Make Colorful Textures and Backgrounds with Acrylic Paint | Keren Duchan | Skillshare

Make Colorful Textures and Backgrounds with Acrylic Paint

Keren Duchan, Doodler, Teacher

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9 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. 01 Welcome!

      2:14
    • 2. 02 Supplies

      1:56
    • 3. 03 Dry Brush Basics (One Color)

      2:27
    • 4. 04 Colorful Experiment

      3:13
    • 5. 05 Colorful Experiment Continues

      4:39
    • 6. 06 Assessment

      3:24
    • 7. 07 Applications

      5:44
    • 8. 08 Bonus Lesson: Ombre Effect and Wash

      6:09
    • 9. 09 Your Assignment

      1:11

About This Class

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In this class, we’re going to free ourselves from the white page using acrylic paint. It’s going to be really easy, and a lot of fun.

I’ll walk you through a few examples, and as always, you’re more than welcome to try many more variations you come up with yourself.

We’ll start off with some basic dry brush textures in one color, and move on to using more colors and trying out all sorts of brush strokes to get a larger variety of textures and backgrounds. We’ll look through the results of our experiment and assess which ones we especially liked and how we might apply them to a future creative project.

This class also includes a bonus lesson for getting a softer look with acrylics, by creating an ombre effect and by experimenting with diluted acrylic paint to create a wash.

The pages we’ll make can be used as a background for doodling, illustration, mixed media art, hand lettering, calligraphy, collage, greeting cards, wrapping paper, and so much more! You can scan them and use them as textures in digital art, or as a wallpaper for your desktop or smartphone. They could also be an abstract and colorful painting all on their own.

Experimenting helps you discover new things, but more importantly, it frees you up from fear of creating, and fear of messing up. Allow yourself to experiment, and it’ll be easier for creativity to flow, and easier to get unstuck.

Even if you’ve never picked up a paintbrush, you’ll be able to make these backgrounds literally in minutes. So this class is suitable for absolute beginners as well as for artists and crafters of all levels.

Acrylic paint is easy to use, easy to clean, and it comes in many vibrant colors, including neon and metallic colors. It’s  inexpensive, versatile, and dries fast.

Are you ready to join me in this creative experiment? Click enroll, and let’s get started!

