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  • Writer's pictureKOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH

Japanese Acrylic Painting Tutorial







Klára Sýkorová has been engaged in fine art almost all her life. For her, art is a hobby that fulfills her also in adulthood, and it reflects in the lively pictures full of colors she creates.


Take inspiration from Klára's painting with a Japanese theme and start painting with acrylics step-by-step.










To begin, place a canvas of 50 cm x 70 cm size on an easel situated in a place with perfect light. Then prepare all necessary equipment, such as brushes, spatulas, wooden palette, acrylic paints, a cup of water, soft pastels, a piece of cloth, and something to change into, just in case.


As another step, choose a model according to which you'll paint. In our case, it's a picture of a Japanese woman in white kimono with a bamboo leaf pattern.




Plan the composition of the painting with a flat brush and light colors, and then start creating a background. Throughout the painting process, keep in mind to paint also the sides of the canvas, as it doesn't look good when left just white. Let the first layer of the painting dry completely.





When adding the next layer, apply paints to the painting with a spatula. The background will darken slightly so the Japanese woman's white attire will stand out when finished.





Having the second layer completely dry, let's start with painting the principal motif. In this case, you can utilize modern technologies or classic transferring with a grid just like great masters did in the renaissance. The ideal technique for pre-drawing is soft pastels that are easily erased by hand or with a damp cloth in case you make a mistake.





With a motif pre-drawn, nothing keeps you from starting the painting itself. First, start with a more detailed painting of the face and then the hair. Although the hair of the Japanese woman might be black at first glance, we don't use the black color yet. We should better opt for any of the dark shades of brown so it would be possible to darken the picture. Also, the portrait will look more realistic.





Having the face and hair sketched, let's get down to clothes on which you first highlight the lights and shadows. Don't be afraid to use darker shades even if the clothes are white. Afterward, you'll apply more layers to the picture, and in the end, the dark shades will show through the light ones, thus accentuating the overall volume.




Go back to painting the face, capturing more detail this time. Therefore, prepare the thinnest brushes. With them, you can lower the intensity of the dark shadows you painted in the previous steps. Work with paints diluted as little as possible with water in order to achieve an intense trace.





This particular picture is a part of a series of paintings. Therefore, a unifying abstract element is created in the background, which is also used to liven up the picture. Its use is up to you.





Finally, highlight the lights in the painting with white and accentuate other fine details that will enliven the picture.





After the painting is complete, varnish the entire picture. In addition to protecting the artwork, it will highlight the colors and overall depth. You can also use Fixative Creative.





Did you like this tutorial on painting with a Japanese motif? Don't forget to follow its author Klára Sýkorová on Instagram, where you find many beautiful artworks and inspirational subjects worth a try!




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