Dandelion Mouse Art, Step by Step

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 washes

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.

Last touches

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.

Buy Him Now!
Print: $5.99

I also sell my original (ACEOs), as well as prints on my New Art WebsiteEtsy, Artfire and on Bonanzle.

I hope you like my step by step of "Dandelion Mouse".


June Stoyer said...

I love the detail in this work. I did a whole series on dandelions and it is actually a very popular subject to draw!The next time I do the lecture will definitely mention your work. I am sure many fellow life long students of nature will truly appreciate your delicate attention to detail!

Kayla @EssentialU said...

Wow -- thanks for the walk thru how you create your art.

@toddweisscfa said...

ummm... look at you with the step by step as to how it all comes together... as always Melody you continue to inspire... thanks for sharing :)

fatine khawarizmi said...

I like the tiny details and the little secrets of your wonderful painting, Dandelions are kind of animals who attract kids because of them size and behaviors!

fatine khawarizmi said...

I like the tiny details and the little secrets of your wonderful painting, Dandelions are kind of animals who attract kids because of them size and behaviors!

PaintDog said...

I love this piece, Mel! Thanks for sharing the WIP.

Krishenka said...

such wonderful detail to this little beauty you make it look easy but I know differently love your work

cindyzlogic said...

Thank you for describing your process, Melody! Wonderful work!!

KLGG said...

It appears that the background (green) actually got lighter as you went along. How sdid you remove or cover up the darker pigment?

Melody Lea Lamb said...

KLGG I used very (very) light strokes of colored pencil over the ink wash.

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