Transcripts

1. 01 Welcome!: Hi, I'm Karen, and in this class, we're going to free ourselves from the white page using acrylic paint. We'll make these super easy, super fast, one of a kind colorful textures and backgrounds. It's going to be really easy and a lot of fun. We'll start off with some basic drive brush textures in one color, and move on to using more colors and trying out all sorts of brush strokes to get a larger variety of textures and backgrounds. We'll look through the results of our experiment and assess which ones we've especially liked, and how we might apply them to a future creative project. This class also includes a bonus lesson for getting a softer look with acrylics, by creating an ombre effect and by experiments with diluted acrylic paint to create a wash. The pages we'll make can be used as a background for doodling, illustration, mixed media art, hand lettering, calligraphy, collage, greeting cards, graphing paper, and so much more. You can scan them and use them as textures in digital art, or as a wallpaper for your desktop or smartphone. They could also be an abstract and colorful painting all on there own. I found that I draw differently over different backgrounds. Somehow, the colors and textures evoke different thoughts and take my art to new places. I hope this experiment helps you get creative and grow your confidence with your art-making and have fun with it. Experimenting helps you discover new things, but more importantly, it frees you up from fear of creating and fear of messing up. Allow yourself to experiment, and it'll be easier for creativity to flow and easier to get unstuck. Even if you've never picked up a paint brush, you'll be able to make these backgrounds literally in minutes. So this class is suitable for absolute beginners, as well as for artists and crafters of all levels. Acrylic paint is easy to use, easy two clean, and it comes in many vibrant colors, including neon and metallic colors. It's inexpensive, versatile, and it dries fast. So are you ready to join me in these creative experiments? Click Enroll, and let's get started. 2. 02 Supplies: In this lesson, we'll go over the supplies you'll need. For this class, all you need is some acrylic paint, a pallet, some brushes, and some paper. I use this simple plastic palette, but you can also use a lid of a plastic container or even scrap paper as a palate. Don't use your expensive brushes. I use these inexpensive, medium and large flat brushes with bristles that aren't too soft, because it's easier to create a dry brush effect with them. Your brush should be large enough to be comfortable to fill in a large area on the paper. I will also be using a large round brush. You don't need to buy anything especially for this class, use what you have on hand. For paper, I like to use inexpensive card stock. You can also use kraft paper or even up cycle the paper from a brown paper bag. You can use printer paper, it'll work, but it might become wavy from the moisture of the paint, and it might make this experiment harder for you. Don't use expensive paper like Bristol board or other artist grade paper. We'll be using up a few sheets of paper and it would be a waste to use good paper when the inexpensive paper will do. I cut my A4 size paper up into four pieces, I also use large sheets of paper, like half of A4 size or the whole A4 size, if I feel I need more space for something I want to try. As for paint, any acrylic paint will do, the brand doesn't matter at all. Choose colors that you like, and try mixing lighter shades of paint using white and darker or stronger colors. You'll also need some newspaper or any large sheet of scrap paper to protect your work surface. In the next lesson, we'll make some basic dry brush textures using one color. 3. 03 Dry Brush Basics (One Color): In this lesson, we're going to make some dry brush textures using one color. I'm mixing a light shade of turquoise in order not to get a strong contrast with the white of the paper. But you can experiment with darker colors as well. In order to get a dry brush effect, I put a little bit of paint on the brush and wipe off the excess on the palate and on scrap paper. The dry brush leaves a textured pattern and directional markings depending on the direction of the brushstrokes. Here I'm using more paint to get a uniform background. The bristles of this brush aren't very soft, so they leave marks in the surface. If you prefer a smoother background than this at another coder to after this coat dries or try using a brush with soft or bristles. Here, I make something in between the last two experiments, a little bit of solid color and a little bit of dry brush. With sum practice, you'll get a feeling of how much paint is on your brush more or less. I don't have full control, but that's okay. We're experimenting and happy accidents are our friend. This one is a lot of fun. I swirl the brush on the paper to get a circular texture. You can try this with larger or smaller motions or with a smaller brush to get different variations of this texture. Here I tried to make a starburst pattern by painting across the center of the page in all directions. In this one, I applied the brush to the paper in a crisscross motion, like a basket weave pattern. I really like this one and it would be interesting to experiment with it further. In this last one, I'm not sure what I was going for. I maid some blotchy marks and ended up defining them a bit more towards the end. When I experiment, I oftentimes wander without knowing where I'm going or what I'll find. I like when that happens, give yourself permission to experiment and flow. Don't worry about the results. You might like some more than others and that's okay. It's all part of the experiment. hear are the textures [inaudible]. Now it's your turn. Experiment with different brush strokes and different amounts of paint on your brush to seen which textures you can make. What did you come up with? I'd love to see it. Take a photo of your experiments and upload them to your project down below. In the next lesson, we'll experiment some more with dry brush painting using more than one color. 