Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How to paint a 1950s girl retro purse

Hey everyone! I wanted to announce that I have finished my very first hand painted purse! Up until now I had never tried my hand at painting with acrylics, but I am pretty happy with the turn out!

 Check out the listing in my Etsy Shop: LoveMirandaMarie.etsy.com

Here's how it all began...
The other day, I found this gorgeous patent-red leather purse at a thrift shop and found myself thinking, "Why not try to paint a leather purse?" I have experience drawing on leather shoes only, so the challenge of painting on a purse, I just couldn't pass up. I bought it and took it home. It looked like this originally...
The problem with drawing on red leather with permanent markers is you can't lighten the surface of the leather to create highlights, so the lightest color you are going to get is the red. That wouldn't work for my envisioned design of a 1950s girl. So I needed to step out of my comfort zone and try painting. My idea was to mix a picture I took of myself from a couple years ago with a 1950s style painting. Here are my reference photos:

I started by painting the shape of my face on the purse with a mixture of white and peach acrylic paint. It took several coats of paint to get the base color light enough. I painted an aqua background similar to the 50s girl painting.

The hair and the lips, I decided, to leave the same color as the purse, so you'll notice I didn't paint those parts. Once the paint had dried, I began getting the facial details in with my permanent markers. I used a light brown to map out the features, then, I went back over it with soft pink and blue fabric markers. I got that soft look  by using a tissue to blend the markers right after I applied them to the painting.

The shaded the hair in certain spots with a dark brown. The darkest parts of the painting, like the eyelashes and pupils, I used a black sharpie. I used the same light brown, pink and blue for the rest of the face.
Note: When painting teeth, try to refrain from outlining every tooth. You'll notice that all I had to do was get the general shape of all the teeth together and shade with a very light blue to get the point across. If you outline every tooth, it looks like your teeth have spaces between them.

To finish it all off, I took a black sharpie and darkened the shadows in the hair. I'll probably also spray a fabric paint sealant over it just to make sure the paint won't scratch off.

So, that's how I created this hand painted 1950s girl retro purse! I hope it helped you in your endeavors to paint or use mixed media on a purse! Just remember to be creative and have fun!

Love, Miranda Marie

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