You’ve spent times pouring over you latest masterpiece, you think you are finished but something is not quite right…How do you fix it? Here are five common mistakes that most artist make and how to fix it!
Mistake 1: Using the wrong paper, starting off with the right type of paper is so important for good results. I wasn’t paying attention and I used a paper form my drawing pad instead of watercolor or mixed media paper. When you paint on drawing paper it makes the paper warp and if you are using a lot of water or heavy mediums you can make the paper start to pill or worse you could make a hole in the paper! Yes you can gesso it first, and that is what I did once I realized it was the wrong type of paper (of course I had to do it in front of a live audience! ha!) and it helps, but it’s not enough. It also is not meant to take paint – so you don’t get even coverage. Most drawing paper is a lot thinner than watercolor or mixed media paper. I like a lot of layers of paint, textures, blending directly on the project, so the paper gets very wet with all these mediums.
*Solution: the right paper – I prefer at least 90lbs watercolor, mixed media or bristol paper. (Most watercolor has texture I like it, some prefer smooth especially for faces which is when I reach for the bristol.)
Mistake 2 : Scale and proportion: Often times I (especially when doing videos) I forget to take a step back a look at my piece perpendicular to me. Let me explain, most of us are drawing, painting on a flat surface (a desk or table). It is easy for the proportions to be skewed from this point of view. Which is why many artists use an easel.
*Solution? You could use and easel. Or simply stop every once in awhile and hold that picture up – look at it for balance. Especially for faces – our eyes naturally look for balance. Had I stopped and looked I would have noticed one eye is slightly larger than the other, Can you see it? I also have an issue with the eyebrows – I prefer that they be more similar.
Mistake 3 : You know something is wrong maybe It’s in the details…because I blog, do videos, post on social media I take pictures of all my work. Nowadays everyone has a camera on their phone. You can take a picture blow it up and look at it up close! There are small details you can live with – for example I don’t mind that the eyebrow is not perfect because when I look at the overall picture is not noticeable. However when I looked at it close up I didn’t like some things- I had more white dot highlights and it just felt like too much. I decided to take it back a notch and simply grabbed a marker and went over some of those areas. When I stepped back it looked much better without them. If you look in whole photo above, you can see a little red mark on her neck where the hair color bled. I only noticed it when I did the close ups, an easy fix if you catch it. two suggestion when using watercolor: Get a wet paint brush and work it in (BLEND) or lift it off. Use a clean wet paint brush, “paint” the are to be removed and wipe the paint onto a towel, repeat until the paint is gone or blended in. If you are using acrylics get your gesso,cover it up and paint again.
If you watch my videos you have heard me say this so many times…
There have been times (when I have rushed) I even forgot to paint something, in my classes the most common mistakes I see when doing faces is they forget eyebrows and/or eyelashes. When you look at your picture in pieces you will find those mistakes.
*Solution: Take a close up. take a picture up close, (you don’t have to print it) just look at it on your camera; you can see things you didn’t even know were wrong! Make sure the pieces are all painted, fix mistakes and all body parts are present! lol
(This project is on my latest periscope called “hey let’s do something creative, are you with me?” Most of the paints are from Daniel Smith. That fantastic color I got on her hair is by using Daniel Smith Gold grounds first then adding red watercolor on top!)
We all make mistakes as artists, even those of us who have been doing this a long time so slow down, try these tips and see if your work doesn’t improve! Do you have any tips? I would love to hear them, leave them in the comments below!