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.

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