Have you ever applied Crackle to a piece and found that it didn't crackle very evenly? Maybe this will help
Be sure that you apply the crackle with a soft brush and use strokes that only go one direction, don't apply too thickly or it will run and drip. I like to paint mine in downward strokes so that if I get any unwanted runs or drips, they will be doing the same direction as my strokes as gravity will pull them downward. Try to watch for drips and smooth them out before they dry. If you can, lay your piece flat to keep it from dripping and running.
Let this dry and then apply your top coat in the SAME direction. Be sure that you apply 1 solid coat of color also going in the same direction, and do not over lap strokes once the paint has dried, as this will fill in the crackling results. If you have a large area, you will need to work pretty quickly to get an even coverage that does not looked striped from your brushstrokes. Good Luck!
I just loaded the step by step technique sheet on my Techniques page. You can download this for free! Hope you enjoy! Let me know if you have any questions! Shelley
_I added a slide show of the progression on my home page. I hope you enjoy it!
Using the very corner of your brush to shade can be very effective to create a tapered edge with a crisp outline. If you have an area that looks a little blah, you can use a color that is 1-2 shades darker (or lighter depending on your desired outcome) to border the edges. You can use this technique not only to shade edges but to create, by using this brush stroke to draw in designs and detail, leaving a soft look. So, whether you are after dramatic or subtle, this stroke is a definite addition to your skill set!
Keep in mind this is a brief summary of how the technique is done. I still like to use this method on certain skin tones like Native flesh, and certain textures like an all over bumpy even texture like the fur on Clay Magic's holiday bear series.
Brush: Stiff Bristle Brushes, round and square both work for various application areas.
Product: Works well with most popular brands of acrylic paints, better if the paint is not too thin and if it doesn't get rubbery and ball up in the brush as it dries, also better if the paint does not have a glossy element
(I didn't care for The old brand Studio Stains to Dry brush with due to this.)
Supplies: Absorbent material like scratch paper, (Nothing with ink print that can be picked up in the brush, newspaper is notorious for this) Towel, tile or paper plate (Water - used only for clean up)
Piece: Especially suited for pieces with lots of texture, but can also be used on smooth areas to create a soft look when applied evenly. The basecoat should be darker than the color being used to Dry Brush over the top.
Prep: Base coat the area with a color that is darker than the desired outcome. Black is a typical color used as a base, or other dark colors like Doc Holliday's Real Brown, Steel Grey, Midnight Blue, Shadow green, etc. You can also basecoat a light or medium shade and then antique with a darker shade to achieve the depth in the cracks.
Method: Dip the end of a clean dry brush into paint that is lighter than the base coat and then pounce most of the color off on the scratch paper until the brush marks on the paper resemble "chicken scratch", very rough, very dry, no wet blobs. Swipe the brush back and forth against a textured area getting an all over fuzzy appearance keeping it even and consistent. Repeat this over an area several times, building layer upon layer until you achieve the coverage you desire. Maneuver the brush across the grain in a manner that keeps the bristles out of the crevices, allowing the darker base to stay dark. You can keep adding different color to your brush blending and highlighting. If you want to change to a clean color without this blending affect, you need to use a new dry brush, or clean your brush and completely dry it, working it against a towel until it is dry. This technique does not work with any added moisture in your brush.
_ If you are Wet Brushing or Dry Brushing and your desired goal is a soft White or lighter shade, consider using a lighter base coat. Look in the photo gallery, animal section at the Doc Holliday Lynx, this was base coated in black because I wanted a rich look with texture and depth. However, I wanted a softer effect for the animals, so the rest of the pierce was base coated in White and antiqued with Black Translucent. This still gives depth in the crevices and not far to go to achieve soft white shade when wet brushed. Be sure to let the antiquing dry completely so you don't muddy your white brush. You don't have to base coat a piece all one color, this combination gives interest and contrast.
Have fun painting and check back soon for another tip! Or you can click on the "get updates via RSS" below on the right to receive a notification when a new tip is added.
Be Back Soon!
Antiques can be a dramatic or subtle effect based on how you use them. In the 70-80's it was very popular to paint your entire piece and then antique it to help disguise wobbly lines and messy borders created by shaky hands and to change the tint of things to help them not look so pasty of singular dimension. Very popular for animals, skin effects and Indian pieces with leather, wood or fur.
Sometimes this left the painter discourage because after all their hard work, it not only disguised what they didn't like, but also changed the look of other colors they wanted to keep and left the piece looking dark or dull.
Instead of applying the antique at the end, try antiquing just after your basecoat stage. This can add definition, give character or even give a "worn" look if that is desired. Consider also only antiquing certain areas or portions of the piece. As discussed in the tip on Base Coats, where I used Doc Holliay's Lynx as an example, you can use a light basecoat and antique with a darker color to give depth rather than using a dark opaque color when you what the finish to actually be a light shade. Dry brushing and wet brushing still work well over antiquing, as long as you allow it to have adequate time to dry. (Sometimes the wiping back can leave a shine on smooth areas, but once you begin brushing over it the shine disappears and it covers just fine.)
I always wipe back my antique with a soft dry cloth. Certain paper towels like Viva work great because they are soft and durable and they are disposable...your family appreciates the fact that you're not stealing their favorite old T's or socks!
*Be sure to not to paint too large of an area with the antique that you can not wipe back before it dries. This leaves streaks and ridges. To get even antiquing, only paint a moderate sized area and wipe back quickly with soft dry cloth. Continuing working in that manner until the whole desired area is done. Keep finding clean areas of your cloth, or replace with a new cloth or towel so you don't just keep smearing the antique back on. You shouldn't take a break in the middle and leave an area to finish later, this leaves hard transition marks when you stopped and started and they can be difficult to get even.
* Once the area is wiped back with a clean dry cloth, get a new clean soft dry cloth and add a little mineral spirits to the cloth and really scrunch the cloth to distribute the damp chemical through the towel so there aren't any really saturated areas. Then lightly buff this on the piece, working against the grain, to remove excess antiquing and wipe back with still another clean DRY cloth. This will help keep smooth areas smooth and brighten the tops of detail. Don't leave large ares of antiquing in corners or crevices, only allow enough to remain to enhance, not muddle. Any areas that you want even brighter, cleaner or smoother, you can then use a small area of your cloth with more saturation of mineral spirits and buff that area more. Be care not to buff too vigorously or too long, as you can open a hole in your base coat layer and then apply the antique directly to the bisque which again, is hard to cover and make even.
See the Paint along album on my Facebook to see Step #2 of Sarah Snow. This is antiquing over my basecoat and wiped back with mineral spirits to keep smooth. This toned my bright white down and left a "country" look to the body and put depth and character in the crevices. It also changed the color of the lavender to a country look, and left it exactly as I wanted for the next steps. Feel free to ask questions if you want more clarification!
Happy Painting in 2012!
_Happy New Years! I am starting Sarah Snow and I will be posting the step by step progress pictures on Facebook if you would like to follow along.
Feel free to comment or ask questions. If you don't have a Facebook account, let me know and I will post additional pics somewhere here on my website.
Hope you'll paint along with me!
Ceramic Artist & Teacher
_I will share various tips for painting on this page, I hope you enjoy them! Please feel free to ask questions or comment, it's always nice to hear from other painters and I am happy to help any way I can! I will be adding various technique packages to the online store and when I do I will post an update here to let you know a technique has been added. Check back soon tips !
God Bless & Happy Painting!