Painting techniques, such as underpainting, blocking in, dry brushing, and many others, are great practices to keep in order for artists to really capture the essence of the picture they are painting. Other than that, learning these techniques helps add more emotion and expression to the portrait or landscapes that they create.

However, these are not only limited to add more beauty to their creations. It is also an essential tool that helps artists to improve their skills and even create their own style or signature. This way they can put more identity and originality to their art and give them an edge among their fellow artists—important factors that will help artists create a name for themselves.

Whether as a guide or as added knowledge, this article tackles the ins and outs of underpainting as a technique. Going into specifics, this article also delves into the technique’s principles and purposes. Under this technique, this piece will explore more about its different types. This way, artists would be able to understand its importance better.

What is Underpainting?

In painting, every process is crucial. It is the artist’s job to capture the picture in all its glory with every stroke of the brush. It is important to develop the painting’s values and contrasts so that it fully emphasizes each color and element that makes up the whole picture.

From its name, the underpainting technique is when an artist puts on the first layer of paint under and before all the subsequent layers of color. It is applied to a blank canvas as a base of a certain picture to be painted. Since it’s a base layer, it serves as the key to defining the painting’s color values and build tone, contrast, and other elements.

Often monochromatic, this layer is responsible for making the colors pop, blend well with other colors, and provide some texture to your painting. Since its magic lies at the early stages of painting, it allows artists to open up different possibilities on what approach should the artist take. A painting would risk ending up dull and without character without this technique.

Tonal Ground Underpainting provides contrast for the painting’s complimentary colors. It’s a type of underpainting wherein the entire canvas is covered in a single and transparent color. This underpainting layer creates backlighting shadows that will emphasize the tone of the entire painting.

A Tonal Underpainting, on the other hand, still applies one color to cover the canvas. The big difference between the two is that this type of underpainting is a way to map out the entire painting by applying darker and lighter areas.

Why is Underpainting a Great Technique?

Like photographs, paintings speak a thousand words. Telling a story through their artwork is something every artist would want to achieve. By using this technique, the artist will be off to a great start. In the simplicity of this method, it gives a major effect on the painting. It helps develop contrasts and values before the painter applies more layers of color into his or her canvas. This way, the colors become more vibrant and vivid.

The underpainting technique is also one way to make an artwork look more natural. This is why it’s such a good method to practice especially if you like to paint still life, landscapes, and portraits. Paintings should capture every detail and when you start with a pure white canvas and forgo this technique, it would defeat that purpose. Without underpainting, the artwork would lose its character if it doesn’t look natural.

This method can work out and lessen the difficulties as the artist paints and will put more detail as the forms, shadows, and colors, work and blend together as one. It has the power to make the mundane look extraordinary and outlines the entire feeling that a painting gives out. Colors are indeed very expressive and it is through this technique where it allows colors to express every emotion it needs to tell the painting’s story.

All in all, it should be stressed out that learning techniques make room for your own growth as an artist. Remember that even the greatest artists have become great by working hard on their skill. Through starting with painting techniques such as underpainting, it makes you one step closer to becoming the best the artist that you always wanted to be.

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