finally found something I can just whip out, too. None of the techniques I'm going to show you are original or new. These have been around for a while and is nothing I came up with myself!
I'm going to share with you the steps I take to make this background.
I gather my supplies. Here I have watercolor paper, acrylic paints (colors, black, and white),
pill bottles, sewing pattern transfer tool, tooth brush, punchinella, hole reinforcers,
Paintbrushes, water, towel, and some specialty/optional tool like gelatos, watercolors, spritzer,
brush tip marker and anything else you want to add layers with. I also use a heat gun to make
the process move a little faster.
I have my watercolor paper ready. I mark out a space i want to use to make my background
with and I taped it to my work space. This is just a step I use so that I can paint without having
to touch the paper while I'm working. Here I measured out 3in x 5in. Normally I do sizes that
fit the piece I want to work on. I just wanted a piece that wasn't too small and not too big.
Then I take some hole reinforcers and place them randomly on the paper.
I used two or three colors of acrylic paint to make a varied base coat. I personally like using blues
and greens more than warm colors because I just can't seem to blend the warm colors as well.
You can see in the picture the direction in which i painted and the variety of colors that I used. I use
the paintbrush to blend them together so there are no harsh edges. This is my preference but you
can keep it more contrasted or blend it as much as you would like. Then I take the lightest color to do
a kind of dry brush effect on it. i lightly run the paintbrush over the background to help make the hole
reinforcers pop and give it a more distressed look.
I use punchinella and a darker blue to create the next layer. I like the distressed look so I don't paint
the whole piece. Instead I went from corner to corner in a line, using less pressure as i move farther out.
This makes the paint look like it is fading out and not just a solid coat of paint. I also use the technique on
the opposite corners. I use the dry brush effect again with a lighter color for more distressed look. I don't
like solid lines and crisp colors, but if you like that you can skip the step.
I use a sewing pattern tracing wheel rolled in white paint to randomly add these dashed lines all over the
background. Then I dip come used pill bottles into black paint and place them on the paper. This is really
cool because It has a very non-perfect look, like a coffee cup ring. You can do these techniques as much
or as little as you like. Sometimes I used different sized pill bottles, and used different colors.
I use a toothbrush dipped in paint or a spritzer tool to add inky like splatter across the whole piece.
This is another technique I like because of the distressed look it creates.
Lastly I used gelatos to color in parts of the circles and draw lines along the edges. This step can
be created with watercolor paints or the excess paints left over from doing the base coat. I don't
worry about anything being perfect, as you can see the ink I used for the black spatters was not
waterproof and muddied up a bit.
So that's it! I really like these techniques because you can use them multiple times in a project,
only changing the color, size, shape, direction to build up the layers and really create a background
that has lots of depth and interesting bits!