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Underpainting:

I never work from white when using oils or acrylics. Create an underpainting in burnt umber or a mix of burnt sienna and phthalo blues to establish shadows and values. Acrylics are probably the best medium to use at this stage as they’re quick-drying and permanent.

Blocking In:

Brushes come in a number of shapes and with different fibre types, all of which give very different results. The key is to try all of them as you paint. The most versatile are a synthetic/sable mix – these brushes can be used with most of the different paint types. Brushes come in flat and round types and it pays to have a selection of both. Check out our guide to picking the right brush to learn more.

Building Up Texture:

Have a dry, flat brush that you can use to blend your paint and create smooth transitions. I tend to like lots of texture and like to see brush marks in my own work. Almost anything can be used to add texture to your paint. There are ready made texture media available, but I have seen items such as egg shell and sand used to add interest to a painting.

Dry Brushing: T

his is a method of applying colour that only partially covers a previously dried layer of paint. Add very little paint to your brush and apply it with very quick, directional strokes.This method tends to work best when applying light paint over dark areas/dried paint and is useful for depicting rock and grass textures.

Sgrafitto:

Removing paint can be as important as applying it. Sgraffito is the term used when you scratch away paint while it’s wet to expose the underpainting. It’s especially useful when depicting scratches, hair, grasses and the like.

Glazing:

Glazing is the process of laying a coat of transparent paint over a dry part of the painting, and it’s used for intensifying shadows and modulating colour. A light transparent blue over dry yellow will, of course, create green.

Painting with medium:

Mediums are fluids that can be added to paint to modulate its consistency, drying time and texture. In the case of acrylics, you get different mediums that make the paint matte or gloss. However, I tend to use the matte medium mainly to seal my paper or board, so paint doesn’t soak into it.