Scum­bling & glaz­ing

Jeff Mira­cola uses glow­ing colours.

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Contents -

Over the past few years, I’ve up­loaded videos to my YouTube chan­nel fea­tur­ing my var­i­ous draw­ing and paint­ing tech­niques. These short videos have be­come so pop­u­lar that my sub­scribers have asked for a more in-depth look at my process. I an­swered by cre­at­ing a video which is the most com­pre­hen­sive look yet into my acrylic paint­ing tech­niques. The paint­ing I cre­ated for that video is the im­age you see in this work­shop.

My For­est An­gel paint­ing is the per­fect way to present my method of glaz­ing and scum­bling with paint to achieve both tex­ture and vi­brant colour that seem to glow on the can­vas. Early in my paint­ing ca­reer, I stum­bled upon the method of glaz­ing: that is, ap­ply­ing thin washes of paint over a base colour (usu­ally a lighter one) in or­der to change or en­hance that orig­i­nal base. I found that ap­ply­ing many glazes through­out the course of a paint­ing gave me won­der­fully rich colour un­equalled to that straight out of the tube. I also dis­cov­ered that scum­bling, that is, the method of dry-brush­ing a lighter, opaque colour over a darker one to lighten the orig­i­nal, was ex­tremely use­ful for cre­at­ing in­ter­est­ing tex­tures.

I do a great deal of prepa­ra­tion work be­fore I start paint­ing. Es­sen­tial parts of my pre-paint­ing process in­clude al­low­ing quiet re­flec­tion to think of ideas, cre­at­ing thumb­nail sketches, pho­tograph­ing ref­er­ence, ren­der­ing the fi­nal draw­ing, pre­par­ing the paint­ing sur­face, and trans­fer­ring the fi­nal im­age onto it. With­out those cru­cial early steps, my paint­ings could not be suc­cess­ful.

Just as crit­i­cal are my un­der­paint­ing and lo­cal colour stages, which lay the ground­work for a strong im­age. I of­ten call these early stages the “ugly” stages be­cause that’s when the paint­ing looks its worst. This is the time when many artists aban­don a paint­ing, never push­ing through to the fi­nal re­sult. I was guilty of this as a young artist un­til I learned to be per­sis­tent, to keep work­ing un­til the paint­ing re­sem­bled the im­age of my imag­i­na­tion. The way I was able to achieve that fi­nal re­sult was through glaz­ing and scum­bling, two paint­ing meth­ods which have be­come the foun­da­tion of my acrylic paint­ing process. I’m thrilled to share them with you here.

Jeff has been cre­at­ing fan­tasy art for over 22 years and has il­lus­trated for prop­er­ties such as Dun­geons & Dragons, World of War­craft, and Magic: the Gath­er­ing. He runs a YouTube chan­nel where he show­cases many art tech­niques. You can see more of his paint­ings at www.jeffmira­cola.com.

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