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Painting ladybugs over water with acrylic

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Many of my recent paintings have been made using at least one or two reference photos. Therefore I figured it is in my best interest to also try to do a painting solely from my imagination and see how it turns out. So I decided to do another ladybug painting, since I have become very familiar with their anatomy and the way light bounces off of their backs.

My first step was to get out some cardstock paper and my promarkers, copics, and studio 71 markers, as well as a pencil & pen. I sketched out my idea with the pencil and then used the markers to fill it in with color.


I put some effort & attention to detail in the ladybugs, but everything else I just scribbled in. This is generally what I do in my artwork, I add details to the focal points, but everything else I leave fuzzy & somewhat unpolished.

The next step was to get out my gessoed hardboard panel, which already had a dried base coat of light green, and start sketching on it with a pencil, using my marker sketch as a…

Painting a Toucan with Acrylic

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I had wanted to paint a Toucan for a long time, so it was good when I finally found a reference photo of one that I really liked on unsplash.com by Zdenek Machacek.


So I got one of my 11 by 14 inch canvases and sketched the outline.


The toucan looked a bit off balance to me in this sketch, so I began shifting it upwards so everything didn't appear to be sinking into the bottom of the canvas so much.


You can see in this image(above) that I drew a new outline about an inch upwards from where the beak was previously, and an inch upwards above where the branch had been previously also.


Here I filled everything in with color, including most of the background. It is incredibly rough.


I worked on the background a lot using very little blending, and put more detail around the Toucan's eye as well. The only thing left to do at this point was to finish the feet and then add highlights and some polish to the branch and different parts of the Toucan.


Finished! The highlights on the top of…

Three Ladybugs painting process

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Last week I decided I wanted to paint a scene with some ladybugs on leaves with some sunlight reflecting off their backs. So the first step was to get out some paper, a pencil, and some markers and make a little sketch.

I began with a pencil and outlined the ladybugs and some rough leaves. Then I finished the sketch by coloring in everything, making sure to leave white spots on the ladybugs where I wanted the sun to be reflecting off their shells.

The average color of the artwork is going to be a medium green, so I gave a base coat to my cotton canvas of that color. Then I let it dry and did some pencil sketching on the canvas, using my marker sketch as a reference for where the ladybugs should be. You can erase pencil writing on (dried) acrylic to a certain degree if the pencil lines aren't drawn onto the canvas too thick. Once I was happy with the pencil sketching, I went over the linework with dark, almost black acrylic paint, so the shapes would be easier for me to see.


After …

New Blog

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Hello, everyone!

Welcome to my new blog. Here I plan to write about the process and work that goes into each of my paintings. I mostly work with acrylic paint, but I do a lot of sketches with pens, pencils, and markers too.



There is still a lot of work to be done on the design of this blog, but for now it will do. Thanks for reading!

-John