If you like to work in layers for your paintings, you usually start with some background of visual texture. There are many ways to make this background, recently I have been looking at using a Spirograph to add that visual texture: It is fun to use and fast ans you get beautiful geometric shapes on your background.
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Here are the steps I took
I worked on Teraskin stone paper because it has a very smooth texture that will be very nice to work with the spirograph. I used a 12 x 12 inches panel to outline my painting are on the paper.
You can leave a bit of extra space on the sides.
Using a spirograph, yo can start to add patterns to your background. Here with a Sakura Pigma micro marker.
You can also use a pencil.
Here is a close up of some of the textures I get.
To make your background a bit darker, you can paint a layer of Indian Ink, and add a bit of texture with rubbing alcohol
Adding a bit of diluted India Ink on top of the Spirograph patterns.
You can make your ink wash a gradated wash, darker on one end, so the branches of the tree will look lighter as you go higher on your painting.
You can use your thumb to add drops of alcohol on your paper.
The alcohol will add textures to the India Ink wash
Working from a reference picture, you can start painting all the negative space in white, leaving only the branches and the tree in black
Try to make the branches smaller as they get further away from the tree.
You don’t have to copy exactly your reference picture but it will give you a guideline to paint the space around the branches.
I want to add a bit of blue on the painting and make the branches lighter on the sides so I am mixing a bit of Turquoise watercolor with China White (gouache)
You can paint that mixture on top of the India ink. I would recommend you try first on a corner of your paper to see if your India Ink is truly waterproof of if you would need to spray a layer of fixative before painting with the watercolor and gouache.
You can let your painting dry at an angle to get a gradated wash, denser on the top of the painting.
The finished painting: Spirograph tree