I was messing around in my journal a couple of days ago and wanting to play a little differently I grabbed my Colour Shaper tools to paint this portrait without using brushes. Several people have asked about both the Colour Shapers and the method so I did another quick journal page in my Extra Large Moleskine Sketchbook (11.5 x 16.75″) and took some step out pictures to show the process.
Most important I think to using the Colour Shapers in this way is not to get bogged down by details, stay loose and go with the marks that they make!
The Colour Shapers are some of my favorite art tools and I keep them handy by my work table on my Raskog cart from IKEA.
Here are the sizes I like, and note that they come in both firm and soft tips and it’s good to have both as they will work differently with the paint.
I’m using my Fluid Matt Sheer Acrylics in Mustard Seed, Barely Black and White Washed. You can see that these are very fluid and also carry a high pigment load. You can try any acrylic paint and you will get various results depending on the viscosity of the paint.
I love this color palette as the Mustard Seed and Barely Black mixed together make a really warm gray color.
My model is my Asaro’s Head. This is such a wonderful tool for seeing how light hits on the different planes of the face. Here I just sketched the actual head, but you can use it to also sketch a more realistic face and get some great references to where shading and highlights should go.
Using the larger 1″ and 2″ Colour Shapers, I start to block in the dark areas. Note all of the cool marks the tools leave in the paint-I don’t try to avoid them, this adds to the overall look.
As I work I wipe off the tool onto the background to start that off. By adding small amounts of White Washed to the gray mix I get various tones of color that I add the planes of the head. Switch to smaller tools as needed.
You can also wipe a bit of each of the tones you mix on the page somewhere to help document them. I do this a lot in my journal work.
(and yes, that’s a glass of wine in the background-keeps you loose while you paint😉
Remember to stop! I am not at all going for some finely detailed painting, I want it raw, so remembering to stop is important. In all this took less than hour from sketch to finished painting. Now I’m going to let it dry and then add some journaling to the page. This is a fun journal exercise to help you loosen up and play with shading and tonal values.