4. 04 Colorful Experiment: Now that we've warmed up and gotten familiar with our paints, in this lesson, we'll do a wild and free experiment with as many colors as we like. Make sure you have enough paper ready, and your brushes and paint setup, and let's go. I started off with diagonal dry brush strokes in one color, then added another color in the other direction. Paint that was applied using dry brush strokes is pretty dry because there's very little paint. So I don't have to waited for the paint to dry before applying the second color. In this next one, I mix a dark magenta with white. You can see that I have a bit of the dark magenta on my brush as well. That wasn't intentional. It happens as part of allowing myself to mess up and to experiment. Then I added some light turquoise, and you can see that the first color wasn't dry, so the colors mix a little bit. The more I brush at it, and the more firmly I apply my brush to the paper, the more the colors mix. So it depends on how dry the first layer is, as well as how you apply the second layer. I don't have all of my colors prepared in advance. I like to add them as I go along. You can choose whether to work messy like I'm doing here, or to be more tidy and methodical in preparing your workspace and colors. I want to add more colors to this one, but I want it to dry first. So I put it aside and work on another one in the meantime. Most of the time, I don't plan my experiments. I just go with whatever comes to mind and what I have on the palate and what I see on the paper and flow with it. Sometimes the best ideas emerge that way. I don't clean my brush between each color, which is why I have flecks of other colors in my work. When I realize that my brush is already too muddy and I'm losing too much control of the color, I wash it off in the sink and dry it well with a paper towel. If you prefer cleaning your brush as you go along, go ahead. Just be sure to dry it off very well before applying more color. Otherwise, your paint will take a long time to dry, and it'll be harder to experiment more freely. You can see in these experiments that I could have stopped at any point in the middle, rather than kept going. It's okay if I overwork a piece, it's part of the learning process. There's always more paper to be heard, and more experimenting to be done. Don't hold yourself back. Use your good judgment regarding when to stop, but don't be afraid to go to far. I love the streaky effects the dry brush creates. I can't get enough of it. Now I come back to the won I started before, after it has dried. I add some circular dry brush texture in a dark blew to get a strong contrast with the background. I really like this one, especially towards the end, where I left some stronger streaks. The way I work is sometimes messy and free and not meticulous. When I do that, the results are sometimes messy and muddy and sometimes really cool. But for me, working like this eliminates all anxiety and stress, and I forget myself and have a lot of fun. Take a photo of your experiments and upload them to your project down below. In the next lesson, we'll continue this experiment, trying some different ideas in brushstrokes and see what we'll come up with. 5. 05 Colorful Experiment Continues: In this lesson, we'll continue experimenting. Hopefully by now you're feeling more relaxed and at ease with your experiments. I don't always use a palette for my paint. Sometimes I apply some paint directly onto the paper. If it works, why not? I added a contrasting pink onto the dark blue, but I guess I wasn't too happy with it, so I blended it out. Then I took a bit of the light turquoise paint and made these large circular marks, I love this one. I had no idea was going to make it until the very moment that I did. That's the great thing about experimentation. It takes you to new and exciting and fun places. The results that came up in your favorite experiments can be incorporated in future projects. By experimenting, you're building up a library of designs, textures, and colors that you can pull from whenever you need to. These creations are all your own. Here, I tried to use circular marks and didn't like it, so I covered it up and kept going from there. Nothing is permanent, if you don't want it to be. So there is no reason to be afraid to make a mistake. I put this won aside to dry so that I can apply more colors later without them mixing with the background. Dry brush marks are so striking and powerful. I love them. Going back to this one. Now that it's dry, I add some dry brush in yellow and some hot pink. As I work, I have some control over the amount of paint I apply. Sometimes I apply a lot of paint in one brushstroke and leave it, and sometimes I go over it again with the brush to soften and blend it out. I make it up as I go along. These experiments don't have to be perfect. You might like some more than others, that's to be expected. Here I see that my brushes contaminated with too many colors, so it was time for me to clean it out. I wash out the brush in a cup or in the sink and dry it very thoroughly using a paper towel. In this experiment, I made patches of color that cover the whole page. It looks like an abstract painting. Since I applied many colors with the same brush, my colors were getting mixed up again, but I liked the results, so I kept going with it. Here's a good