I thought it would be nice to show you all the steps I go through in order to bring one of my acrylic ACEOs to completion. So in true Blue Peter style, here’s a little something I made earlier!
Step1: Sketching out the ACEO
The first step I do involves sketching my ACEO out. Sometimes I sketch it out in a sketchbook first but for this one I decided to go for it and sketch straight on to the canvas textured paper I’d be using to paint on.
I used a soft pencil (4b) to roughly draw the outlines, making sure that I don’t press too hard as in the next stage I’llbe rubbing away unwanted lines.
Step 2: Defining and erasing
Once I’m happy with my sketch I use my watercolours to add in some shadows and define the shapes a little more. Like with the initial sketching, I keep my watercolour fairly loose and I only use 1 colour which is a mix of prussian blue and burnt sienna.
Once I’m happy with my watercolour, and it’s dry, I rub away any pencil lines which will fall in areas where I’ll mainly be using whites and creams. Whites and other light colours don’t cover as well as darker ones and so have a tendency not to cover pencil lines very well.
Step 3: Blocking in the colour
The next stage is to decide what colours I’m going to use, so I take some watered down acrylics and start roughly blocking in areas of colour. For this particular ACEO I decided on a green eyed black and white cat, and a reddish brown suitcase filled with green/blue fabric. I left the lid of the suitcase white as at this stage, I wasn’t sure whether to fill it with shirts or to paint it brown.
Stage 4: Bringing it to completion
Once I’m happy with my colour choices, I thicken up the acrylics and start to build up the colours so they appear more solid. As I near completion, I use mars black to bring definition back to the edges and titanium white to bring the highlights out and knock back the creaminess of the paper.
And there you have it… My latest It’s A Cat’s Life ACEO from start to finish! The total completion time for this ACEO was 2hr 15min, which is pretty much average for an ACEO of this style.