Contrasting Color Monsters: Watercolor & Alcohol Technique

Monday, September 29, 2014

Using contrasting colors on a monster is a fun way to practice using color theory.  




I used Expressive Monkey's How To Draw Monsters to come up with a monster drawing.  I used the Contrasting Colors lesson to come up with 2 contrasting colors for my monster: red and green.  Red and green are contrasting colors because they are color opposites or color complements on the color wheel.  That means they are across from each other and when used side-by-side, they make each other look brighter. 

Expressive Monkey demonstrates how to use watercolors and rubbing alcohol to create interesting spots on a monster drawing.

Using oil pastels, I colored in the smaller area, like the eyes, nose and stripes.  I even used a white oil pastel to color in the white of they eyes.  I did this for a couple reasons. Coloring small areas like the stripes or nose will allow me to paint over them quickly.  I need to paint quickly so that I can apply the alcohol technique before the paint dries.  I used oil pastel over the Sharpie marker outline.  The reason I did this was to protect the marker from the alcohol.  Alcohol will cause the marker to bleed and spread out, which might not look the best for this project.  

Expressive Monkey demonstrates how to use watercolors and rubbing alcohol to create interesting spots on a monster drawing.

Expressive Monkey demonstrates how to use watercolors and rubbing alcohol to create interesting spots on a monster drawing.

I wanted a light green for the body of the monster.  I painted the paper yellow first to make the green more of a yellow green, which is a little lighter and brighter.  Notice I'm also using red AND pink.  Pink is just a light red.  I like using tints and shades of color complements to give my art more variety.

Expressive Monkey demonstrates how to use watercolors and rubbing alcohol to create interesting spots on a monster drawing.

While the paint is still wet, I'm using an eye dropper to drop small drops of alcohol in the wet green paint.  There is a little spot on the shoulder where the alcohol leaked out and caused the black Sharpie marker outline to bleed just a little. (In case you are wondering what that might look like.) 

Expressive Monkey demonstrates how to use watercolors and rubbing alcohol to create interesting spots on a monster drawing.

For a more controlled application of alcohol, which would be best for younger student, just use a very small cup of alcohol and Q-tips.  It only takes a tiny amount of alcohol to make this work, and once the Q-tip is wet with alcohol, you can dab it many times. So 1oz of alcohol would go a long way.  

Expressive Monkey demonstrates how to use watercolors and rubbing alcohol to create interesting spots on a monster drawing.

Expressive Monkey demonstrates how to use watercolors and rubbing alcohol to create interesting spots on a monster drawing.

Here is my finished monster!  What do you think I should name him (or her)?


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Expressive Monkey










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