Art Advice: Making an Everlasting Paint Palette

One of the most commonly-heard complaints about working with acrylics is that they dry out, and dry out fast. You could be working on a painting, really getting into it when… whoops! That color you put on your palette thirty minutes ago has already solidified. And with the price of paint and the stress of re-mixing the same colors, you might be looking for a longer-lasting solution.

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Shrink Plastic Fun!

shrinkydink1 What’s that??! you ask. That’s a 2.5″x2.5″ sheet of shrink plastic (with an alien painted on) being shrunken to 1″x1″ (roughly) via heat gun. As a kid, I used an oven and could wait some 15-25 minutes to wait for my “shrinky-dinks” to transform to their shrunken size, but it takes only about half a minute under a heat gun. Good deal!

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Art Advice: Use a Mirror

One of the most important things when making artwork is receiving creative criticism from someone who hasn’t seen your work yet. They’ll be able to spot things out of proportion, find parts that are out of balance, and find things that just don’t… look right in general. Sometimes when working, it can be difficult to spot your own mistakes, most likely because you’ve been working on this piece for X-amount of time, and during that time you felt confident that every line went down with elegant beauty and careful precision.


Looking at a work for so long can eventually make you unable to see what’s “wrong”, as you’ve been working towards perfection, and, as you feel, it has to be perfect so far.

But, take a step back from your work. Actually, take a few steps back and hold it in front of a mirror. Then see what happens…


My my my! That might not be what you’d anticipated it to look like at ALL– this is off, that eyeball’s out of place, that arm’s waay too big…

What viewing your work in front of a mirror does is it allows you to see it from “fresh eyes”. You haven’t seen it in reverse yet. And looking at it in reverse, you will see a whole new composition. Critiquing your own work in front of a mirror will help you see what’s on your critiquer’s minds. You’ll be able to spot your own mistakes and will be able to fix them much easier than if you hadn’t viewed it in a mirror before!

Always do this when you’ve gotten most of your general sketching of a piece done. That way, you’ll be able to fix any problems before you set out to work; and after you start working, it can be very challenging to remedy your mistakes (especially when working with ink!)

Happy arting!

Artists of the Month: March ’08

It’s important to practice your artmaking as much as you can, but it’s also important to get inspiration and soak in work done by other artists– especially those whose style you really appreciate and can learn something from. So I’ve decided to do monthly artist picks, be them world-famous artists, friends, painters, photographers, sculptors– the more inspiration, the better!

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