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I'm studing acrylic and I use photo reference to practise with realism. My goal with acrylic is archive a good realism even if those last months I'm more interested in abstract painting and I'm using a palette knife to paint something fresh and apply that to my common way of paintings. Anyway on this journal I will focus on how paint in a traditional way with acrylics.
This is the photo on which I've based my study: Once Upon a Dream XVI
First of all I start with the pencil sketch. The illustration need to look very good from the pencil. Thinking "I will fix this with color" is a tricky thought and in the majority (90%) of the case won't turn right and the thing that doesn't look ok on the pencil sketch became a great mistake with colors, because with colors the tendecy is to emphatize the defects.
Side note: I've picked an old sketch (something I did in Jenuary of this year I think) but in my newest sketches I'm putting a lot of attention in volumes, drawing everything is ALWAYS helpful and in this case help us when we want to paint over that because we already know the volumes and the masses.
After that I transfer the study on the paper/canvas on which I want to paint over. I use a light table or I do the pouncing. After that I trace the lines like I'm drawing the figure again with a dark color like Navy Blue or Ultramarine Blue and I paint with the same colors the midtones with a wash of that color. Than after everything dried I paint with a wash of a base color, I'm using a Liquitex Heavy Body green gold. As a flesh wash base it's nice using a dark green or an ultramarine blue, it depends on the type of flesh, but I use a green gold for the majority of times.
Than I start with the background color and I paint the background, I cover everything and I keep the important things unpainted. Usually I add the first background light if they are background lights and not foreground ones, because on that way I can paint over them the more defined objects and I have already the lights painted.
Than I start putting the details of the background. From now on I use on the majority of the case the acrylics without much water, the right quantity of water they need, and this depends from the brand of the acrylics. It's something you need to discover while painting.
When I've done with the background it's time to take care of the figure and I leave for last the elements that are in the most foreground In my case there is a plant that cover my figure, that's why I decided to leave that as last element to paint.
After that it's a matter of details and patience. And this is the finished illustration:
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