Question submitted by Robyn:
I have a bunch of Smiley statues and have no idea how to start painting them. I know it should be easy, just paint them! but there must be a order skin first then clothes ? What color do I base coat, how do I get shadows, antiquing etc.?
Hi Robyn, Regarding the Smileys:
Basecoat: When I decide on base coats for a piece, it will depend on the technique I am going to use. For instance if i am using a translucent product, i will basecoat with something light and antique to get shading and depth and seal over the flat surface of the acrylic to get a smooth surface. If I am Wet Brusing or Dry Brushing I will basecoat with a darker color than my intended finish to keep the crevices dark.
Order: I usually paint with these order ideas in mind.
1. lightest to darkest, so that I can be sloppy with the first light color - knowing that the next darker color with cover it up. Then I only have to be care with the darker color when I am butting it up against a border area that is already painted.
2. If I am going to antique one area, but not others, I will base coat and antique that area and let it dry a little before I base coat other areas to be sure they stay clean.
3. Shading and detail is always last - I will come back and use various methods like washes, corner loading, PaintStiks, Chalks etc to add shading in crevices and other areas as needed. Then I will use my liner and do all fine detail like stitching, buttons, writing any text on, outlining any areas that look a little messy and finally the eyes.
Skin: Depending on how dark you want the skin, a good medium color for skin is Doc Holliday's soft brown but there are plenty of other choices, some a little pinker, some a little darker or lighter, depending on what look you are trying to get. I like to antique the the skin, Once the acrylic is dry you paint the antique over it and wipe it off. It creates a smooth soft appearance. You can use odorless mineral spirits on a paper towel to wipe the antique off further until you get the skin as smooth and clean as you want. Leaving on the traces of antuque in the crevices, but even though you wiped most of it off. Soft Brown acrylic base coat with Doc Holliday's Soft Brown Antique over it is a nice choice. There are lots of good combinations. You can add shading to the skin over the antique to get your mouth color, cheeks, etc. Chalks (or Paintstiks) work great for this and a rose color acrylic mixed with your skin base coat color always works nice for the mouth line.
Most Smileys are smooth (rather than having a lot of detail like an animal fur) so for me, I most likely would choose to paint each area (clothing, skin, hair etc) the color I want in the finished product and I would shade the edges of each section with a darker shade of that color with Corner loading to give depth and maybe wet brush any raised area (like the hair) to add further interest or highlights. I would antique the skin, and possibly the hair depending on texture and color I choose and maybe wet brush the hair if it had a lot of raised detail. Each piece is different, so I can't really give you a one size fits all method. But definitely, I would finish with a large bright expressive eye with lots of detail - that's the best part about painting smilies! If you want any specific help, one on one sessions are available and easy. I can give you individual suggestions for color, technique, method and order, etc. for any piece you want a little extra help with. Or just need help learning how to use a specific product.
Hope that helps! Happy Painting!
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!