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Old 10-14-2006, 09:51 PM
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Ian Bruce Ian Bruce is offline
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Newbie question:painting fine lines in acrylic?

I am totaly new to acrylics. Previously, I have been working in watercolor. I have decided that I really love acrylics! I was instantly able to get the darks that I struggled with in watercolor. I also like to be able to do impasto. My only problem, so far, is I am unable to get nice flowing lines (for instance; distant birch tree trunks and limbs). Glazing medium does not do it for me, it makes the paint to transparent, as does water. Do I need to get flow-medium? This is something I have heard of but not tried. What does it do? Any advice would be apreciated. Also, I do struggle somewhat with the exceptionly fast drying time and have some dificulty blending. I have being following the thread on the new Atelier Interactive acrylics and am considering changing to them when I upgrade from student paints. Any suggestions on that?
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Old 10-15-2006, 12:29 AM
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Re: Newbie question:painting fine lines in acrylic?

flow medium wont give you the flow for fine lines, at least not by itself, you need an ink like consistency which generally means water. Another option is a very small brush and frequent reloads
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Old 10-15-2006, 12:43 AM
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amaze_1101 amaze_1101 is offline
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Re: Newbie question:painting fine lines in acrylic?

Flow medium will work. It is designed to thin without diluting. I also use retarder medium (AKA extender medium) which does the same but it takes much longer to dry because it's for extending the drying time of acrylics. I use a synthetic rigger brush (you might have this with your watercolour brushes.) You can get a rigger in sable but I prefer synthetic myself for those fine lines.

Happy painting Ian
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Old 10-15-2006, 02:30 AM
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Re: Newbie question:painting fine lines in acrylic?

You could try one of the low viscosity formulas, like Golden Fluid or Liquitex soft body acrylics. Golden fluid acrylic has a consistency similar to motor oil or heavy cream, but has the same binder and pigment load as their heavy body formulas, as does the Liquitex (the type in 2 oz. bottles, not the squeeze tubes) which is just slightly thicker.

Be careful with the flow release agents. They are surfacants (i.e, detergents), and work by reducing the surface tension of the water already in the paint mixture. Too much of this will keep your paint soluble after it has dried.
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Old 10-15-2006, 05:46 AM
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Re: Newbie question:painting fine lines in acrylic?

The Golden Fluids work great!!
Tracey
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Old 10-15-2006, 07:41 AM
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Re: Newbie question:painting fine lines in acrylic?

Welcome to acrylics and to the forum.

Definitely use a rigger as Elaine mentioned - the long hairs give a nice fluid line - fine!
I sometimes use glazing mediums, but mostly just the water.
You could also try acrylic inks - these are very saturated - like the liquid acrylics - and will give fine lines.

Have you checked out our classroom threads in the Information Kiosk - a sub forum here? Very useful for techniques and all sorts of info

Haven't tried the Atelier - I use W&N finity and Liquitex Heavy Body and I'm hapy with those
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Old 10-15-2006, 10:45 AM
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Re: Newbie question:painting fine lines in acrylic?

Hi Ian welcome to the forum

As you will find there are several ways to get to the end result and you will have to try several to see which works best for you. Another option would be to experiment with water thinned paint and a liner brush (also called a rigger brush). I always found that glazing medium although it does not dilute the paint, it makes it more transparent and several layers of paint is sometimes necessary. Thus I favour water thinned acrylic over glazing medium for this application.
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Old 10-15-2006, 11:17 AM
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Re: Newbie question:painting fine lines in acrylic?

I am glad to see this thread. I have been struggling with this issue also. My struggle, however, is because I am adapting to painting after a couple of years with pencil work. I will like for a rigger brush also.
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Old 10-15-2006, 01:05 PM
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Re: Newbie question:painting fine lines in acrylic?

Ian-- Lines - they're not what you do, they're what you leave behind. Put down the color you want for a line - overshooting, then fill in with the colors you want in the larger spaces. --Merritt
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Old 10-15-2006, 01:43 PM
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Re: Newbie question:painting fine lines in acrylic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mseymour
Ian-- Lines - they're not what you do, they're what you leave behind. Put down the color you want for a line - overshooting, then fill in with the colors you want in the larger spaces. --Merritt

I think what you are saying here is the tecnique called negative painting, and though it is an option is probably more difficult if you are wanting winter trees in the distance with lots of branches. Keeping the branches fine and natural looking might be more difficult for a beginner than using a rigger brush and thin paint in my opnion. Just thinking out loud here.

Another thing to consider Ian. If you do get a rigger brush and find a thin consistancy of paint that suits, remember it is easier to get a natural branch by pulling the rigger brush away from the tree trunk than pushing it upward from the trunk. You could try turning the canvas upside down perhaps.
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Old 10-15-2006, 02:22 PM
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Re: Newbie question:painting fine lines in acrylic?

Quote:
it is easier to get a natural branch by pulling the rigger brush away from the tree trunk than pushing it upward from the trunk

Golly - thought EVERYone did it that way!

Robert
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Old 10-15-2006, 05:11 PM
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Re: Newbie question:painting fine lines in acrylic?

Regardless of which medium I'm using, when I want REALLY fine lines I use the EDGE of a painting knife. I have a variety of knife shapes to choose from. One with a long straight edge works best for straight lines - or for getting good straight edges on large shapes.

When wanting linear details in acrylics, I use the regular acrylic medium sold by whichever paint line you choose. Adding a bit of water might be needed too, depending on your technique. I avoid thinning my acrylics with water as much as possible - preferring to use the medium instead.

For really squiggly fine lines, such as tree branches, I use a "riggers" or "liner" as has already been suggested by several others.

And don't overlook the technique of "scratching in" lines - that is - after one layer has dried, overpaint with another color and then scratch back through the wet layer to create a linear effect. I find this particular useful for drawing foliage/limbs/twigs.

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Old 10-15-2006, 06:31 PM
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Re: Newbie question:painting fine lines in acrylic?

one more tip

Often, pure, out of the tube acrylic pigments are a bit, or a lot, translucent, with or without water, medium, etc - much the way the opacity of watercolor paints varies by pigment

and since truly pure color is kinda rare in the real world -

mixing in even a tiny amount of some other pigment can dramatically increase opacity - a tiny fraction of turner's yellow into Alizarin crimson, for example, or a touch of white, or ultramarine blue in raw umber.

Play a bit - often it takes very little of the compliment or complement to increase opacity - and glazing later can restrore the intensity of the dominant hue.

Mixed pigments, thinned to flow nicely from a rigger, can produce very fine lines with character.
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Old 10-15-2006, 07:46 PM
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Re: Newbie question:painting fine lines in acrylic?

i thought i read on here somewhere about a company that makes acrylic inks.
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Old 10-15-2006, 09:45 PM
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Re: Newbie question:painting fine lines in acrylic?

Thanks for all the help! I do actually have a couple of riggers (I am one of the few people who actually use them to paint ships rigging). I will try your suggestions. It seems that while watercolor is technically difficult, acrylics have their own extended learning curve--due to the huge choice of acrylics of different viscosities and the wide choice of mediums! Acrylics do seem easier to handle, however, even from day one. Thanks again!
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