Natural artists do it. Out of all the many technical tools to learn and practice to improve your faux wood technique, I believe the most important one is often overlooked. Natural artists do it without thinking about it. I consider a “natural” to be someone who started drawing and painting on their own at a very young age and kept at it.
I’m not a natural
Like most people, I painted as a kid. I didn’t get serious about it until I was in my late twenties. You don’t have to be a natural to become a master faux wood grain artist.
Whether you’re a natural or not, no worries! It’s easy and fun once you get in the groove.
Here it is, perhaps THE most valuable SECRET to doing amazing paint work and indeed any visual art: LOOK.
If you watch a portrait artist at work you’ll notice that she’s continually looking back and forth between her subject and her drawing. Seems obvious, right? How else is she going to get the information (the shapes and contours of a face) into her head so that she can then put that on the canvass? It’s not obvious to all artists.
The good news is, looking is billable.
Faux Wood Art Masters need models, too
So how does this apply to faux wood technique mastery? Take your time and really look at the piece of real wood you want to match or emulate (herein referred to as your “model”).
Slow down and stare. Take your time. Look at the model from various distances, angles and lighting (in sunlight, florescent, incandescent…).
Leave it alone for a while and then come back and look again; you’ll see aspects of figure and color that you missed before.
Get close. Closer. Closer
If you’re lucky enough to have a physical or “real” model (best) or if it’s in a book (least desirable), you might consider a magnifying glass. If your model is digital (great, but needs to be high resolution) use a zoom feature to really get close and LOOK at what you’re working with.
The Perfect Wood Grain courses include access to high resolution images that can be zoomed in on and studied.
I felt guilty for looking
Have you ever found yourself browsing zillions of pictures in Google Image Search or on web sites with lots of cool art pics?
I used to feel like I was wasting time because I’d get lost in all those amazing examples of faux wood art, hand made furniture and other art.
Then I realized that it’s my job! In fact, it’s a crucial skill that takes practice to develop.
Looking is billable
Now I actually schedule time to look. It’s part of the research I do on some jobs. If I haven’t done similar projects I might have to spend as much as a couple hours examining material similar to what the client wants. I’m not saying you should make it a line item, but you need to make sure to include research in your bid, and a major part of research is looking.
In the Perfect Wood Grain courses, I show you how to build an extensive reference library of photos. It took me many hours of research to learn how to find the best, high res, free images. I save you all that time and effort by showing you where to find the most inspiring and amazing examples of real and painted wood grain so that you’ll have all the models you’ll ever need right at your fingertips!
Thanks for reading and happy graining.