Introduction to Casein, a Milk Paint | Sandrine Curtiss | Skillshare

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Introduction to Casein, a Milk Paint

teacher avatar Sandrine Curtiss, Artist, explorer.

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (50m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. History

    • 3. Properties

    • 4. Supplies

    • 5. How To Mix Casein

    • 6. First Layer

    • 7. Second Layer

    • 8. Details

    • 9. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

If you've never heard of casein paint before, don't fret, you're not alone. Although this medium is older than oils, it's fallen under most artists' radars for quite a while.
Casein is a medium similar to gouache; not quite like watercolor and not quite like acrylic. 
Join me in this all level class to learn more about it, how to use it, and work on a simple monochromatic painting from start to finish.
We will have an easy start with just a couple of tubes, a few brushes, and some watercolor or mixed-media paper.

If you're interested in taking this class and are not a Skillshare member yet, I'm happy to share with you my referral link, which will give you a free two months subscription. You will not only be able to take my class, but also thousands of other classes offered here. Have fun!
Click here to sign up.

Meet Your Teacher

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Sandrine Curtiss

Artist, explorer.


Hello, I'm Sandrine.

I'm a self-taught artist, always eager to explore new mediums and new techniques. As I learn more and more, I like to share my findings with other artists as a way to give back.
Until now I've shared my art on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook, and I'm happy to be able to do it in a bit more details here, on Skillshare.
I invite you on an art journey where we'll explore all sorts of media, both well and not so well known. So pack a bottle of creative juice, and come along with me.


