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A Rat Throws Paint. Ramblings, thoughts and what I've learned. Acrylic paints

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cause the rat:
Well, here it is. This is going to be my collection of thoughts. Crazy and off the wall at times. Because if your not having fun why do it.  Long winded, off the wall and badly written is all I'll promise. Start with what I know. Or in this case. What I was a complete failure at. I'll ramble on later on why i think I failed at watercolor . I tried watercolor for a few years. One frustrating mess. But I did learn color theory on my disappointing journey. No matter how you paint. No matter what medium you use. Traditional or digital. Color theory is your best friend. Learn it and your already miles ahead of 90 percent of the Furry fandom.

Let's begin with the Wold Wide Web. Go ahead, type in "acrylic painting techniques". And be prepared to be underwhelmed. Ninety nine million videos. Done by eight year olds. Or adults who might as well be eight year olds. Sowing you how to paint. Just like you did in grade school. Wowee! We can paint a tree!

Tip number one.
Never watch beginner painting videos. If you want to paint like you did when you were in eighth grade. More power to ya. Find and watch videos demonstrating how you really want to paint. Watch a video a few times. Then throw paint. Try a small section. Or just one object. Throw paint on a surface. Because learning takes muscle movement and coordination. Learn the brushes. Learn the paint your using. Make mistakes. Failure is an opinion. Doing is not. Watch rinse and repeat. So what if it doesn't look like what you see in the video. The most important thing is your learning. Why waste your time watching videos on simple stuff? If you can do it the first time you tried it you really haven't learned anything.

The only beginner videos you should watch are ones on color theory. Most important is to learn warm and cool colors. How they relate to each other. It will be way easer on you when you start mixing your own colors. Even using colors in a computer program. Even better to start here before you start painting. That way you'll already know why Ultramarine Blue make dusty green colors.  And just because the label says red doesn't mean your going to end up with a bright purple.

I've got a lot of catching up to do about things I've learned so for. Because the spirit of things dictate I should at the least share something I'll jot down what I learned today.
Just because I can look at a painting done by Marcel Dyf doesn't mean I can paint like Marcel Dyf. Like the style of his people. So what i'm going to do is look at pictures of people. Then interpret that style without looking at it.

cause the rat:
More rambling from a painting rat.

So if failure is an opining in art then why did I fail at watercolor? I could never say what I wanted to. Could never get this medium to work for me. And if I did do something I liked I could never repeat it. Watercolor isn't called the hardest art to learn without a reason. I failed because I didn't want to continue with it. Watercolor wasn't allowing me to be as expressive as I wanted. And i got tired of tossing painting because of one mistake. You can't paint over watercolor.

The two most important things I learned in watercolor is color theory and color harmony. A simple explanation of color theory. Every color has a temperature. Each primary color has both warm and cool versions. Yep, there is warm reds and cool reds to play with. You need to learn how to use these temperatures. Because how we interpret art has nothing to do with reality. Color harmony. The fewer colors you use the more cohesive your overall painting will be. Mix the majority of your colors with a hand full of pigments. Then add accent or needed colors with it. This works in digital art as well. Because it still art. The perception of color is the same. Color theory and temperature is the only way to understand the color of shadows and light. And the best part is? It's really easy to learn. And even faster when you apply it to what your doing.

Both theory and temperature need visual references. YouTube is your best friend. Watch and throw paint!

cause the rat:
Practicing figures and gesture. Gave myself a magic number. Fifty. When I get fifty of these done I'll be better at it. Well. Got almost forty. Something magical had better happen soon. OK, I am getting better. Like practicing the Alphabet. Took many attempts to go from looking good at 1 5/8 of an inch (41.2) down to 5/8 (15.8). All wile holding a long handled brush with the paint eight to nine inches away from my hand. Holding the brush the same way wile doing these figures. It sounds strange. But the farther the paint is away the smaller the movements you have to do. Control starts to feel relaxed. Looking forward to the day the brush feels as comfortable in my hand as a pencil does.

