Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Customised Plates - a little peek at the process....

I have been wanting to document the process of painting a customised plate for some time.  But I have never really photographed the stages, as I am usually too in the 'zone' to think about stopping and taking pics.  When I was asked recently to paint a rather amazing image, on a vintage plate that was to be a gift.  I thought it would be the perfect chance to show you all what is involved!  Hope you like......

I was commissioned by the lovely Cate - a very good customer of mine, who just happens to have a pretty impressive collection of my plates herself.

She thought it was about time to spread some Odd One Out love to her friend Tara, who has the most amazing tattoo of a rather saucy looking mermaid.  I love painting tattoos on plates so needless to say I was pretty excited about doing this one.  Here is the photo she gave me for inspiration.....

First thing to do was find a vintage plate that would complement the image, and Cate was keen for something with a nautical vibe.  I found a few options from my collection and Cate chose this vintage 1950s plate which had a super cool original yachting image on it.

 And here we go..........painting time!

I've developed this kind of - outline in dots technique - to map out the placement and the proportion of the illustration first.  Working with porcelain paint is rather difficult and if you go wrong it is much easier to remove a few dots than a big thick painted line.  I've always drawn and painted from the outside in and I find this works best for me on plates too!

I decide that she would look pretty cool holding on to the yacht and I want the seagulls to be flying around her head so I change the angle of her body just slightly.

Once I'm happy with the placement and how the proportion is looking I start filling in the outlines.

Because the porcelain paint dries really slowly you have to be careful where your hands are so you don't smudge the paint.  I always start from the top left and work my way down to the bottom right.  If you make a mistake you have to let it dry completely before trying to fix it or it can get very messy!  I have the original printed out to refer to as I go.  (Please excuse the dark photo - I do most of my painting at night.)

 Now is the hard part for me - I have to let it completely dry before I continue.  I really hate stopping painting, but leave it overnight.  Then I fix any details or lines that I don't like - repaint and let it dry again.

Next is the fun bit adding all the little details, like the scales and shading.  I always find faces really hard so I usually have a couple of goes at getting the expression just right.

I want her to look a bit special to I decide to add a bit of gold detailing.  Gold porcelain paint is super tricky to deal with too!  I add tiny little dots to give the scales and her hair a bit of a glow.

et Voila!  she is finished.  I love how this one turned out - a bit of a challenge but super fun to paint.

Thanks Cate!

Tattooed plate meets the original!  Hope you love your present Tara - what an awesome friend you have  - to think of such an original and personalised gift.


Anonymous said...

Hi Niki,

Thank you - and my darling friend Cate - so very very much for the lovely birthday present.
Simon, who drew and tattooed "Mermaseille" has seen it and thinks its 'rad'

Thank you both again
tara xx

Anonymous said...

What a fab idea! Thanks for sharing, amazing to see and read how it's all done.
Michelle Mawson Evans

Niki said...

Yay Tara! So happy you love it, I really enjoyed painting her as you can see :) Simon is a really talented artist - "Mermaseille" is super cool!

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