martedì 30 aprile 2013

Painting panda eyes: a short tutorial

I have been asked to explain how I shade my creations. I took some pictures while doing the eye patches on my latest creation, a little panda bear.
I mostly use two mediums when I paint/shade my creations: pastels and oils.

Pastels & Oils
I have learned the techniques thanks to the generous sharing of some bear artists' experience. Then again, I have learned what works best for me, through trial and error.
This is what I do.
Step 1
With a very thin brush (number 0) I trace the eye contour. Here I use liquid fabric paint. I like to leave a little eye white. I try to be very careful and make symmetrical contours, so that the eye whites are the same in both eyes.

Step 2
I place pins around the ideal contour of my black patches. This will be very helpful as I want the two patches to be symmetrical, and to have a precise shape.

Step 3
I grind some black pastel.
I found out that the best method to obtain pastel powder is to use a very stiff brush and scratch the pastel sides with it from top to bottom. I did my own stiff brush taking a flat stiff brush and cutting its hair almost to the metal end. It works just fine.

Step 4
I prefer to use the pastel powder to paint the eye area that has been made with needle felting. The powder penetrates better into the wool crevices. So I start taking very small amounts of powder with the tip of my smallest brush, and gently apply it to the needle felted area, starting from the outer side of the black eye contour towards the furry areas.


Step 5
Now it is time to use the oils. I use a slightly thicker and stiff brush. I take a very tiny amount of oil paint with the tip of my brush, wipe it several times on a piece of toilet paper. When the brush leaves a very faint trace on the paper, it is ready to do the fur shading.
Before going on the outer edges of my patches, I paint with the oils over the inner area that I have already done with pastels. This is because I want an even patch, and pastels are a different texture from oils. I need them to go deep in the needle felting, but the outer surface will be oil shaded as well.
I shade the patches starting from the eye rim towards the outer edge of my patch, following the fur direction.

Step 6
I remove the pins, and do the final touches. Here I need to see if the symmetry is fine.


And these are pictures of my extreme makeover....before, and after!
Before...

...and after!





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