How To Create A Grungey, Mixed-Media Alice In Wonderland Canvas
This is one of 4 tutorials + papers that were written + designed by me in October 2009 (for Somerset Studio Magazine's Mar/Apr 2010 Issue celebrating Alice in Wonderland). In the end, only 2 of the 4 were used. I decided to share the others with you here. These sat as drafts for (gulp) 6 years on my old blog, I have finally decided to publish + share them - and despite my better judgement, not edit them.
This is a piece I would rework a bit, given the chance. That being said, true creative value lies in the process not the product - so I opted to share this for just that reason.
My mantra over the the last month has been "Sometimes, done is better than perfect", this is certainly an exercise in exactly that :) Plus, it's amazing to see how much my work has changed since I did these!
The other tutorial + printable artwork can be found here.
“I wonder if I've been changed in the night. Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is 'Who in the world am I?' Ah, that's the great puzzle!” - Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Psssst! If you aren't interested in creating a painting yourself, scroll down to the end where you can download + print a copy of my original!
As with any tutorial - there is no right or wrong way to create your painting. Follow my steps exactly, or ditch half of them... it is truly up to you. By sharing my processes, I hope that people get an insight into how I create, the layers I use and how it all comes together - you will find your own way as you practice along. That, just tickles me!
You Will Need:
- 8x10 Canvas Panel
- Glazing Medium (Satin Finish)
- Acrylic Paint ( Sky Blue )
- Black Permanent Ink Pad
- Assortment of stencils & stamps with the number one and the ‘&’ symbol
- Patterned stamps
- White Gesso
- Tim Holtz® Distress Crackle Paint (Broken China)
- Heat Gun
- Gel Medium
- Black Gel Pen
- Soft Pencil
- Baby Wipes
- Printed Quotation or Old Text
- Scrap piece of paper or canvas
- Laser Printed, or Xerox copy image of Alice
- Winsor & Newton Colored Drawing Ink (Cobalt)
- Workable Fixatif
Let's Make Art! - Part 1
1) Using the black permanent ink pad, stamp the number one and the & symbol over the entire canvas. You want the majority of the canvas to be covered so some will poke through later.
2) Mix a dab of sky blue paint with some glazing medium and brush over the entire canvas. While the paint is still wet, brayer the canvas to a scrap sheet of watercolor paper or another canvas to lift some of the paint. Use a heat gun to speed up drying time.
3) Brush on the crackle paint randomly over the canvas. Allow some parts to be thick, and some to be thin, once it begins cracking you can speed up the drying time by using a heat gun.
4) Stencil on the number one with white gesso in a variety of places on the canvas. Now use a thin paintbrush to write the & symbol on other parts of your canvas with the gesso and allow to dry.
Let's Make Art! - Part 2
5) Make a gel transfer of Alice by brushinga generous amount of gel medium over the image. Place it face down on the canvas and use a credit card to burnish it. Wait for a few minutes, then slowly peel off the paper, if ink hasn’t transferred burnish it back down and wait a few more minutes. You don’t want a perfect copy of the image; the more imperfect, the better.
6) Use charcoal to fill in the spots that didn’t transfer, change up the image a bit to make it your own. After all, there are no rules here. Be sure to work the charcoal into the canvas by pressing hard; use a dab of glazing medium on your finger to seal & smudge it. A baby wipe will clean up any extra smudges you don’t care for.
7) Liberally brush on the cobalt blue ink, covering the entire canvas. Let it sit for a minute or two then wipe off with a baby wipe. It is a subtle change, but adds more depth by leaving ink in the sunken parts. Really work it into the crackled parts of the paint to highlight the cracks.
8) Draw vertical, heavy charcoal lines on the left hand side of the canvas. Grab a baby wipe and gently rub over the charcoal to smudge it. Again, allow it to sit for a few minutes then gently use a paper towel to remove it. Remnants of the charcoal will lay in the cracks and balance out the charcoal on other side of our piece.
9) Drop a few small globs of sky blue paint over the canvas, run a brayer over it to spread. Repeat using the white gesso. Use baby wipes to remove any sections you don’t like then let it dry.
10) Using another style of the number one, and & sign, repeat step 1. Be sure not to reload your stamp with ink as you want the variation in the coloring.
11) Repeat step 9, but this time thin the paint with glazing medium. Use a heat gun to dry it quickly.
12) Add a bit of variation by stamping on the canvas with a patterned stamp too, press gently so it isn’t bold.
Let's Make Art! - Part 3
13) Get crackin’; repeat step 3.
14) Scrape on random lines of gesso with an old credit card to lighten up the piece a bit.
15) Add the tiniest dab of sky blue paint to glazing medium, and paint the quote you plan to use. Once it is dry, cut it out and adhere it to the canvas with gel medium. Tweezers make this a much easier task.
16) Go back to your Alice image, and use the charcoal pencil to sketch in and bring forward any details that may be getting lost. Additionally, sketch sloppy charcoal lines around the edges of the paper.
17) Use your permanent ink pad to blacken the edges of the canvas by running the sides over it.
18) Use gel medium to smudge and seal the charcoal as we did in step 6.
19) Once the canvas is completely dry, add highlights to the images and text with a black gel pen.
Let's Make Art! - Part 3
20) Sketch lines along one side of the white numbers with the soft pencil. Wet the tip of your finger with a baby wipe then smudge those lines to soften and create shadows. It may take a few repeats to gain the desired effect.
21) Now it is a matter of taste. You can keep layering by stamping more numbers with gesso, add more charcoal highlights, layer on more crackle paint … or simply seal it with workable fixativ.
OneAndOneAndOne by Christy Hydeck is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Download the high-resolution mixed-media printable artwork by clicking the image above. Use it as a decorative paper, to frame or even create gifts with it! It should be easy enough to personalize and embellish:) I'd love to see what you do with it - so be sure to comment + let me know!
NOTE: To do this again, I would lighten it considerably - maybe use a light scraping of gesso over the piece, or a white glaze/drybrush technique. I would also integrate the text in a less noticeable way. I may digitally alter it one of these days and share that process as well. I think it is so very important to share all kinds of our work - even the less than great pieces. They tend to be what we learn the most from.
"Can you do Addition?" the White Queen asked. "What's one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?"
"I don't know," said Alice. "I lost count." - Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
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