How to Oil Paint (The Illustrator’s Way) – Part 1
February 26, 2011 § 1 Comment
Hey everyone. So, like I said in my first post, I studied as an illustrator and not as a painter, so I had to teach myself how to use oils. How I do it is probably different than they teach in fine art studios, but hey, it’s okay!
I learned what I could from snippets off the internet and with a lot of trial and error. However, all of the articles I read online assumed the reader already knew how to use oils and just talked about doing different techniques. This was frustrating for a complete beginner. I might as well have been an alien trying to understand Earth speak.
And so, here I am going to teach you everything you need to get started, down to the very basics. Part 1 will focus on what you will need materials-wise.
These are SO important for oil painting. If you don’t already know, oil paints are not soluble with water, meaning they don’t mix and painting won’t work. What I use to make the paint thin and spreadable is linseed oil. It’s like water for these paints…just don’t drink it. (A guy in my class once mixed up his soda cup and his painting cup and…well, he left class real fast). But anyways, linseed oil makes the paint spread like butter. The texture has a great consistency.
Next, I rarely use this, but it’s nice if you’re pressed for time, is Japan Dryer. It’s made by Weber brand and it can speed up a thin coat of paint that would take 3 or 4 days to dry down to only half a day if lucky. It’s crazy stuff. The downside is, I find it’s harder to get vibrant colors with this as it spreads the paint very thin and adds a slight brown color to it.
And lastly is turpentine or paint thinner. Same thing. I use Mona Lisa brand just because it’s cheap and you get a lot for the price. This I use only to clean my brushes. I used to use it as paint thinner like the linseed oil, but again, it makes the paint thin and takes forever to dry. Both Mona Lisa bottles are the same thing. The one in the back with the black background is the newer label and I thought I’d show both just in case you find the older one on a shelf.
2) Oil Paints
You don’t need a ton of colors. Just a little time learning how a few can be mixed into an infinite array of shades and tones. It’s a total money saver.
You want a large tube of white, firstly for mixing. You will use a lot of it. Also a small black tube, and the primary colors (blue, red, yellow) are the most important. It’s a good idea to have two kinds: a primary that is warm (closer to red on the color wheel) and primary that is cool (closer to blue on the color wheel).
Then I have a green, a purple, a pink (I make a lot of pinks in my paintings), an orange, a tan, and a brown (burnt umber is great).
With these tubes you can create almost any color.
3) Brushes and other Accessories