Coloring with Cosmetics
artist editorials, artist interviews, art articles, artist's articlesCosmetics have a brand new face: on paper.

What started out as a smudged mistake on a drawing, became a project of curiosity. As I began to smear the make-up that came from a family member's cosmetic kit I noticed it blended with ease; being persuaded to continue, I began using the make-up from the kit and its brush. Cosmetics fill in between the spaces easily and coloring from shadows to lit areas was just a matter of smearing. After I finished I noticed a shimmering look that sparked from the drawing.

The cosmetic coloring experiment was a success.
The first cosmetic coloring experience on a drawing that I drew was on a copy of Fathom. Winter 1998-99.

From then to now I have colored on and off using cosmetics. Here's a step-by-step process on creating a cosmetic piece:

Step 1: Draw your picture creating your character with details and shading.

Step 2: Start inking the copy of your drawing.

Once finished, scan a copy of your original art work. Outlining, filling and detailing.

Unless you would prefer to use the original; scan a copy of your inked when finished. "If you use your original copy and inked it, wait for the ink to completely dry, then begin erasing all pencil that remains afterward. This avoids mistakes when coloring."

Choosing Your Paper: I use Strathmore 300 Series, but I usually use my original drawing and work from it. So experiment with what paper you wish. "Some papers don't give off the shimmer-look once finished."

Choosing Cosmetics: When choosing what cosmetics to use remember that more expensive make-ups are harder than the cheap ones. Expensive cosmetics are best for coloring in the details, and detailing is your first step in coloring. Less expensive cosmetics are easier to blend and to fill-in your drawing since they're much softer. In this brand of cosmetics you find a larger variety of colors in single kits along with lip gloss and your normal sponge brush. Different styled brushes are sold separately and are a must for fine detail.

Before you start coloring, set aside a blank piece of scrap paper to check your colors on. Before you brush your work make sure you get the excessive amount of make-up off the brush tip, unless you want thick dark lines. Do this by brushing once on scrap paper or raking the brush on the edge of the cosmetic tray. Take your time until you get the hang of things so you don't go out-of-line. If you do go out of the lines this can usually be fixed by using a rubber eraser, lightly erasing over the mistake(s).

Step 3: In the first process of coloring with cosmetics it is just like coloring with crayons; outline the details. (as shown in the picture above)

Use fine brushes when dealing with fine detail and normal brushes with bone-structure. "Remember, if your using your original drawing, erase the left-over penciling or this will smear dark streaks into your work, when coloring."

Step 4: Filling and blending. This step is where you see your art come to life when using cosmetics to fill and blend in your work.

It's best to start shading in dark areas first by getting the most out of your first strokes, working them to lighter areas. When coloring, take notice to the small particles that fall off of your brush. Don't brush these off with your hand; or they will leave streaks on your work. You can work these in with your brush or just by lightly blowing them off the page. Work the page till finished.

Add to your work by adding a background setting, solid color, or different colors blending them in for effect. If you used make-up to color your art, you should notice the realistaic feeling that it gives your work. Now you can hold your work at an angle and notice the shimmer that the cosmetics create. This is where you will use your SPRAY STUFF, or hair spray to lightly spray your work. Though it's not really necessary as long as you protect your work in folders, plastic sheets, etc.

Experiment with cosmetics to find a look that you like. Try things like; breaking up a color and adding a little water. Make a paste and add effects to your work or whatever you can come up with; so, good luck.

Here are some more examples of my work to give you the idea of what cosmetics look like on paper.

Notice how cosmetics can be used in sequential work and used as a stand alone media.

If you have any questions or comments you can email me at the address below or if your interested in seeing some of my other work, visit my website.

- Harold D. Ritchie Jr

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