example of applying a lot of paint versus dry brush. There is a lot of pink paint on the write and a lot of dry brush effect on the left. I applied several streaks of blue paint without going over them again. So they stayed bold and with a strong contrast against the background. This one also looks like an abstract painting. In this one, I thought it would be fun to experiment with some zig-zag patterns using a smaller round brush and then add some dots in copper. This one is so happy and fun, when I apply metallic paint, I try not two spread it too thin. It usually looks more striking when there's a lot of paint on the paper. Experiment with your metallic paints and seen if you reach the same conclusion as I did. At this point, I felt like taking a break and winding down the experiment. So I used up the paints I had in my palette. There's no point in them going to waste. I like how this magenta contaminated with blue looks, and I love hot pink. Since the background was so dark, I thought it would be interesting to add some white. The paint in the background was still wet, so the circular brushstrokes picked up some of the background paint and mixed in with the white. I love this effect. It's the thing that emerges when I work more messy and free. This is a page I made several days ago that I didn't particularly like. So I reused it by covering it up with paint and trying something new. I think this one looks pretty bad, but that's okay. We're here to experiment and learn what we love and what not so much. For me, the more I experiment, the messier my table top becomes, there is paint everywhere, time stops and paint flows, and at the end of it, I don't exactly remember what I made. I literally had to watch the video recording to get a sense of what went on. In this last one, I added light-blue strokes on a blue background. That was a lot of experimentation. Now, it's your turn. How did your experiments go? Did you enjoy the process? Did you learn something new? Take a photo of your experiments and write down your thoughts about the process and about what you discovered and share it in your project down below. I would love to see your work and red about your experience. In the next lesson, we'll look through the results of our experimentation and assess what we liked best about them and what elements we might like to use in the future. 6. 06 Assessment: In this lesson, we'll review the results of our experiments. When we were experimenting, we were in the moment focusing on the paper and paint, controlling the brush and having a blast. Now, after cleaning up, taking a break, and letting the paint dry and our thoughts settle for a bit, we can come back and see what we created. Maybe take a closer look and even jot down some ideas that we'd like to take to the next level and use in a future project. I'll take a look at my creations and share what I think. Starting with these first ones, where I used the light color so as not to have too strong a contrast with the background. I think they're great. As a super-fast background for a note, this could also be a background for labels of jars or boxes. All around, this background works well with text on it because it's not to noisy. So it could work well for hand lettering or calligraphy. I liked this swirly one. This one could be great as a repeated pattern for fabric and I like the balance of solid color and dry brush in this one. You can take a photo or scan these pages in and play around with the colors and Photoshop or using any other image editing software to get an idea how these textures look in different hues. Lets look at the more colorful ones now. These two are all around pretty nice to doodle on, in black or in white. They could also work nicely for wrapping paper. This won is a bit too noisy, I'd like two try it again while having less contamination between the boxes of color. I like this one a lot. I keep rediscovering that I love combinations of red and blew or pink and blue. The streets of blue on the sighed are really nice. This could work as so many things. As mixed media piece all on its own, as wrapping paper, as a decoration for a box or a greeting card. I love these white swirls. I'd like to try this again, but with a less noisy background color. This one, as I said before, is pretty bad, it makes me smile. You can always recycle the ones you don't like or reuse the front or the back of the page. This one, I think is too dark. This one is so happy, it could work well as an abstract painting in a children's room, maybe in different colors. That's just an idea, it might work for other things as well. I don't like these two, I guess I'm not a big fan of yellow. The color combination and the overall look is not my favorite. I'll probably recycle these. I like this swirly one, but again, maybe I'll try to make something similar but with a simpler background. This one I love, it's my favorite. I like the color combination as well as the simplicity of the design. I'm keeping the ones I like for future reference. What did you discover when you reviewed the results of your experiments? Which ones do you like best and which ones do you like least? Do you have an idea for a project you'd like to make using one of the ideas from your experimentation? Share your findings in your project below. I can't wait to seen what you came up with and what you thought of your experiment. In the next lesson, we'll review sum ideas for where you can apply and incorporate these textures and backgrounds. 7. 