Several people throughout the places i hang out in the paper mache world have asked me to show some of my painting methods or techniques i use. Well this project has now reached the painting stage so this gives me the perfect excuss to show you some of my technqiues. Although this is a paper mache project ALL my painting techniques CAN be used on vertually ANY surface.
So now i have the moon & all the stars built i can can now finish them off by giving them a final layer of tissue paper then paint. In this post i am going to work on the moon first. Unfortunately the following pictures aren't showing up the full extent of the finished paint work but it actually ressembles the surface of the moon as seen either on a clear night when it is close or through a telescope. I am afraid your either going to have to take my word or see for yourself if you do this project the same way i did. For this project i will be using basic house hold indoor paints of the MATT type NOT gloss, silk or vynil types... MATT.
The final layer of paper is 2 layers of x2 ply tissue paper. In ALL cases where i use tissue paper in ALL my projects i find the cheapest you can find is more likely to wrinkle when wet from the glue & give better results. I have been informed that rice paper gives a similar result from a fellow artist but then this blog is based around both recycling as many materials that can be found around the home as possible as well as assuming many artists are on a small budget.. Again in ALL cases where i use tissue paper i use a 50% PVA glue & 50% water soloution to fix the tissue paper unless otherwise stated. On the moon here i covered ALL the project except for the eye's & finger nails.
Now thats all fully dried the painting can begin. I am going to work with just 3 colours here. Black, white & a light shade of grey. Yes i am aware that techincally speaking black & white are NOT true colours. To begin i need to lay down the base colours so i am going to begin with the black & paint on some shadows. You need not be concerned about being 'perfect' here when doing this as during the painting stage i am going to show you how to cycle through 5 stages using these 3 colours to create 5 different 'effects' that will combine & create a perfect looking lunar surface.
Begin where you prefer. I have started around the crators. I painted inside the crators then around them in crude rough & ready strokes with the paint brush being a little dry of paint allowing the black paint to go on heavy & fading as i went.
Around the mouth, under the eyebrows, in 'front' of the knuckles the painting follows the same rule. Put very little black paint on the brush & just let it fade out here & there as you paint. Don't try to make the lines a perfect equally matching size or shape. Just let the brush do the work & the paint flow as it wants from the brush.
Now it is time to abandon the paint brush TOTALLY for some old well used seriously worn out sponges. For best results you want the foam sponges that have little to no holes in the foam. The tightly packed small rectangular foam on one side & plastic wiry type backed types are the BEST for sponge painting. The more worn the better.
Also an odd scrap piece of card. It makes no difference the type of card stock you use, just a piece big enough & thick enough not to fall apart when you dab the paint coated sponge on it a while will do.
Again it is your choice 'where' you start painting. Dip the sponge in your GREY paint FIRST. EVERY TIME you dip the sponge in the paint (all colours) from now on in the painting stage remember to dab it on the card BEFORE you touch your project. As you work you ONLY want small amounts of grey paint on the sponge. Dab GENTLY here & there in a totally RANDOM pattern over the entire moon. You DO NOT want the entire moon painted grey, leave 'some' white tissue showing as you go. Make it blotchy all over. By the time you have done one half of the moon the paint you first put on should be DRY to the touch, that's how thin you want the paint to go on at ALL times.
Like this. I know, i know it looks totally wrong. Trust me these are just our base coats. We are going to work 'up' from this stage to create the perfect lunar surface effect in layers... Trust me.
Now for the first white layer. Remember we are using MATT paints here. Combined with the worn sponges the matt paint will dry to a perfect dusty coating like finish. Again as with the tissues the cheapest water based MATT paints you can find will give the best results. Remember we are painting a 4 billion year old moon even if it is a cartoon version the cheap water based matt paints will give us that ancient lunar look we are trying to create here. Well i am anyway.
Dab on the white in EXACTLY the same way you did the grey RANDOMLY. This time use even LESS paint on the sponge than you did the grey. I know it will not look white as it goes on as the grey WILL show through the even thinner coating of white as you dab where you cross over the grey layer. In area's where you want the white to be stronger simply dab over again a few times until you get the required effect or white look to it. Try to keep the 'extra' white look to a minimum though. Where the white goes over the grey area's leave it as thin as possible of a coating. Try to leave the white & grey sections 'blending in' as much as possible. We have ALL at some point rubbed out pencil marks & been left with a dull grey smudge, try to imagin THAT effect where the white fades into the grey.
THIS IS the look you are going for. A kind of smudged white & grey look with whisps of black smudges showing through in the hollow requions such as around the mouth, crators etc. Already it is begining to look like a lunar surface isn't it? Just 2 more layers of paint & we will have the perfect effect.
NOW to do the unthinkable which may alarm many of you none painter types who have just created the perfect finish so far for the first time in your life. We are going to do a BLACK WASH. In traditional terms this involves painting over a project using a paint brush & very very watery black paint. Then before this dries we would normally wipe the excess OFF. In the grand scheme of things this WOULD be a perfect finishing touch really bringing out ALL the finer details the paints have burried. In THIS case how ever we are going to 'continue' with the sponges & dab on 'selectively' our watery black paint.
I can't give you a precise mix of paint & water ratio here. This WILL vary from artist to artist & project. WHY? Well we each have our own method of painting & our own idea's of what being 'gentle' is. The best description of how you want YOUR black wash to be is an extremely watery black stained water mix. Hmm, imagine you spilled a cup of coffee or tea. THAT kind of watery.
Now when dabbing on the black wash try to concerntrate more on the hollow area's: under the nostrils, under the eye's, around the & inside the crators that type of area. DON'T cover the entire moon, leave the lighter 'smudged' area's alone. You CAN always go back over area's you want darker again.
THIS is the effect your looking for. It will blend all the are's you go over in a dfferent way than the white & grey did before adding back a darker shade to the deeper hollow area's whilst adding a new layer of shading to the lighter shaded area's. Just like the grey & the white remember NOT to cover the whole project. NOW to add the final layer of paint.
When the black wash is FULLY dry. Take your white one last time. This time you want even LESS white paint on the spnge than you did the first time. Remember paint, card then project. THIS TIME WIPE the sponge over the project NOT DAB!. BE SUPER GENTLE how ever. You ONLY want to 'wipe' white paint onto the 'wrinkles' in the lighter area's of the moon. DO NOT wipe over any area's that you want to leave in shadow!.
Get this final layer of paint just right & you will have the PERFECT lunar surface almost as good as the real thing.
In the LAST section of this project i will be finishing off the stars then hanging the whole project. The final stage will be posted here very soon.
P.S. I AM working on the video version of this stage of the project for YouTube right now as you are reading this & it will be posted very soon & added to my list at the bottom of this page soon.