Painting Process: My First Acrylic on Canvas Artwork

Previously, I mostly worked on loose watercolor papers and in my sketchbooks, but I decided to step out of my comfort zone this year and even purchased a mini table standee for my relatively small 14″X10″ canvas.

Working on canvases scare me because I could very easily ruin the work. It’s not like paper where you could just crumple and throw away. Canvases have a habit of not being so easy to discard of, and seeing as I buy premade ones from the store – cost more. Thankfully though, acrylic is a very forgiving medium that allows one to cover up mistakes once it’s dry, with a thicker coat of paint.

Still, it could be very daunting especially if you’re so used to tinier sketchbooks and pieces of paper that you can easily hide or discard. 😱

Just thought that I would like to share my painting process and thoughts – this wouldn’t be a great post for seasoned artists. I am writing this for those who are just dipping their toes in the art world or taking the next steps forward in their work. You are not alone.

PHASE 1: BACKGROUND

I mostly worked on the background using my FW Acrylic Inks. I had to use very little each time, otherwise the paint would drip down the canvas. It is advisable to work on a flatter surface if you have better lighting (which I don’t, hence why it’s upright instead of flat). Here you can see my initial sketch and first layer of acrylic ink. The second photo shows the completed background after about 3 layers of acrylic ink applied over – wait for them to dry before adding layers. The issue was to avoid the canvas’s texture showing up as white/lighter.

PHASE 2: COLOR-BLOCKING & ADDING FUR 

I used acrylic paint for the jackalope. FYI, a jackalope is a mythical creature that resembles a hare with two horns on its head. The tail was just an exaggeration I added on.

For its body, I first covered it with a layer of pink undertone, sort of to give it a little reddish tint that matches its eyes and ears. It looked kinda raw and gross for a while, like an actual skinned rabbit. After that, I just meticulously cover the body with fur.

Painting fur can be very therapeutic, but it took a lot of time and patience. How I went about it was to first apply the darkest grey layer of fur over the pink body, slowly covering some of the pink. A second layer of medium grey is then added, overlapping over the dark grey – but shorter, so that the dark is still visible. The light grey goes over the medium.

After that, I just alternated between adding in more dark, grey and light randomly, so that the fur doesn’t look too proper and symmetrical. Here is where you got to play around and see what effects work best. I also alternated long and short fur strokes depending on the body part I was working on. (eg. Shorter for face, longer for body and tail.)

PHASE 3: ADDING HIGHLIGHTS

The last phase is the easiest. It’s merely adjusting for light and adding white highlights to the tips of the horns, white dots to the eyes and bits of whiter fur at the top of its body, legs and tail. You can see how I also made certain parts of the face and legs lighter than the other sections.

The finished artwork is ready to be hung on a wall and is available for purchase on my Etsy site. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed my painting process.

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