Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Layers in an animation background painting

There's a big gradient in the sky and small gradients in the far ruins, all accomplished with an airbrush. 

Those color changes are barely visible behind the upper layers of this traditional animation background painting. 

Top layers include tissue paper (or frosted acetate), characters on acetate cels, and a foreground wall with hanging branches and flowers.

Gradients are a key ingredient in any painting, adding dimension, depth and atmosphere. I'll share recipes and strategies in my upcoming video GRADIENTS, which materializes on Friday, 10 September. 

Shari Blaukopf continues: "'Gradients' does not disappoint. Gurney follows each up-close studio study with a more complex on-location sketch that illustrates how he puts each gradient into practice. And as always, every tidbit of information is delivered with intelligence, warmth, and a sprinkling of humour.”

Angela Sung says: "I never knew gradients could be accomplished simply and never thought that you could use so many methods to accomplish them! My favorite method is definitely the 'in-brush gradient.' I cannot wait to try out these techniques and experiment with my future landscapes! But first, let's paint a checked cylinder."


Forrest said...

I once attempted a gradient (on a larger surface) with airbrush and quickly regretted it. The mist got everywhere LOL You really need a proper studio with strong ventilation to use those properly. Now imagine me cleaning everything, and I mean everything LOL Lesson learned.

Looking forward to the video!

Forrest said...

What type of brayer is best for use with oil paint? There is such a variety of materials; with Holbein being extremely expensive, though very well rated.

I work primarily on smooth (DIBOND) surfaces, but sometimes a canvas. I'd imagine a softer material will get you a better gradient in this manner?


James Gurney said...

Forrest, if you want to do your brayer gradient in oil, why not try oil based block printing ink? It's formulated to have the right "sticky" texture. I like the softer brayers, which get the ink into the uneven spots better.

Forrest said...

Thanks, James. I looked at Speedball's oil-based selection online -- there is a limited range of colors, and it's not clear whether you can intermix regular oil colors. I've not touched block printing for ages -- do you know of a brand that may have a richer set of colors.

I also typically work on larger surfaces -- with my preferred being DIBOND, so I have nice, solid flat surface. To get a good gradient here, I imagine I'd need a larger brayer. Some experimenting forthcoming.

James Gurney said...

Forrest, you're beyond me on what you've tried already. After you've tried it out, let me know how it works out (maybe do a post on the Facebook Group "Color in Practice")

Forrest said...

FYI Speedball says:

"Thank you for contacting Speedball Art Products. Unfortunately, we do not recommend mixing any Speedball inks outside of the Speedball Art product line. We only suggest mixing Speedball inks within the same product line. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused."

But, I wonder what medium we could add to oil paint to get a similar texture. Sounds like some experimenting.

James Gurney said...

Forrest, thanks for sharing that statement from Speedball. But without explaining WHY you shouldn't combine their products with others, it just sounds like bulls..t, like they're just trying to maximize sales. I combine and blend and experiment with EVERYTHING (in the water-soluble arena): acrylic, gesso, casein, gouache, and block printing ink. And you know I mix brands of gouache all the time, mostly with happy results.

Forrest said...

Haha! Yes, I suspect you are right on this one. I will have to experiment, with different media. Larger surfaces being more challenging. I can't believe what Holbein charges for their brayers, insane.

Forrest said...

For oil-based paints, apart from a brayer, would one of those small, foam-based rollers work -- I'd be concerned about it absorbing too much oil and thus end up being wasteful. They do make "soft" brayers, which I bet is more what I am looking for, for this application. Your brayer seems to be the standard one?

Matt Dicke said...

Hey Forrest
I did a lot of oil based monotypes and then used rollers with oil paints quite a bit. The difference is probably the vehicle ie burt plate oil for etching inks vs lindseed oil for oil paint. And people mix them all the time. I agree with James that speedball is giving you BS that it's paints don't work with other paints. I would recommend trying a soft oil paint like Windsor and newton or holbein if you want a very smooth flat look. Alternatively a stiffer paint like Gamblin if you want more of an etching ink feel. Both though will give you a roller texture but that is the charm of using brayers. I assume the Dibond board will be more like plexi glass( what i used to print my monotypes from) and would think having a stiffer paint would have better tack and adhesion. I would start there. Happy experimenting.

Matt Dicke said...

HI James
You wouldn't happen to have any more examples of your painted backgrounds from Fire and Ice? I know you have made previous posts but was just curious if you had some more? I find them very inspiring and love the bold colors and mood in them. THanks