Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Twinkling Tutorial

I want to start by saying thank you so very much to everyone who took the time to vote for Dion Dior & More in the recent Blog Guidebook's Top Blog of 2011. I was thrilled to be nominated and completely amazed to have made it through to the final five.  Voting closed last night and I am happy to say I came in third.  There were some wonderful blogs in the running and two very deserving and entertaining blogs made it into the final two.  Good luck to both of them in the final dash for Top Blog of 2011.
Yesterday, the classes were announced for the upcoming 21 Secrets workshops hosted by Dirty Footprints Studio.  I am teaching along with 20 incredible and extremely talented artists. I can now tell you that my portion of this amazing program is called "Wisdom Circles" and will be about making deeply personal and very beautiful mandalas in our journals.  Click on the link in the right side bar, or on the image above to learn more about the 21 different workshops and the 21 incredible artists.  Don't forget it's a year long program and you get ALL 21 classes for only $59. Registration opens on January 2nd.  I'll be giving you a sneak peek into my 21 Secrets offering in the next few days.

I've been crazy busy trying to finish off my workshops for the upcoming winter program for Joggles.com.  I'll be offering two classes, "Mastering Twinks" & "Watercolor Pencil Workshop".  Both go on sale next week through joggles.com.  In the meantime, here is a taste of what to expect in the "Mastering Twinks" class.  This tutorial shows you a little about getting to know LuminArte's Twinkling H2O's.  I'm playing with the December theme for The Sketchbook Challenge "Trashes, Ruined, Decay" and taking my inspiration from nature, I thought I'd hang onto Autumn for just a few more weeks with this decaying autumn leaf. 

In this tutorial you'll see that the depth of pigment and the mix of mica in Twinkling H2O's is so rich that you don't need a huge palette of colors to create spectacular results.  Twinks mix beautifully, but as I've said before, mixing is not always necessary with these stunning paints, there are so many colors to choose from that you'll be sure to get the shade you need in stock. For this page, I used only 4 colors; Sunflower, Indian Copper, Olive Vine, and Chestnut Brown.

Start by sketching the leaf in pencil.  To get the proportions, I began by drawing a rough circle as a guide to capturing the points of the leaf.  Keep the sketch light and avoid putting in any unnecessary detail. Once you lay down the first wash you can erase the circle.

Wake up your Twinks by spritzing them with water and letting them soften for a few minutes. Then using "Sunflower" with lots of water, lightly wash the leaf using a wet on wet technique. That is, wet the area of the leaf with lots of water, then using more water than paint on your brush, wash the leaf with a soft covering of paint. Watch as the mica dances around the page and settles into the water.  Use a paper towel to dab off any excess water.  Let it dry either naturally, or using a heat gun before adding the next layer. 

Apply a second layer of Sunflower yellow using more paint and less water.  Brush a darker wash into what will become the spines of the leaf.  As you layer the paint it becomes darker and more intense so go easy to begin with.  Using Indian Copper, wash the edges of the leaf, letting it mix with the sunflower.  Don't be afraid to let the mica's blend together, this will create a wonderful dimension to your finished leaf.  Go over the contours of the leaf with another layer of Indian Copper, and add a little bit of olive vine into the mix.

Now darken the lines and stem with a mix of indian copper and chestnut brown.  Don't use too much of the dark brown at this stage or you'll muddy the leaf.  Remember the golden rule of layering: you can always darken, but it's very difficult to lighten. Experiment with the wetness of your surface, when you're looking to add shading and depth, use wet on wet, or keep the paint brush wet.  As you start to add detail, let the surface dry between layers and use a dryer brush.

Once you're happy with the color and shade, take a sea sponge, a kitchen sponge or a scrunched up paper towel.  Make sure your paint pots are very wet, keeping them spritzed with water throughout the process.  Now dip your sponge into the very wet and sticky "Chestnut Brown" and dab it onto your leaf in the areas where decay is occurring.  Clean off the sponge and repeat this using "Olive Vine".  Play around with the dabbing, experimenting on a scrap piece of paper.  As you alter the wetness of the paint pot and the surface, your effects will be different. 

To finish it off, take a fine point achival quality marker such as a Pigma Mircon.  Very lightly define the edges of the leaf and use it to add definition to the decay and countours.  As you do this, particularly around the dabbed areas, you'll see these shades start to become more defined, and the contrast between the flat black of the pen and the shimmer of the Twinks underneath will add real "pop" to your subject. Keep working the pen lines until you are happy with the final result, and remember, sometimes less is more, but then sometimes less is just less. You be the judge.

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial. It's a peek into my upcoming "Mastering Twinks" workshop.  If you give this a try, I'd love to see your results, so be sure to leave a comment with a link back to your flickr picture or blog.

Thanks for checking in. xx