07 Applications: In this lesson, we'll go over some ideas for how these textures and backgrounds can be applied and used. I'll show you some examples of where I've used acrylic paint as a background or a texture in my art and DIY projects and I'll give you some other ideas as well. Doodling. For me, these acrylic experiments all started because I wanted to add some color to my doodles. After having tried adding colors using markers, I thought I might try acrylic paint, so I did and I absolutely fell in love with it. I doodled many pages in my sketchbooks over acrylic backgrounds. At first, I made these backgrounds in a mixed media sketchbook. But as much as I enjoyed doodling in this sketchbook, I soon realized that it would be more cost effective to bought a craft paper sketchbook or any other sketchbook with sturdy paper and use that instead. That was more or less when I realized that these backgrounds can be applied to any surface, and that I was now free from the blank white page if I ever wanted to be. Acrylic paint was a stepping stone for me to try out mixed media and to add another level of interest to my doodles. I still enjoy doodling over white paper, but I love the doodles I made over acrylic painted backgrounds. Illustration. I haven't done much illustrations so far, but these backgrounds are one way to make a line or drawing more colorful and fun. Mixed media and collage. Acrylic paint is a wonderful tool for a mixed media piece, alongside pens, markers, glue, paper, found objects, photographs, stamps, and so on. You could paint a texture using acrylic paint, then cut it up and use it in a collage or a mixed media piece, rather than using it as a background for the piece. These cutouts strips could be fun additions and decorations to a note or a label, to your sketchbook or note book covers and more. Wrapping paper. You can create unique and customized wrapping paper in minutes. Here's an impromptu gift wrapped using wrapping paper I created in minutes, using an upcycled brown paper bag. I like that I get to choose the colors and the tones of the wrapping paper on the spot in order to personalize it according to the colors that the recipient of the gift loves. Hand lettering. Anyone and everyone can do hand lettering. You don't need two be a polish tan letter to write words and letters in a decorative way. Your handwriting is your unique voice, the wonkier it is the more character it has. The acrylic backgrounds, we practices making in this class are great for writing on with a bold marker or with a fine liner pen. You could also form letters by cutting out from the colorful backgrounds you created. The possibilities are limitless. Calligraphy. The acrylic textures we've created in class can be a unique background for calligraphy. Acrylic paints sometimes leaves a rough surface, but that can be overcome either by using a brush for forming your letters, rather than a dip pen which might snag on the paint, or by smoothing down the surface with fine sandpaper. Experiment and see what works for you. DIY envelopes. These are some DIY envelopes I made using paper I painted with acrylic, using the techniques we learned in this class. Paper crafts. If you're into any paper craft, try painting the paper before or after crafting your paper creation to get a customized and unique result. You don't need to find the right paper or stock up on all colors of paper. You can always color your paper anyway you like, whether you enjoy paper crafts as an adult or as a fun and engaging activity with kids. Acrylic paint is a great tool for taking your paper crafts to the next level. Greeting cards. You can incorporate these acrylic textures and backgrounds as part of a handmade greeting card for a friend or a loved one. Boxes. I'm addicted to boxes, including inexpensive cardboard boxes and shoe boxes. Painting these boxes with acrylic is one way for me to up cycle them and make them more colorful and fun. Abstract art. These backgrounds are a good way to get familiar with acrylic paint, and a great starting point for an abstract art piece and acrylic which you can paint on paper, canvas, or a wood board, and you can frame and display it at home. Digital art. If you're into making digital art, you can use these backgrounds as textures and patterns for your digital creations. You can create desktop wallpapers for your computer or your phone, repeated patterns, unique colors for your digital lettering, and more. Fabric design, pattern design and customized products. Nowadays, it's really easy to get a handmade design printed for you on fabric, or on a mug, or on a phone case, or on many other products. You can create a repeated pattern or an all over pattern in acrylic and order a product from Society6 or from Redbubble with your acrylic paint creation. I'm sure I missed sum great ideas and applications for acrylic painting, textures and backgrounds. Can you think up of more? Which of these applications appeals to you? Is there a specific acrylic texture you created that you'd like to make into a finished project? Share your thoughts in your project down below. In the next lesson, we'll talk about your assignment for this class. 8. 