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1. Introduction: I My name is sending Curtis. I love exploring new mediums where they come from and how to use them. In this time, I found a very obscure one, yet used by men for us. Long as we can date the Origen of painting in this class, you will learn about one of the oldest medium known to man que seen. We will talk about its history, its properties and the supplies you will need to get started with our project. I will show you how to mix the paint, how to apply the first layer and all the steps necessary to complete your project. And by the time the class is over, you will have a finished monochromatic painting off a shiny spoon. Once the class is over, I invite you to share your painting with everyone and talk about your experience with this medium. If you liked it, will you keep using it Really? Anything you want to share? I hope you will have a lot of fun taking this class. And that will see you then 2. History: Cason has been a very versatile medium for very long time. It's a pain that's fast drying, durable and permanent, and it's made from milk. In fact, it's one of the most durable mediums known to man. There were cave paintings found in Asia dating from 9000 years ago, and actually there's some that are still being found that are even older. It's been used through the centuries by ancient Egyptians, Byzantine, Roman and run since artists. And it's been used for many different things, like murals, frescoes, fine arts paintings and wall paint, decorative fainting for furniture. And even during World War two, I was used for camouflage and in the 18th century was used to paint theater sets. And it still is today because the recipe for casing paint is very easy to make. Artists have been just making it as they needed it. And since one of the main ingredient is milk, it can't really be kept for very long because it spoils Now. After the U. S. Civil war, paint can started floating the market. But milk pains couldn't be commercialized because of its short shelf life, so you could only find oil based paint in those cans. But in the early 20 century, there were new recipes that were developed, which used synthetic rubber and styrene, and he gave birth to the first type of latex paint, and it was called Kem Tone, and I was used mostly as well paint. So that was a huge success because, unlike the oil based paints commercializing cans, it didn't contain lead. In the 19 thirties, casing started being tubed. So Fine Artist's and Illustrator's didn't have to make their own paint anymore. So fine artist started using them more, and they mostly use it as under paintings for their oil and even started using Casey and instead of oils. Because casing has washed capabilities of watercolor, it has the smooth capacity of gua sh and the rich texture of oils and acrylic paints. So, like wash, it was loved by else traitors because it dries fast and has a velvety matte finish, which makes the paintings easy to photograph. But leg wash. Also, it started losing popularity when acrylic paint was made commercially available in the 19 fifties, so Casey in is one of the oldest mediums known yet one of the least familiar Today. Next we'll talk about casings, properties 3. Properties: casing is a water soluble medium, just like watercolor washn, acrylic and its shares many qualities with these mediums, and yet it stands out on its own paints. I'll start with the same ingredients. The pigments, where the different types of paints very, is how small the pigments are ground and what binders is used to hold those pigments together. For instance, watercolor and wash. They often have gum, Arabic or honey as a binder, yet watercolors usually transparent and washes opaque. So the main difference between the two is that watercolor uses finer pigments that dissolve and spread mawr on paper, and that's leading the papers show through. Wash has larger pigments that covered the surface of the paper more, and it's making the paint more opaque. The same goes with K seen, however, with K seen. The binder is the milk protein that gives its name to the paint. Casing is very similar to quash. It's a bit sicker than wash, and it's opaque. But unlike wash, when the paint is dry on the paper, it's not as easy to reactivate, especially if it's a thin layer of paint or if the paint has been dry for a while. So it's a bit like acrylic to which is also a water medium. Acrylic does not reactivate it all and dry, shiny while casing and quash. They have a matte finish when they're dry. Now what you need to know is that Casey in has a funny smell, although I quite like it in a weird way. And some people either like it or don't. But as far as I know, it's not toxic. And also the paint is very light fast, so you paintings will last for very long time without fading away. Something else you to know is that lighter colors dry a bit darker and darker colors drive it lighter, and that's because when the paint is mixed with water, it tends to make you change tones. When the water evaporates and the paint dries, the rial color reappears. It's the same with water colleague washn acrylic, but the color shift shows more with some mediums and others. So because Case intends to be a bit more like acrylic when it comes to reactivating it, it has a limited palate life. What I mean by that is that after a couple of days, it won't be as nice. If you try to reactivate it on the palate, there will be some little pieces that are dry that won't melt anymore with the water. So don't make yourself a casing. Palate just used a paint fresh as much as she can. You can save it. You can keep it a couple days. It'll be should be fine, depending on the type of whether you have. But I wouldn't keep it longer than that on your palate. So that also means don't squeeze too much paint at a time. Only squeeze what you need on your ballot. The last thing you need to know is that casing can be varnished, and if you do so, it can actually make your paintings look more like oil paintings. And when it is done properly, the paintings can last a lot longer than oil paintings. Next, we'll be talking about the supplies you'll need for our project. I'll see you then 4. Supplies: for a painting today will be using only two colors. The ivory black in the titanium white. Because when you're getting familiar with the new medium, it's easier to use just a few callers. It helps you focus more on the medium itself in his properties, rather than trying to find out the right color for your painting. So black and white will give us a nice