Anyone else have trouble....


Needle-chuck Ninja
Whats the trick to doing a black and white portrait? I have been going through a bit of a funk lately with art, and i can't seem to shake it, which makes me be MORE in a funk. No matter what i do, i feel like the first layer is much to dark. I'm trying to do a simple portrait, maybe i shouldn't even use the carbon black, maybe its too much for the piece, but no matter what color i throw at it, it seem to dark, i tried one drop paint, two drops water and i want to punch things. Sorry for the rant

So my question is, whats the best way to approach it. I'm doing a black and white of Eminem for my nephew , Should i go with a mix of burnt umber and sepia or black and umber... HALP!
The easiest way to avoid going to dark is reducing the amount of pigment. You can't keep reducing with water but all brands have a pigmentless version of their paint (names may varry, often called transparant base). For the 1st layer I often go with 3 transparant base, 3 water and 1 paint (reducing the amount of pigment 1:6 and the paint itself 1:3).

As you can even reduce it further if you want just reduce till you hardly see any paint apear. This will make it impossible to go to dark in one go and you can gradualy build your layers.
Transparent base? I did not know that! Not transparent colors right, its a different thing? I have ETAC reducer base will that hep me out at all? I don't even think i saw an Etac transbase. Things are getting complicated! hahaha
Oh, I have that too, i wasn't completely confident was it was for, but i bought it just incase. So i should use Extend air, 3 drops, 3 drops water, and then my carbon? And reduce as needed from there....Whats the reducer base used for then? and the condition air....the site doesn't explain too well
E'tac's FX Reduce Air is the transparent base for EFX. You only use water when paint, in this case paint and Reduce Air, is too thick to spray smoothly. But yes, you have to start with a very transparent colour.
3 drops of extend air and 3 drops of water will reduce the pigmen 1:6 and the paint 1:3 (just see if that works for you)

Reducer is generaly expensive water :p (has the same function bit is generaly said to reduce tipdry etc)

Condition air is.... I have no clue :D.

Just a quick explenation.

Paint has viscosity. if you start adding water at a certain point the paint will lose that resulting in one spraying water with the ocasional blotch of paint (you get little drops of paint in the water).

Extend air is more or less your paint without any color. You can add this endlesly.

The amount of pigment determines how fast you cover a certain area. You can reduce the amount of pigment by adding watter (which will also make the paint thinner helping the flow and reducing tipdry) but this will at a certain point break the viscosity of the paint.

By adding extend-air you will also reduce the amount of pigment but you are not making the paint thinner (as you are basicly adding paint).

hope this makes a bit of sense :p
So this reducer base i have is the transparent base..And extend air is the same deal? I need like cliff-notes for all the this stuff haha. So you basically have to reduce the reduce air for it to spray smooth then add the color... Whats the difference between the reducer base and the extend air then?

The bottle of the Reducer base says : fixatives may be used for additional durability. For exterior finishes use a quality clear coat suitable to your application. may be mixed with other Etac products for a variety of photo- realistic effects....
Which doesn't tell me what its purpose is really ha, o_O

The extend air is a little more clear as it says : Extender is used for extending Etac color to infinite transparency while maintaining working properties
Oh i just saw that hassje, thank you for your help! and Andre! I think i have it now. Condition air is still fuzzy, maybe its literally just a climate thing, someone here told me that once. THANK YOU!
Whats the trick to doing a black and white portrait?

No trick LOL, but if pure black and white the reduction advice above is great, or as base mentioned, try it in greyscale (Much more forgiving)..I do it opposite to a lot of people and start with my darkest black (When doing pure Black work on white base) this way you establish your darkest shades first, this can be important as when you start really light and build up, by the time you get to your pure darks you realize you've gone to far dark on what is supposed to be a lighter shade, by doing the darks first you establish those needs (As ultimately they aint just gonna be 100% dark black) a shaded area may indeed only need 50% (Plus if you start at that 50% intensity for your darkest value you can always adjust it up if you go to dark on the lighter shades) intensity of say the black your using so if you go from light to dark, sometimes by the time you get there you have to solid black it to make it contrast the rest, plus doing your darkest area first gives you something to work off or into easily..

Oh and on contrast..learn it. If your unsure how to take advantage of contrast and use it it may be an idea to grab some art books out and study it..ultimately as we put a dark next to a light it will make the light appear lighter. Good portrait artists understand this really well and can manipulate the effect, so working backwards does really help maintain the correct contrast needs and by the time your getting to your highlight area's you can see if the need light fogging adjustment or not..Sounds confusing and if so soz but its the way I like to do it..

basically follow the norm and go from light to dark if your comfy with that, but if struggling try reversing the procedure and go dark to light and see if it helps control your middle and lighter shade needs to, ultimately when I do a Black piece I reduce about 50-75% and use that same paint all the way through for my darkest areas and lightest areas and use speed,distance or multiple layers to adjust the tonal of luck.
I have just started too mate and I found through help here that a medium grey is better... or light grey if your heavy handed.. Its easier to darken if needed. establish your darkest shades first, this can be important as when you start really light and build up, by the time you get to your pure darks you realize you've gone to far dark on what is supposed to be a lighter shade, by doing the darks first you establish those needs ...

If there are 100% dark spots I do those first as well. It helps with get the shades right. And you can not go darker then 100% so overspray will not affect it.