After preparing a 30cm x 30cm box canvas with 3 coats of watercolour ground, I drew a duck’s portrait with not too much detail – ideal when it won’t stopped raining.
I masked out with masking fluid a few places where I wanted to keep white, like the highlight of the eye and a few feather dashes down the neck and on the cheek which would add both texture and shape.
Using black ink and a dipping ink pen, I out-lined a section at a time with the ink. If you do too much the ink will dry out and not give a flowing effect. By doing small sections at a time, you get a real sense of movement and get the exact finish you need!
Then, by loosely applying clean water to one side of the ink line, the ink begins to flow freely. Here, I used a brush round size 10 on its side. Where I wanted more shading, I applied more ink with stronger lines, so there was more ink to whoosh and flow when the water was applied!
Using an unlikely technique to add texture always gives me great joy and even more so when I can use unlikely materials. Adding salt to some of the areas that had ink and left to dry gives texture by dissolving and pushing the pigment away, creating interesting and unique patterns – necessary when you’re doing an animal piece.
The eye was painted with a little of Natural Brown from the Inktense Paint Pan Set and when dry I painted it darker with black ink, not the whole eye, just leaving a bit of brown showing around the edges. Then with a damp brush, softened the black ink, giving the brown shades a chance to shine through.
Time now to leave the piece to dry – have a cup of tea, go out for a walk or feed the ducks if you like.
This is where the texture and shine come into play, using the Metallic Paint Pan Set. All over the body, I used the new metallic colours Graphite and a little blue on the cheeks, with the latter looking slightly grey when mixed with the white. I then applied a little flaky salt to enhance this effect whist still wet.
After it had dried, I removed the masking fluid revealing the white parts I wanted to keep white. They looked a little harsh against the more muted tones, so using the same Metallic Graphite shade watered down, I softened the edges a little.
I then used the same colour to darken the tip of the feather dashes to add depth and so they look like they are coming out of the other feathers.
I removed the masking fluid from the highlight of the eye and added a little blue so it looks like it reflects the sky. I darkened the body, under the cheek and neck and around the beak to add shadow and shape. Using more of the darker shades of orange/red I darkened parts of the beak giving it more volume and added white ink to the highlights of the beak.
Then the background, I always think a background can make or break a piece!
Initially, I gave it a coat of Metallic Gold but felt it was too subtle, so added a second and a third coat to achieve the depth I was after. If you’re using the Metallic Paint Pan Set, you want to see more of the shimmer effect – who doesn’t?
I did like the creaminess of the Pan Set of the metallic colours when mixing up to create a puddle to use; they were soft and had a delicate sheen for the metallic effect.
Finishing touches were added by darkening the pupil with black ink and flicking a few droplet to the gold background whilst adding final detail on the beak and eye lid.
So, what do you think of my final piece?