Thursday, June 23, 2011

Painting with Paint Pens: Outlines & Highlights

I've posted a couple lessons on blending, at this point our painting has some cool looking colors, but no definition and it doesn't "pop" With a little help from black and white Postermans that's about to change.
Colors done, now for the outlines!

I first trace everything I want outlined with a fine point Posterman Pen. At this point there's a little more definition but all the lines are the same width so there's no depth or "umph"

A tip on outlining, especially for large curves: I use alot more more elbow and shoulder motion than wrist motion to keep smooth lines.

Next I go back with my fine tip, a medium tip, and a chisel tip to add thicker lines and varying widths.
In this detail shot I  added some hatching in the direction the wave is flowing to add depth and movement...

... then went back to thicken the line and clean it up.

I continue to add thickness and various line widths this helps add depth.
Notice how the waves seems to stand out from the background with the thicker lines.

Next, I reach for the extra fine black marker and and clean up the ends of my lines and add details/shading.

Finally, I go back with a fine and extra fine white marker to add highlights and detail work.
Take your time on the outlines and highlights, its what really brings everything together. Often in my paintings I'll want to abandon it halfway through because its not looking how i envisioned it, but I persevere and once I add the outlines/ details I am always happy with the outcome.

My only other tip with the detailing is you have to find a balance with making the painting look awesome and overdoing it. Its easy to keep adding little lines here and there, I could probably do it all day, but at some point I have to step back, throw up my hands and say, that's it... its done! For me I have a rule, once I add my signature its done, no more tweaks or touch ups.

Hope this has been an enlightening look into my process and helped with some paint pens tips, now get to painting!

"Laissez les bons temps rouler!"

Monday, June 6, 2011

Painting with Paint Pens: Color Blending pt 2

A couple weeks back I demonstrated some blending techniques using a Red - Orange - Yellow - White blend.
Here is another blending example on the same painting using cool colors.

When painting with paint markers I always try to work from light to dark, since light colors can be covered up easier.
For the waves I  use Posterman's Light and Dark Blue, Purple, Green, and White.

Start with a little Purple in the darkest areas.

...and blend with Dark Blue.

Add Light blue just outside the Dark Blue.

...and blend.

for large areas like this if you need a stopping point, bu sure it is where you have blended back to the origonal marker color, its hard to match shades.
Coming now from the shoreline on the right to the blend I have already done on the left.
I start with the purple.

Next I do a line of Dark Blue right next to the purple.

...and Blend
A section of light blue just outside of the dark blue.
...and (you guessed it) blend!

Blending light blue to white makes sweet highlights.
Green makes a great addition to water as well, here I blended Light Blue to Green, back to Light Blue.
Using 5 colors you can create all sorts of cool blends and shades.

 Next step adding highlights and lowlights, this is what brings it all together, add definition, and mack this painting sick!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Painting with Paint Pens: Color Blending

 When people see my art for the first time I often hear questions like "how do you get such clean lines?" and "what kind of paint do you use?" I always receive a look of disbelief when I respond that I use paint pens, while some larger paintings are mixed media, many of my paintings and all of my skateboard and vinyl paintings are 100% paint pen. While I am not the first artist to use paint pens as their medium, I am happy to pass along tips and tricks to other artists wishing to try their hand at paint pens.

I use Zig Posterman Pens from Kuretake, they come in a variety colors and tip sizes and they blend really well! A great surface to start with is gesso board, they super light and portable, they come in a variety of sizes and there's no prep needed, just unwrap and you're ready to paint.

Here's a step by step look at the latest painting I'm working on:

I start of with a light, rough sketch. Very little detail just the basics.
This will be a sun just above the horizon as seen through the curl of a wave.

I'll start out with lighter sections of the painting, as its easier to cover up the light sections than the dark if I need to.
For the sunbeams I', going to blend from Red to Orange to Yellow to White.

Using Posterman Medium tip Pins I add a section of Red and a section of Orange.

I then use the Orange pen to pull out the red and blend the colors.
The trick to paint pens is you have to work fast as they dry quickly.

Next I add some Yellow.

Then I use the Yellow to pull out the Orange and blend the colors.
If you need you can go back with the Orange to adjust you blend.

For the next section of the blend I start with the White at the edge of the yellow and work outwards to get a gradual fade to white. For this I used a chisel tip Posteman, but a medium tip would work here as well.

I wet back with a fine tip red to the add a narrower end.
There you have your basic blend: Red to Orange to Yellow to White.
Working in small sections to prevent the paint from drying before I can blend it I add two more sunbeams.
For the alternate beams I will work backward with the same color blend, just starting with the red at the large end.

Near the horizon I add a thin line of purple with my chisel tip marker.

Just above that a thin line of red.
Then using short stroked I use the red to blend the two.
Wipe off any access purple still on the marker tip (I use the back of my left hand) and add to the red area.

Again, same technique, working my blend from dark to light. I add a section of Orange...

...and blend.

A little Yellow...

... and blend.

and finishing it off with the chisel White, I also used a fine point to get into the smaller spaces.

I don't worry about getting the lines between perfect, I will go back later and do my outline work.
Right now I'm just laying out the color

The finished sub beams and my arm, I  use it to clean the tips of my markers and to make sure the pint is flowing.
BIG TIP: NEVER press down  the tip of your paint pen to get more paint on the painting, you can't control how quickly it will flow, so have a scrap piece of wood or other material, or use your arm like me.
And the color for the sky is complete. I will lay out all of the color in the painting before I do any outline/detail work. That's the basics of blending, pretty simple. The paint pens do most of the work for you. This was a four and five color blend, but depending on the effect you want you could use a simpler or more complex blend.

Next up I'll start painting the waves using light and dark blue green and purple.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Well the show is now underway! If your not within driving distance of The Brink Gallery  in Missoula, MT you can still check out all the great decks and get in on the bidding action at :

Its a chance to score some sweet skate art and help a good cause at the same time!

Monday, April 4, 2011

ON DECK VI pt 5: The Final Days

The MSA is hosting their 6th annual ON DECK skate art auction on May 21 at The Brink Gallery in Missoula, MT. My piece for this years show is shipped out, here are some of the final details that brought the deck to life:
Once the major outlines are done I go back and make some of the lines thicker to add depth, and I use an extra fine black sharpie paint pen to add details, and extra fine white sharpie paint pen for highlights.

The "suckers" were left uncolored, just the original wood showing through.

Its all about the details!

Finally I clear coated the deck with a high gloss lacquer. It was the first time I've used this for clear coat, usually I use Krylon Crystal Clear or the Valspar equivalent. I tested the lacquer on a smaller piece first. It did cause the paint to have a crackled effect in a few places, but it looks really cool on the tentacles, and the shine is sweet!

adding fishing line for hanging as well as a label and my card.

and she is packed up and on her way back to MT! This deck was a lot of fun and I hate to see her go, but I'm sure through the ON DECK auction she'll find a good home!
All the decks will be on display mid-April on stop back in and check out Skate Board art from across the country. I know I can't wait to see them all, and if you find one you like make a bid, it goes to a great cause!