Anybody else feel like they’re walking a tightrope above gator-infested waters? Yes, it feels like that a lot of the time recently. That’s what made me think of this stretching portrait from the Haunted Mansion. It also provided the perfect opportunity to try a new acrylic Painting technique that uses Stabilo pencils to provide a pencil sketch base for the rest of the painting.
However, this post isn’t just going to be about Disney fan art. Although I use key elements from the piece, I also added my own flair and style to the piece so that the painting is an expression of my creativity, rather than just a carbon copy of the Haunted Mansion portrait.
Starting a Painting with Stabilo Pencils
When I’ve previously started new paintings, I always find it helpful to have an initial pencil sketch. However, I’ve found that the pencil lead gets into the acrylic painting and creates a muddy, grey effect. To keep acrylic paint colors crisp, I looked for a different way to start my paintings.
Many artists start their paintings by adding their foundational shapes with a dark paint, like brown or grey. However, I’ve found that painting is usually too loose to get the base of my painting right. I also find it hard to get shapes correct the first time, so erasing was necessary to my process. That’s when I discovered the Stabilo pencils and gesso method.
To begin, I sketched my entire painting’s foundational shapes with Stabilo pencils. It felt like sketching, I was able to get fine lines, and I was able to erase any mistakes by scrubbing them out with a wet brush. I really feel like this helped me get the shapes right before beginning the painting process.
Stabilo pencils are water-soluble, so you can’t paint directly onto them without smearing the colors and picking up the pigments of the pencil into your acrylic paint. To prevent this, you just paint clear gesso over the top of the Stabilo pencil lines to smooth them out and seal them in for the next layers.
For this painting, I had enough colors that I could draw in the particular colors of the painting, but that isn’t really necessary. As long as you are locking in the design with gesso, you can use a solid color to provide your initial sketch. Stabilo pencils are an amazing tool, but they are on the expensive side, so starting with just one color is a great way to see if you actually like the technique before investing in all the colors of the rainbow.
Once you’ve locked in the design with clear gesso, you can begin painting on your layers just as you normally would.
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- Basic black Stabilo pencil
- 10-color set of Stabilo pencils
- Liquitex clear gesso
The post An Homage to the Haunted Mansion: A New Technique in Acrylic Painting appeared first on Sarah Donawerth.