Here is a WIP (work in progress) of my miniature paintings, "Dandelion Mouse". This miniature painting, also known as an (ACEO), is the basis for an exciting gift line I will be offering this Christmas season.
Preparing the “support”
The surface or “support” I use is 10 ply Cotton Illustration Board. I’ve experimented with different surfaces and arrived at this particular board for my miniature paintings (ACEOs). Since the little works of art are only a few inches either way (3.5”x 2.5”) and I use water based media, I needed something that wouldn’t warp and would stand up to many layers of pigment. The Illustration Board is 1/8” thick (about 10x thicker than a sheet of printer paper) and has a slight “tooth” (a bit of roughness that allows pigment to adhere).
The Ink drawing
Once I have the the composition for my miniature painting worked out, I gently draw out my idea on the Illustration Board in pencil. I then carefully ink in the painting. For years I used very expensive and temperamental Rapidiograph technical pens, but have since discovered Sakura Micron Pigma pens. These great little disposable technical pens have many different size nibs (points) and use archival ink which means the pigment will last for generations.
I consider my ink drawing the “bones” of a painting. The ink is permanent and will show through all my consequent layers of colored pencil, which are translucent.
The next step in my painting process is laying in washes of color. I use watercolor, or diluted ink, or sometimes a combination of media that’s a bit of a secret. I might use very light layers of watercolor to help build a more “toothy” or rough surface for my colored pencils.
The layers of pencil
The bulk of the little painting is layer after layer of translucent colored pencil. In this particular painting I used a very light touch that allowed the surface "tooth" to show through. This gave the background a grainy look that I really enjoy. The pencil I use is called Prismacolor and has a waxy-buttery quality. I add colored pencil layers, slowly and gently until the pencil becomes more like paint that I can push around and blend.
My final touches include scratching through the many layers of pencil and sometimes adding small brush strokes of white acrylic. I then spray the piece with fixative and carefully paint the edges of the art to give it a professional finish.
I also sell my original (ACEOs), as well as prints on my New Art Website, Etsy, Artfire and on Bonanzle.
I hope you like my step by step of "Dandelion Mouse".