Saturday, December 6, 2008

Friday Tip

For this week's Friday Tip, I made a video of my process for getting the tobiano sabino markings started on Anthem. There is a normal speed bit at the beginning and again in the middle when I start adding cat tracks, but the rest is sped up. The whole process took just under an hour so take your time and look at your photos frequently, especially until you have a very good feel for a particular pattern. In this case, I used a couple of references and mostly freehanded the pattern, taking some general shape and location cues from my selected pictures. Always keep in mind that this is a basecoat - an idea for a pattern. You needn't stick to it if it doesn't work out!

To start, get the horse mostly painted. I used oils, so before painting the gesso on, Anthem got a thorough spraying of sealer. Basically, just start! Have no fear about putting paint on, because it can always be taken off. I like to design my patterns from the neck back, but you can start anywhere you feel most comfortable. I also like to start small from inside the pattern and let it grow in a way that best fits the horse. On tobianos especially, be careful to keep the pattern from becoming too geometric. You can think of tobianos as being white with very large (or not...) colored spots, but avoid the trap of making those spots too circular or even in shape and size. Think in a general round spotted pattern way, and let the back and forth motion of the brush loosen things up a bit for you. Don't spend a lot of time finessing this part because you'll be painting right back over it. Just get the general shape in. If a particular area will only have small markings, like the head, don't bother sketching them in at this stage. Not only will it be wasted work, but sometimes the basecoat can be more of a hindrance than a help!

On to the cat tracks or ink spots. Put a bit of rubbing alcohol in a dish, and using a small paint brush, gently rub out the gesso wherever you would like to have a dark spot. Make these spots bigger than they will ultimately be, because going back with the white later will encroach on them. You can even take out a large area of white like I did on the left shoulder if you decide you don't like it.

Next week, pinto pattern details!


Jennifer Kistler said...

Awesome! Thanks for sharing this video, it is great to get a chance to watch other artists work!

Mel Miller said...

Thanks Jennifer! Glad to see you starting your own blog too. I put it in my shortcuts! :-D

Bridget said...

Great! What type of brush are you using?

Finn and Xoie said...

wow you really make that look easy!
How do you avoid brush marks with the gesso? I always have trouble with massive brush strokes and ridges of paint when I use it. Maybe mine gesso is just too thick and needs watering down?

Mel Miller said...

Thanks guys! I'll address your specific questions in a new post so they don't get lost. :-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful tip, Mel! For acrylic paintjobs, do I need to seal the basecolor before applying the gesso? If so, what kind of sealer? I use basic Krylon Matte for most of my sealing.