range of grace and will be able to make a monochromatic painting with all the values we need. So now for the brushes. We need some synthetic brushes because the natural bristles don't work as well. With K seen there be too soft because casing is thicker than water color and, in its bouncier bristles to be able to be pushed around on the paper. So I'm going to be using a around six around three and around one as well as a Filbert four . So the Browns brushes are great because they have a pointy tip. So it's great to read details, and the filbert helps to add more paint and push it around. And it's nice because it has a rounded edge, and it's just very versatile for the paper. I'll be using a watercolor paper and £240. You can pick watercolor paper or mixed media paper. Doesn't really matter. The one I have here is a five by seven block. It's 100% cotton. It's cold press and its fabric and no artistic. Oh, it's 100 and £40 as I said earlier, So I'm very picky when I use water Cola paper with my watercolors. But for washing Casey and I find that any thick paper will were fined, so there's no need to buy any expensive watercolor paper. Just make sure that, um, it's at least £140 because we're gonna use it with water so you don't want it to buckle. And I picked this one again just because I had it on hand. Now because this is a block and all the pages are stuck together, it helps prevent the paper from buckling when you add water. But, um, if you just using a blue sheet, you can just, ah, tape it down on either your desk or a drawing boards. We can use washi tape or painter state. Also, I chose a five by seven format because I believe that when you try a new medium, it's easier and less frustrating to start small. So here again the choice is yours. If you have a larger piece of paper and you want to work larger, that's fine. It's up to you, but you can always cut it down to the size you want. Next, you'll need a cup of water or two. You can have one Ah, that you use to clean your brushes and another one that has clean water to add to your washes. But since we're going to do a monochromatic painting, it's really not that necessary to have two of thumb. But it's up to you. And finally, you'll need the palate also, and I like to use this ceramic tile. I got it at my hardware store for a dollar or two. I forgot, and I like I like I like it very much because Thea, um, you can see that I still have some paint on it. But yeah, I like it very much because the paint mixes very nicely on it, and also it's very, very easy to clean and it doesn't get stained, and here again, it's up to you can use anything for palate. You can use a paper plate if you want or your favorite palette. Whatever you have is fine, so that's about it. For the supplies you will need for this painting off course, you need a graphite pencil or mechanical pencil to draw your little spoon before you paint it and an eraser if you make mistakes. If you're going to transfer the line drawing, you can use tracing paper or transfer paper. That's thing that is not necessarily needed for your for the painting that we're going to do today. That's extra stuff that pretty much everybody already has. Now, if you're watching this glass and don't have the casing yet on, but you still want to start painting, you can always replace casing with quash. If you have a black and white, it's not quite the same, but it's going to give you an idea. Although the washes easily reactivated when wet and casing is not so, you might find it easier with K scene. But if you're familiar with wash already, then you should know what to expect Next. We're going to see how to apply the paint on the paper, how to mix it with water and to make your washes so I'll see you in the next video 5. How To Mix Casein: Now I'm gonna show you how to mix your paint and how you can actually use it. So I mentioned that you can dilute it with water easily, and you can make nice washes so you can do Grady INTs with just water. If you add a lot of water can, even more than this, you can get very thin dat washes, and then the more pigments you add, the darker your washes will be. And eventually you just have. I barely know water and just pure pigments. I hope your paint it will be nice and opaque. So when you use it like this is just like using watercolor and you using the white of the paper to create the different values. But because the pigments are sacred and watercolor did not as fine as watercolors, it might not look very nice. And, um, and clean is with watercolor washes. Now, another way to work on your values is to just mix your color with white, just like when you just add water. Um, the more white you add Thea lighter, the value will be, but you can create washes that are opaque and not have to depend on the white of the paper to show through. So again, you just add more and more black to make darker and darker washes, and eventually you can just put black by itself. You can see the difference between the two, and I think that using the white makes for a cleaner Grady int, because if I'm using K scene is because I want. The opaque results rather than the wash, however, will use this technique for the very first layer of our painting just to establish the values. And once that sun will just add the Morro pick colors, we can apply your paint right out of the tube without any water. But it's very, very thick, and if you don't put any water, it's a little hard to get fine details. But it's possible you can even use a palette knife. They create impossible effects. However, you need to realize that, um, when you do this, you paint is gonna be pretty sick. And, like Pugwash once it's dry. If your paint is very thick, it's very prone to cracking, so you can still do it, just not on paper. Um, not even on canvas. Your you should be using ah heart surface like like a wood panel or something similar now for our painting, because it's not gonna be very big, and it does have some fine details. If you want the paint to flow nicely and smoothly, you're gonna have to add the just the right amount of water for the paint to stay opaque, but to flow without any problem, because when you use a very fine brush, if you paint is not diluted and off, you cannot create details. You wanted to be creamy like, um, a little sicker than milk consistency, but not much more. Maybe heavy cream. If there's not enough water, then it'll be more like dry brush and you will have hard time with the details, So play around with this with the consistency of your mixes. Blight on paper, See ah, how it works. See