Making of Wonder Woman Painting
I use Uni – Posca pens for the outline, which are markers filled with acrylic paint. I also use Liquitex markers and I buy empty markers so I can fill with specialty colors. These markers are handy in the beginning stages for marking out the painting. After everything is marked in, then I paint on top of the colors with Golden, Nova Color or Liquitex acrylics to ensure lightfastness. Even though I’ll cover the painting with a UV varnish, I don’t want to have a painting fade, later down the road.
Next I start laying in the shadow color, which in this case am using Golden’s iridescent Silver soft body paint. The underpainting is a neutral gray since iridescent paints require at least 2 coats. One coat just doesn’t do it, but 2 coats and with the gray beneath, will give you that shimmer.
Normally I’ll do the background first, but since I was having an issue with the proportions of her face, I wanted to get the face details in first. If I can’t get the eyes right, then I don’t waste my time. Then I’ll either gesso over it or most likely it will become an abstract down the road or a practice piece. I can always stretch a new piece of canvas onto the frame (stretcher bars). Having a roll of heavy gesso’ed canvas on backup comes in really handy for such cases.
Here you can see the colored Uni-Posca pens, plus some of my specialty soft body paints that I mix together to create custom colors. There’s 3 buckets of water on the right. I dilute the brush in the big bucket, the stainless steel container is for getting the paint out of the brush hairs and finally into a cut off gesso container with about an inch of water in it. This keeps the brushes wet till they get cleaned later.
You’ll notice I use stencils quite a bit, like the one on her hat, those are stars from another project. I’ll use the one to make a gold star on her hat. Then I’ll use those stars for the bottom of her outfit (against the blue) Next I cut the stencils on the Silhouette cutter. Sometimes I cut frisket by hand, but these words fit on an 8″ x 11″ sheet. So I rasterized the text in Photoshop (wish I had Adobe Illustrator) then skew and warp the text to my liking. The words are sized correctly in the silhouette Design program before sending to the cutter. Note the blue tape is for keeping the insides of the letters in place. For instance the bottom right on the word RESPECT, there’s tape on the R and tape on the P to keep the circles inside the letter in their approximate position – it also keeps you from losing them.
Laying on top of the painting is a board with the different color sprays on hand. It’s easy to spray on a board or paper, just to work out the color palette. The gold in her outfit is real gold and metal leaf combined. There’s yellow oxide, then iridescent gold paint and finally the gold and metal leaf. This just looks so cool in person. Between that and the silver shadows plus her swarovski crystal in the star of her pink hat, she has all kinds of sparkles!
Here the words are spray painted in. When I use the cutter I spray the stencils with glue, let it set-up for about 5 minutes so it becomes tacky. THEN paste the words or stencil where you want them and gently roll or burnish it into place. I found this works better on canvas that weighing it down or trying to tape it.
Finally when it’s about done – I like to leave it up on the easel so i can look for things I mighty have missed or add a few tweaks here and there. It’s important to remember that paintings aren’t perfect. If I want perfection I do a digital design in Photoshop or inkscape or a number of apps that allow you to quickly produce something. For me, working digitally is too much like my earlier career in graphic design. So I like getting my hands dirty and the simple pleasure of pushing paint around on the end of my brush, there’s just nothing like it! At the same time, I’m grateful for my design background because it allows me to use those skills on these paintings.
You can get this painting here
Check out this quick video that shows the details of the piece.
Have a great Weekend,