08 Bonus Lesson: Ombre Effect and Wash: Before we get to your assignment, I have this bonus lesson prepared for you. I thought it would be fun to show you some ways that you can create softer effects using acrylic paint. The first technique we're going to look into is creating an ombre background. The way that is done is by taking two colors, I'm starting off with white and a dark blue. First of all, I'm putting a lot of white and I'm using a relatively smaller flat brush so that I have more control. I'm also using a brush with softer bristles, so that helps get that softer effect. Then I mix in a bit more blue with the white, and I place it down on the paper a little bit further from the white and then move my brush along that lighter blue and back into the white and then back again. It takes a bit of practice, but it's not really hard to do, it's pretty easy to get that nice blend. You don't have to make it a perfect blend, generally you can see the ombre effect on the paper, but it doesn't have to be a perfect blend. You can practice this a few times. I had to practice it a few times to get it to look like this and even this is not perfect. I could probably make it better. In this second example, I was just feeling like having a bit more of a loose and fun effect, so I just put a little bit of the light blue, a little bit of the dark blue, and just went with it. So you don't have to be really calculated and really careful with these experiments. Feel free to try all sorts of brushstrokes. I hope you go off on a wonderful creative tangent with this class and make things that you didn't think of trying before and just from your experiments, they emerged. In this third example, I wanted to show you how easy it is to get an ombre effect or a gradient effect going from a light blue to a purple. Basically, it's the same process as with the white to dark blue. So I start off with this light blue on the one end, and then I add a little bit of the purple to that light blue on my palette and mix it up, then place that purplish light blue near the other light blue that I already placed down and blend them together in that scene where they meet. Then I repeat this process, adding a little bit more purple, and in the final strip, I add that pure dark purple. Since I'm applying a lot of paint, it'll take a little bit longer to dry as opposed to dry brush where there's very little paint. Now, the second technique I wanted to show you is a world of its own and it has to do with using acrylic paint that is very diluted. So I'm using acrylic paint that has a lot of water in it. In this first example, I just want to show you what happens when I add just a little bit of water and then more water and more water. So you can see that the consistency of the paint changes as I do that. For this experiment, I wanted to show you what happens when you add a lot of water, so I'm working with a milky consistency. Obviously, acrylic paint is not watercolor. It's a different medium, but you still get this nice, translucent look to the piece. It looks completely different from dry brush using acrylic paint. Here I was trying to create an ombre effect by putting on some color and then cleaning out my brush and moving on to the point where I have only a brush with water, not with any paint on it. But what happened was my water was very dirty so I couldn't get that effect, but I think it still looks fine. In this example, I was just experimenting, putting brush strokes haphazardly on the page, and having those brush strokes give me a nice texture. I think it actually looks pretty nice. Here again, I went on a tangent and decided to create these curved brush strokes. You can see how the diluted paint moves a little bit like watercolor, it's not watercolor, but it does create really nice effects that you can have a lot of fun with. Now, I'm working on Bristol board paper. I wouldn't recommend working with water on a light weight paper like printer paper. If you try this on mixed media paper, you'll probably get prettier results than this. Here's an example where I used mixed media paper. You can seen that something in the way that the paint dried or was absorbed into the paper created a nice washy effect. I really like it. This is an example of a background that I created on Bristol board. I think that what happened here was the water caused the fibers of the paper to stand up. So the background has a fuzzy look to it, and I really like this. It's a really muted background, but it's not completely solid, and I think I really like this one. It's the simplest thing ever. It's just a flat wash in acrylic paint and so much fun to do. This is my second attempt at creating an ombre wash. I got myself some cleaner water. I started off with this diluted magenta and then added some water gradually in order to get it to fade into white. Now the white is not white paint in this case, it's the white of the paper. From my experience, creating an ombre wash takes a little bit of practice. Not too much, just a few pieces of paper, just flow with it and you'll get better with practice. In this last one, I decided I was going to try out this wavy shape and my colors are very diluted, so they're very watery and there's a little bit of color mixing between the two. I just wanted to see how this looks when it dries. I hope you had fun with this extra bonus class, experimenting with diluted paint, experimenting with creating ombre washes. I would love two see your creations in the project section down below. 9. 09 Your Assignment: Your assignment for this class is to experiment with acrylic paint and share your findings in your project section of this class. What did you discover? Which ones were your favorite? Which ones didn't you like as much? How would you like to apply these acrylic backgrounds and textures in a future project? I encourage you to take the findings from your experiments a step further and create a finished piece, such as a mixed media piece, a collage, a greeting card, a page in your sketchbook, or any other piece you'd like to make. Share photo of your creation in your project down below. Take a look at what other students created and leave them encouraging feedback. If you have any questions, leave a comment in the community section of the class. I'm hear to help. Thank you for participating in this class. I hope you had fun. If you're on Instagram, look me up at artonthefridge. You're always welcome to tag me in your creations and use the hashtag artonthefridge so I can see them. You can also found me on my YouTube channel and on my website. Happy painting.