how much water you need to have the effects that you want, And once you familiar with the consistency of the paint and how much water you like to use , then you can move on to step one off our project. Next, we'll be talking about the very first layer of our painting 6. First Layer: before you get started with your painting transferred, The line drawing of the spoon onto your watercolor paper can either sketch right onto your paper or use the line drawing that I've attached to the lesson and trace it or just raised the photo itself. And you can also use transfer paper to do the same thing. The choice is yours. I personally prefer to trace or transfer my sketches because I'm always afraid that if I sketch right onto my paper, if I make any mistakes and I raised too much, is might damage the surface of my watercolor paper. So that's why I like transferring my sketches better now for the next three lessons, I would suggest to watch each video once and then watch it again as you paint along. For instances, lesson is about the first layer so you can watch it through and then watch it again as you're painting and you'll be better prepared and you'll know ahead of time what you're supposed to do. So for layer one, our goal is to establish the values. It's always daunting to start a painting with the white of the paper or of a canvas, so This is what I like to do. I like to just, like cover it'll with color or black and white or whatever color you've chosen and then establish the values. It just gives me a first step, and once that's done, then I can work from there and add details so we won't be paying much attention to the details for now. And we're going to use a lot of water to create a very light wash, just like we did in the previous lesson. We want to be able to see the paper shine through the paint, but this time we won't just makes the black casing with water, will mix it with white and then diluted with water. It will give us a nice diluted gray, and we need to remember that as we're building the values, we always need to keep an eye on the reference photo. So for this part of the spoon, I started with the mid tones, and then I used the white of the paper for the highlights. And then I painted the shadows and I worked on the handle of the spoon the exact same way, so we can add more or less black tore mix, but it's important to try and keep the same amount of water for the shadow of the spoon on the table. I worked wet on wet, so I use clean water to cover the whole surface of the shadow. And then I applied the paint and let it spread. I found that it was pretty easy to push the paint around on the paper while the washer still wet, and I made sure that the points of contact of the spoon with the table look darker than the rest. That is the very end of the handle in the back of the spoon that's touching the table and last before the wedding, what wash was dry with a clean them brush? I tried to feather it out, making it bleed a bit outside my outline, and that's gonna help me later on to give it a soft look once I add my more opaque paint. Uh, next we'll talk about how to apply the second thicker layer 7. Second Layer: once the first layer is completely dry, then we can move on to the second layer. We can keep our palette as it is, and in fact will keep it as it is, until the end of the painting will only be adding more this water and pulling in more white or black as needed. So as you can see, we start mixing the paint exactly the same way as we did for the first layer, except that we put a lot less water. So we have a little pull of black and a little pool of white, and we just mix them together to prepare the mid terms. - Then I made a mixture off, not just black, because I think pure black would be way too dark. But I did add a little bit of gray in it, and I am covering all the shadows in that part of the spoon. I need to be really careful not to go outside of the lines, so a smaller brush is necessary. In this case, however, the paint is a bit thicker this time, so the filbert is helpful because I can paint a lot of details with it and still push the paint around, even though it's a little thicker. Once again, I always keep my eyes on the reference photo, and I always just the values as I go. As you may remember in the class about the properties we talked about, how the colors darken, enlighten once they're try. So as I add more layers in different places, I always go back to the previous application once it's dry or it's drying and I just the value as I need it. As you can see before the paint is dry, it's very easy to blend. All the colors and values together doesn't dry instantly. So you do have a little time frame to adjust and blend and smooth out the surface as you wish. And because on the photo off the spoon you can see that the shadows are not straight lines everywhere, with some some places they are. But in most areas there there are blended. There's a Grady int between the lights and the shadows, and working with the casing before it tries really helps blending the paint. - For the highlight, I use basically pure white, which I blend on the edges. So for a while they're not gonna be pure white because some gray's gonna mix with its but later on, ADM or white to it. And it's gonna pop out more. Now. The good thing about K seen just like wash is that because it's opaque. If you make mistakes and you don't define your shadows and your highlights, don't put them in the right place the first time around. It's no big deal. You can always go over it with another layer of paint, so it's a very forgiving Meet him for that. So at this point again, I'm basically adjusting my values, pulling the dark and the whites trying to make them look as much like the picture as possible. I'm not going for perfection, but I'm trying to be as accurate as I can. I'm working the exact same way on the handle. As I'm going down the handle, I'm adding all the different values that I see, and I don't look at it as a spoon. Really. I look at it as blocks of colors or blocks of grays. If you struggle a little bit to add highlights like weiter values, it's OK because you're probably not waiting for the layer to dry. So just work on another area or weight, or even use a hair dryer to make sure that your layers old dry. And once it is, you can add your whites on top and there will be a lot more pick. They will not be mixing with the previous layer. With this painting, I was being a bit too impatient, and I didn't really wait for their layers to dry. So I had to go over them several times because as I