How to Make a Painting. Sort of. But Not Really.

Most of the time, if you ever see any kind of art tutorial, you see the artist roughly blocking out the image as a whole, then working on the finer details later. Well I think I might be a bit of a strange one. I tend to start with one or two areas in a painting and slowly work my way out. I don’t really have a rhyme or reason to the order that I paint things. Sometimes I’ll paint the background first; sometimes I won’t. Sometimes I’ll start with an eye.. sometimes I’ll start on the face and work my way out, or start with a foot or tail. I don’t know why, but it works for me.

Unfortunately if I were to make a tutorial, it might look something like this..


1. Have a great idea for a painting.
2. Get distracted – I’m sure there’s a whole new batch of great youtube videos to watch! Just kidding, they’re all probably crap, but lets look anyway. OH CUTE KITTEN-ON-A-TURTLE VIDEO!
3. Well crap – now what time is it? Now that great idea from earlier is now a slightly fuzzy smear of what it started out as.
4. Quickly sketch ideas out in Photoshop. Pout. Select all. Delete. Redraw.
5. Repeat Step 4 a few times.
6. Actually start sketching out on paper, and start painting.
7. Keep painting till you think you’re done.
8. And, you’re done!

Helpful, right?

I know I’m not the greatest at tutorials; so here’s some work-in-progress photos of some of my paintings instead.

Animals with Hats

Cloud Dragon

Silly Hats Make Me Happy

Beaver Tree

O Canada!

Red Panda Tree

Happy Birthday!

The Hanged Man Tarot

 Here’s my most recent WIP. No final image yet!

 And here’s a super quick sketch of the Happy Birthday painting. It’s beautiful, right? So pretty, I think I have a tear in my eye.. :’)


About Jo @ Rainbow of Crazy

My username came from that very random day several years ago when I was told that I was a "walking rainbow of crazy... twinkling with the spectrum of a thousand different colours." That name makes me smile to this day and will always remain with me!

Posted on July 4, 2011, in Artwork and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Zenobia Southcombe

    Thanks for giving me my morning laugh! I loved reading your, ahem, process, since it is (sometimes) similar to mine, for painting. I think one reason I enjoy drawing & monochrome (yes, one colour, not sure if I’m allowed to promote non-rainbow-coloured art here :p) is because it’s easier for me! The challenge comes from finding the tones, volume, etc in that limited palette, which I also enjoy.

    I do get distracted easily, though. The last disctraction was a cat ‘barking’ at a dog, then remembering that “Oh yeah, I’m a Cat” and meowing! If you haven’t seen it, it will be my pleasure to distract you :p
    There’s actually a fantastic video made by artist Suzy that you can view on her blog, which is

    I noticed you work on paper – I love working on paper, but so far I’ve used acrylics on canvas for my paintings. Why do you choose to use paper?



    • I’m still trying to improve on how I work.. I’m hoping to maybe even get some actual work done in the schedule! Oh gosh, I’ve seen that barking cat video. I think I’ll have to watch it again now; it was hilarious. (Er.. I also need to work on distractions.. baby steps..)

      It’s funny, with the paper thing, I had started out using acrylics on tiny canvases and flat canvas panels. But then when I had used up all the canvases I had, and since the closest art supply store isn’t really all *that* close, I realized I had a lot of watercolour paper sitting around so I thought I would use that instead. Eventually I’d like to play with watercolour paint as well (I have random art supplies sitting around everywhere that I need to use!) but I started to get addicted to acrylics. I liked how it worked with the watercolour paper that I had, so I just kept going. I guess being a bit of a starving artist made me improvise!

      Thank you for the link! I’ll have to check her blog out 🙂

  1. Pingback: Animals in Trees. It makes sense. « Rainbow of Crazy

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