Return to Main Discussion Page

Discussion

Main Menu | Search Discussions

Search Discussions

 
 

Gloria Koch

2 Years Ago

Painting Small Details On Canvas

I have found it difficult to paint very small details, such as features on a little face, on canvas. I tried every trick I could think of to get the paint in a small enough area, including cutting a brush that was already small, down so it only has a few bristles left to paint with. What sort of things do others use to paint small details on canvas?

Reply Order

Post Reply
 

Janine Riley

2 Years Ago

Gloria - I have that horribly ugly magnifying visor thingy that I wear for the fine details.

I tell the husband that he is NOT allowed to look at me when I am wearing it. Always afraid I am going to forget - & then answer the door. Would scare the heck out of the UPS man.

Oh, & 00 brushes of course.

 

Jacki McGovern

2 Years Ago

I'm not above using anything I can find that will give me the result I want. Have you tried something like a tootpick - wooden or plastic? Depending on what you are trying to paint, look around your home with new "eyes".

 

Loretta Luglio

2 Years Ago

Use a magnifier and good brushes. I have used toothpicks. I try to go with a bigger canvas if I know there will be lots of fine detail work. I share your pain.

 

Gloria Koch

2 Years Ago

I'm going to have to get myself one of those magnifiers. Janine, you made me chuckle. Thanks! Loretta, I tried a toothpick, but you're right, I should look around to see what else I can use around the house to get those paint into those tiny spaces. I still have some work to do on those tiny faces.

 

Lady I F Abbie Shores

2 Years Ago

I gave up and became an impressionist ;)

 

Alfred Ng

2 Years Ago

To paint small details you need small brushes something like the #2 to # 0 and make sure you don't load the brush with too much paint. I usually use the dry brush technique for this.

 

Lenora De Lude

2 Years Ago

Another factor is the coarseness or smoothness of the canvas or other substrate. Smooth surfaces tend to make it easier to to paint precise, small details. Wiping and reloading the brush often is crucial. I've seen students try to get that last bit of paint off the brush, thereby ruining details that they have just created. But of course as Alfred said, you want to load it sparingly.

 

Jim Vansant

2 Years Ago

Some of the italian painters (Guardi, Canalleto) thinned the paint down to where they could apply it with an ink pen.

 

Drew

2 Years Ago

Gloria, this oil is on a 9inch x 12inch canvas. glazing is more forgiving with small details then other techniques.

Sell Art Online

 

Gloria Koch

2 Years Ago

H Drew, that's an amazing painting. Thanks for the tips everyone!

 

Ben Van Rooyen

2 Years Ago

Magnifying lamp and a 00 brush.

 

Diane Daigle

2 Years Ago

Thin (i'll use liquin or something like that) paint that will easily flow from a brush that only has a couple of bristles or hairs. When I need tiny details I will also get out my good sable brushes.

 

Drew

2 Years Ago

Also, find some way to stable your palm. you cannot do this against wet paint so if your canvas is wet, let it dry or use a cross bar to rest your palm. learn to make quick single precise strokes to avoid mistakes.

 

Phyllis Wolf

2 Years Ago

An oil painting I did ( 24 x 36 ) that has a ton of small detail.

Sell Art Online

The main thing I can say necessary for small detail work that hasn't been mentioned yet is : time and a whole lot of patience.

 

Regina Valluzzi

2 Years Ago

I find that s,mall details work best if I'm painting into a surface that's a little "wet" (oil), but not the really wet spreadable kind of wet. Then really thin paint using just the tip of a brush. Sometimes a squared off or angled brush has a sharper point if you tilt it at just the right angle.

Has anyone tried dog-earing a toothpick to expose the wood fibers, then cutting it down from there?

 

Gloria Koch

2 Years Ago

I had my husband make an artists' bridge for me. It really helps! That's a good idea Regina. I haven't tried that yet but I will. I did retouch a painting using a hat pin for some tiny details in a face. That worked ok.

 

Ben Van Rooyen

2 Years Ago

I forgot to mention that I use a #00 watercolour brush instead of an oil paint brush. The bristles are much more finer, but you can only use one brush per painting; then it's worthless.

 

Mary Ellen Anderson

2 Years Ago

I've always loved a lot of detail in my paintings and when I was first starting out then I'd buy very fine sable brushes. Unfortunately, I would quickly wear the bristles off these expensive brushes, so I'd use the quick. At some point it occurred to me that the brush end was basically a twig... and I had a whole box of twigs in the kitchen called toothpicks. This has lead to being nicknamed the 'toothpick artist' locally. So I use a toothpick, sometimes as a fine knife, roller, etc.. It really is a quite interesting tool, this portrait was painted almost entirely with a toothpick.
Sell Art Online

 

Gloria Koch

2 Years Ago

Looks like those toothpicks are working very well for you Mary! Good job!

 

Drew

2 Years Ago

Now Gloria, how can you say that..........I can't see a single tooth in Buffalo Bills mouth!........

 

Gloria Koch

2 Years Ago

LOL H Drew!

 

This discussion is closed.