Hello! I hope you all had a great DSD celebration this weekend. I don’t know about you, but I had a lot of fun, and I think I might be a bit worn out now, he he.
In past Art Journaling for Beginners posts we have talked quite a bit about paint. Today I want to show you a simple trick to make your paint look more realistic. I love to paint across multiple layers. But if you just throw a paint layer over several layers in your digi art it does not always look real.
See what I mean? Paint does not have a lot of dimension, so when you layer it across other items that do have dimension and shadowing it can make the entire image look flat. There is a simple fix for that, but it takes several steps, so let me try and walk you through it.
First, drag your paint onto your canvas and position it above the layer you want it to rest on (like in the image above).
Now duplicate this paint layer so that you have two identical layers. Turn off the visibility to one of the layers by clicking on the little eyeball icon on your layers menu, so that you only have one paint layer visible.
Select the visible layer and move it down to sit underneath the more dimensional element your paint was originally resting on. DO NOT move this paint layer right or left at this point or it will no longer be aligned with your top most paint layer. Your image should look like this now
Now, go back to the first, topmost paint layer, and turn the visibility back on and turn off the visibility on the lower layer. Make sure to select the top paint layer so we can work on modifying it. We want to trim this layer of paint so it only fills the space that it shares with the paper directly underneath it – the brown paper. We do this by hovering over the paper layer icon with our cursor (while the paint layer is selected) and holding down CTRL until the little dashed box appears. Then CTRL click on the paper layer icon. This selects only the paint that is on the paper layer. Now we actually want to keep the paint that is on the paper so we go up to the Select menu and choose inverse.
Now we can delete all the extra paint and we should get this
Now we need to trim the lower level paint. This will follow the same basic idea as above, but is a bit simpler. Start by turning off the visibility on the top layer and turning it on for the bottom layer. With the lower level selected, CTRL click on the same brown paper layer as we did earlier. This will select all the paint that is under the paper. This time we DON’T need this portion, so you can go ahead and delete all the paint that is under the paper.
Now turn on the visibility for both layers. As you can see, if we leave it like this there is not much difference, just a faint line where the edge of the paper is.
But this is where we work our magic.
From my experience, when painting across layers in real life, the edges of paper tend to pick up paint, so I like to leave the top layer alone. The bottom layers however, usually miss some of the pressure. In addition, often when the top layer gets wet with paint it will curl a bit and reveal the paper underneath. So go ahead and select the bottom paint layer and with your arrow keys on the key board move it away from the paper piece. This creates a gap between the paint on the paper piece and the paint on the background. You don’t want to move it too far away, just three to five spaces. And you can move it up or down a space or two as well to create more mis-alignment. Here I have moved it three spaces left and two down. If you really want to get fancy, you can go in and rough up the lines a little and make them more organic looking, but that is optional.
Don’t forget to link these layers so if you move one, both will go with you.
Here is my finished page. I went ahead and added some more paint as you can see.
There you have it, one way to make paint look more realistic. I know it seems like a lot of steps at first, but once you practice this a few times it gets pretty easy and is really fun to do on all sorts of elements. It also works really well for stamps.
And for those of you thinking, “Well, I don’t Art Journal!” – this technique is useful in traditional scrapbooking as well.
Here is a page I made layering paint using Pieces of Autumn.
It is your turn now, so give it a go and if you do try this out come back and link me up so I can see what you made!