So I tell everyone to start by painting. Then all I do is fundamentals. I've gone through the throwing paint stage already. Back when I was throwing out a lot of watercolors. Learned all the color theory and mixing. All the goodies that make other peoples art look better than mine. Did all my brush control and figure painting with watercolor as well. What's different and why practice the same thing over again? I've gone from painting with water to painting with mud. I still find myself thinning the acrylics down so they flow from the brush. Going to take a wile to get the idea of muddy goodness. My watercolor brushes of choice are extremely soft. I'm used to barely touching the paper with a fine point to get detail. Acrylics are a completely different feel. Best way to experience this. First use a pencil to draw a few squiggles on a piece of paper. Now try the same thing on a different surface. Plastic, aluminum can, a table top. Even an unfinished piece of wood. Notice each surface has a different feel. With acrylics the brush drags across the surface of the gesso. Just like the pencil on paper or wood. So my brushes are stiffer. I have to apply pressure to get paint on the gesso. To add to the differences I can thin acrylic dow to flow. Paint it on in a varying thickness. Or slam it down like plaster. Ya. Take that watercolor.

Tip for today.
Never paint straight from the tube. Wether it's watercolor, oils or acrylics. Pigments are meant to be mixed and blended into the colors you need. So if you need a blue why mix a blue? Because the blue from the tube will look artificial and flat. This is where color theory comes into play. If I'm using ultramarine blue I know it has red in it. The choice of orange I need would be called a cool orange. An orange favoring the red spectrum. I don't want to add a lot of yellow. Green is not a good sky color. So if I mix a bit of this orange into ultramarine two things happen. Orange is a complimentary color to blue. Orange in Blue makes gray to black. Orange has red in it. So I have a blue favoring red. And an orange that naturally has red with more red in it. Red and blue make purple. The yellow in the orange will go away.  What little green happens wont be noticeable. Green and red are complimentary. Red and green makes grays to black. Now I have a mix that has one dominant blue. Two purples, two reds, one orange, no green, natural grays and browns. This combo of blue and orange makes a grayed purple. This is the start of a sky people will notice. How you apply this color along with white and your original blue will determine how interesting your vast blue sky will look. This is why color theory and knowing pigment temperatures are important.

cause the rat:
Reading my description of color theory. I made it sound harder than it really is. Best to learn it visually. Trying to describe color is like telling someone what food tastes like.

Still learning to paint a figure. Getting the proportions to look right. After about seventy tries I'm getting more good ones than bad. :) Correct proportions is by far the hardest part of anthro art. It is the number one asked "How do I..." question on any forum or facebook page I've seen. The good news is there is actually hours of good places on youtube that deal with the body. But none of them are easy. Every one of them take hours of practice. Most of the good ones deal with nudes. The idea is to learn the muscle structure. Because if you know the shapes your figure will look natural. Even the toony ones. Correct body structure separates a good furry artist from the rest. Now the big problem. Which method? Watched one video displaying three different methods. Each one got the same good results. If you see the artist getting the results you want use that method. So far I don't think I've watched a single figure drawing video that wouldn't help. When drawing any figure. The best advice you'll ever get. What you will hear from almost every instruction video. Use a visual reference. The beauty of the digital age. You can take pictures of yourself. In any pose you want your figures to be in. To be truthful most of the nudes for drawing are in strange poses. Better to take picks of the pose you need. Unless you want your drawing to look like someone avoiding an angry bird wile eating an ice cream cone. 

cause the rat:
Having a blast! Never got this far with watercolor. Not saying world class artist here. Where I'm going is where I want to be. By getter farther in painting I find myself needing to know more things. Today I learned about the Loomis technique. Link below. this channel is where I learned to draw figures from as well.


With a bit of modification this works wonders with anthro heads. How you modify it would depend on your subject. Toony or more realistic. Results in any viewing angle. I would have to say this and figure to scale are very important to learn. Been practicing this on paper. Because a pencil is easy. Get comfortable with this first. Then it's on to the paint brushes.

Learning more about acrylic paint as well. Artist grade acrylics are the mid point between watercolor and oils. You can water them down to a 100:1 ratio. They become almost like watercolor. It's possible to get watercolor effects with acrylics. You can paint impasto. Thick and chunky. Showing every brush stroke. Like you can in oils. Acrylics can mimic both mediums. However not to the extreme of either. Watercolor paintings are luminous. In person they seem to glow from the inside. Oils are easier to blend so both hard and soft edges are easier to achieve.  Both acrylic and oils have one big advantage over watercolor. If you make a mistake you can paint over it. :)


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