Alter Feedback – Plains

Today we’re taking a look at a Plains done by Reddit user /u/flipster101. This is their first attempt at altering cards and painting in general. I think we all had some art classes we were forced to take in grade school, but do we honestly remember what we learned?

This is a great first attempt. There is a shown effort in detail. The biggest areas for improvement art with the thickness of the paints and color matching. What we’ll be going over today!

  • Color matching
  • Working with Yellows
  • Keeping your paint thin

Color Matching

When working on extensions you need to paint with the colors that are there. Not the colors that you think should be there.

Colors on the right are printed. Colors on the left are painted.

If you take a look at the majority of the colors on this card it looks like you painted with the colors that you know the landscape to be. Skies and water are blue while grass is green. If you look at the colors that the OG artist used the sky and mountains are purple, while the grass is yellow.

This goes back to basic color theroy. This is really just a two colored piece with different values of those hues. When you work with two colors you usually use complementary colors. The main color for this piece is yellow. The complementary color to yellow is purple.

Working with Yellows

Since the main color of this piece is yellow, lets talk about it. I think it’s a terribly hard color to work with. You can just start with the yellow because it will be too transparent. So you have to start with a brownish color and work your way up to the lighter yellow.

This plains looks like it’s closer to Yellow Ochre (YO) then Cadmium Yellow (CY). YO is more opaque than CY so it is easier to work with. When you work with yellows to darken it, you normally use a Brown. Black will take it down way to low. For lighter you can use White, CY, or Titan Buff depending on the yellow that you started with.

Keeping your Paint Thin

Areas where the paint is noticable

Keeping the paint this is one of the most important parts of card altering. You can get away with iffy color matching because you can paint into the card and force it to match. There is no way to hid thick paint.

I would assume since you haven’t painted before you used paints that are around the quality of Apple Barrel. That’s fine for beginners. Since these paints are craft acrylics they are thicker they need to be watered down. I like to keep my working paint around a condensed milk consistency. You can achieve this with water or an acrylic thinner. If you are using water to thin your paints, keep in mind that you can use too much water. Acrylic paint is basically pigments suspended in a acrylic polymer emulsion. This means that if the acrylic is spread too thin with a non-acrylic substance they won’t be able to adhere to each other. Simply put it will be more water than paint. 1 part water to 3 parts.

While working use very thin layers. It can take a bunch of passes with a color before it is opaque enough. Be paitent and let them fully dry before you add the next layer. If the paint is still wet it can pick up the paint underneath, then you have to fix the hole and that’s no fun.

You can use your finger tips to smudge and blend the paint while you work. It will keep the pain thinner and remove brush marks. Make sure that your fingers are clean, you will have to clean them while you work as they will pick up the wet paint. If you don’t eventually you’ll leave behind bits of dried paint that will make tiny bumps.

This is a great first alter. Work on keeping your paints thin while you work and paint with the colors that are there. If you are making alters for fun there’s no wrong way to do it. For tournaments you need to keep the name visible though, but sometimes it’s just for the art!