was mixing the whites or the lighter graze, they became dark not only because of the shift of values once it dries, but also because he was mixing with the other colors. So I took a round brush to start writing a few details. And again, I'm not too worried of not being exact just yet. All I'm trying to do is not to go outside of the line, but if my lines on straight and if it's not perfect, it's OK because once it's dry, I can go over it again and make corrections. - So once you happy with your values and your opaque layers, make sure you let your painting try and then we'll be adding the final details. So next we'll be talking about those final details 8. Details: now for the fun part, still working with the same palette and still making sure that AH previous layer is totally dry. It's now time to work on the final value adjustments in adding the details. As you can see, I don't have a very steady hand, so painting a fine line like this is not very easy for me. However, I don't really mind. I'm not making something perfect. It's a painting and as I mentioned before, a casing is so forgiving that if I mess up my lines, I can always correct it by adding another layer of paint over it. So that's really not a problem, and there's no need to stress over it. So at this point, and more than ever looking at the reference picture because I'm adding the details. So I saw that on the black line of the spoon, which is really an indent welds darker than the other areas because the light doesn't go in very much. However, right under that line, the light hits there's a pretty sharp highlight it. So I going with pretty much pure white to make a very nice contrast, and you will see that that sharp contrast really helps to spoon looking more riel. So I messed up again with the white, and I really wish I had a steadier hand. But again, this is a big deal. I can fix it, adding more, more black, So it's no problem. So since I started working on this part of the spoon, I'm just working by sections. I might go back later on, but I'm trying to just finish each section at a time. So I added a few more highlights and, um, and shadows on the right section of the handle for the middle of the handle. I noticed that there was also ah, sharper contrast and what I had before. So I added some darker grays and, um, and some highlights closer to that black line. So all it is really is looking at the reference photo and looking at all those different blocks of grays in trying to define the shapes of those different blocks. And they keep in mind that my whites or my lighter highlights will darken as they dry. So I keep this in mind because once it's all dry, I might have to adjust that again. I might not because the darks might lighten, but I will have to keep an eye on it once I'm I'm done to make sure that I have the good contrast. Something that I like is something that looks good for a nice dramatic effect. I use pure white for the highlight on the handle. - If you remember on the lesson about how to mix your paint, I talked about the quantity of water to use when you have to make fine details. And here we have a perfect example to create the in dense on that spoon handle so that you don't drag the paint so that it's easy to flow and nice and smooth on your paper. You get to make sure that you get the perfect consistency you can if you want. If you still not very familiar with the paint, you can have a piece of scratch paper next to you. And as you mix your color, you can try it on the paper to see if using your fine brush with that mix will help you create a nice, crisp line and flow nicely on your paper. - At this point, I'm pretty happy with the handle, so I start working on the other part of the spoon, and I decided to darken the shadows. I really want to give a nice, sharp contrast. And so making the highlights lighter and the shadow darker will give me that effect in general, whether you drove with the graphite pencil or you paint of what helps you create. A more realistic painting or drawing is the sharp contrast between your shadows and your lighter areas. If you mostly have mid tones than your drawing or your paintings going to look flat, if you have a nice contrast, then it will add depth to your work. So now it's time to work on the shadow, and we're not gonna leave it all our light like it was before. We're going to make it opaque as well. - So I started with a mid tone, and looking at the reference photo, I noticed that some parts of it are lighter than others. So the left part of the shadow is more in the light if it makes sense, and so it's a little lighter than the right side of this shadow, and I'm talking about the shadow off the handle and also the points of contact of the spoon with the table There are darker, obviously. So I have to make sure that my Grace are darker there and I do not cover the whole water down wash. If you remember, we left a little feathered area. So this will let it show. Because again, if you look at the reference photo there, there is a very light shadow like that. That's the reason why we did it at the first place to let it show through. So once I'm happy with the shadow, I go back in. Add the final final details to make sure that it looks as realistic as I can. I adjusted the lines also that were not very straight or try to at least. And I try to tone down a bit that very white shadow that I had on the edge of the spoon because it popped out a bit too much for my liking. And so that's it. Once I'm pretty happy with the result. I just stopped because if I said overworking it, then it's gonna mess it up. - And here's our shiny spoon painted with K scene. I hope I'll get to see yours very soon. Stick around for the very last lesson where we're going to sum up what we've just done 9. Final Thoughts: I hope that you enjoyed learning about k seen and that you had fun working on your project . Remember to share your progress as well as your final painting. And if you want to practice more, you can always find an easy subject that interests you and do a monochromatic painting of it. Now, please don't think that monochromatic only means black and white. You can pick any color you like. Some colors are more effective than others. But you can easily achieve beautiful results with a blue. For instance, even if blue is not the color of your subject. So play around and experiment and have lots of fun. I'd personally be happy to see what else you do with your casing paint. So thank you very much for taking this class. I hope to see you soon in my next one. Have a wonderful day. Bye bye.