July 10, 2014

Pearl EX Pigment Powder Step-by-Step.

Welcome to my first "Step-by-Step" post. I'll be taking you through the process I went through in painting fairy wings for the "Froud Fairy" Custom. Using Pearl EX brand pigment powders.

The customer requested a custom MLP (my little pony) based off the iconic Brian Froud image below.

Metal Dental tool with concave paddle end. Used for scooping portions, "parts" of pearl dust.
1/4 square craft brush. Used to cover large areas.
#0 round craft brush. Used for painting details.
Chroma brand, Jo Sonja Gloss Varnish. Used as a mixing medium for pearl dust.
Peal EX Pigment powders.
Pic of palette, for the heck of it. I really believe something can be learned by studying artists' palettes.

That is indeed a slowly thawing green pea you see there. When I say "Pea sized" Just call me queen literal.
So when you read a "part" of dust I mean roughly a pea sized scoop. And when you read a "part" of glaze. I mean roughly a dime sized pool. Which was generally three to four drops. Depending how well I could control the bottle. I'm terrible with wasting glaze.

Antique Copper: 2-parts powder to 1-part glaze.
Starting out with the darkest color. Consider this the foundation color. No need to be neat, all other colors will build on top of this layer. Just smoosh it around and get a feel for the powder's behavior.

PRO-TIP Note: Base coating your substrate (A material on which a process is conducted.) can greatly enhance or augment the visual outcome of the powders.
For example, I chose to base coat the wings in a matte black. Payne's gray really. 

A black background pops the powders forward, appearing brighter and more vibrant. Where as a white background can draw them back. Making them more subtle. This does not mean that they look dull. Don't get the wrong idea.  Traditionally gray is also used as a neutral backing.
In the case of Gold tones I also could have used a terracotta color. In the Gilding profession, terracotta is used to make gold leafing appear warmer, brighter. Giving it a red glow. Alternatively a navy blue can be used to cool it down, mimicking a bronze-gold or slight inner patina look. The same cause and effect can be used with both pearl powders and metallic paints.

Super Bronze: 1-part powder to 1-part glaze.
This color finishes the foundation.  After this "land mark" colors come into play.   

Super Copper: Glaze mixture.
My apologies... The subtle difference might not be noticeable in these photos. No matter how I try to capture it.
This copper was mixed with 1/2 a part dust to 1 part glaze. Resulting in a glazing medium. Making it easier to blend with the other two colors. In addition, "double dip" loading was used. 
Double dipping is when you load your brush with one color, then dip the tip in a second color. It allows for ease of wet-on-wet blending in tiny areas. 

Glaze: Is a thin transparent color. Or paint that has been "watered" down with the aid of a medium. 
Glazing: A term used in painting. Referring to the translucent color layer over an opaque layer. More light passes through this thinned layer, allowing the layer below to be reflected back. Resulting in a more complex and deeper visual mix of color unattainable in solid color mixing.  
*Forgive the wonky definitions. I know they're awkwardly written. It was surprisingly difficult to find a short, copy-pastable blurb that wasn't two paragraphs long. But this is what Google is for after all. 
Glazing mixture example on your left. Opaque example on your right.

Sparkle Gold: 1-part dust to 1-part glaze. 
Here's where we lay down the areas that will become "landmarks"
Landmarks are open or large areas of color,  generally light in tone, that the eye naturally pauses or "rest" on in cases of detail heavy images. Also known as "breather spaces"
Notice how more contrast is starting to emerge.   

Interference Gold & Interference Violet: Both mixtures are 2-parts dust to 1-part gloss. 
Mixture consistency is more of a paste for this layer. As more opacity is needed. Of The two colors, interference gold is more naturally opaque. It was layered first.  Then interference violet was brushed on top to add it's pink hue and help break up the very gold heavy sheen.   

Duo Red/Blue: 1/2-part dust to 1-part gloss. 
At one angle, this powder reflects a soft translucent pink at another it becomes an opaque shimmering indigo.

Part 1: Aztec Gold: 1/2-part dust to 1-part gloss. 
Aztec Gold was used as a glaze to brighten and break up a couple bronze spots. Such as the bottom most wing. See how it appears a little less red compared to the picture above.
Part 2: Antique silver / Antique Copper- 1-part silver and 1-part copper dust (mixed) to 1-part gloss.
This silver / copper mix was used to darken key areas. Adding more contrast. Mostly in the tip of the first wing. Around the "eyes" pattern.
Finally... Added a little more Super-Copper (Glaze mixture) to brighten some yellow-gold heavy areas and finished off with three layers of solid glaze for protection and done!

And there you have it! Hope you get some use out of this.
If you see something I could have explained clearer or photo'd better please let me know. Help me to make better content for you. And feel free to ask me anything about my work or process. Your question could be used for the next step-by-step.
Type y'all later!