Paint a giant robot artwork
- Find inspiration for your piece – in this case, we were inspired by science fiction and graphic novels
- Our subjects are a small boy and a wasp-like mechanical warrior
Prepare the canvas:
- We used a spare canvas and applied gesso over the existing work to start fresh
- Let the gesso dry, then lightly sand for a clean surface
- Feel free to use a new canvas if you have one on hand!
- Sketch the wasp robot with a pencil either freehand or using a grid to guide you – you can grab the outline in the Downloads tab above
- Add shading to define shapes, using a stump or your fingers to soften the blending
- The light source is coming from the mech and along the horizon line
- Cover the canvas with Medium Yellow and Orange using a large taklon brush charged with paint and dipped into water
- Mix colours on the canvas rather than your palette for interesting dimensions and texture
Enhance the wasp:
- Bolster your shadows and dark tones with orange paint and light tones with yellow paint
- Use paint pens for defining details, outlines, and elements on your wasp, adding colours such as green and red to certain areas
- Add the alien lettering to the wasp
- Bold outlines help create the graphic and illustrative style
Paint the Boy:
- Use oil paints for painting the child – the 12pc Oil Paint Set has all the colours we need!
- Start with the budgie, mixing a light blue colour
- Use Burnt Umber as the base colour for the hair, applying Yellow Ochre with a fine brush over the top for highlights
- Create a skin tone with Titanium White, and a touch of Yellow Ochre and Vermilion
- Use Burnt Umber for the shadow tones
- Paint the boy’s shirt by tinting Cerulean Blue with Titanium White
- Add folds with White and use Pthalo Blue for the edges
- The shorts are straight and painted with Pthalo Blue
- Use Brilliant Red for the balloon’s base colour, blending in shadows to the side with Pthalo Blue and highlights with Titanium White
- Flip the canvas and add Titanium White at the base of the wasp using our 75mm Abstract Expression Brush
- Avoid using oil paints in the foreground, as we’ll be using acrylic paints there
- Apply Lemon Yellow, Yellow Deep, Orange, Cadmium Red, and Crimson in bands, working your way up to the top of the canvas and blending for a smooth transition
- Leave space around the wasp as the large brush isn’t great for tighter areas
- After your colour bands are in, use a small flat brush to bring the paint up to the wasp
- Blend the orange background into the sun’s lower half, so it fades into the background colours and gives it a hazy look
- For this piece, the wasp is the focal point so other details can just be suggested
- Use Lamp Black acrylic paint for the foreground base colour
- Centralising under the white part of the horizon line, apply Yellow Ochre in horizontal strokes to add dimension
- Use a dirty green to create greater depth, and a grey colour to suggest stones
- Step back and appreciate the artwork
- Make up a story for your masterpiece! Artist Joe’s is down below ⏬
Joe’s Concept – a peek into the creative process
Will was clueless about the invasion. He’d come home from school, made a chocolate milk, and was hanging out with his beloved budgie, Bert. He just turned 7 the day before; bright helium balloons were still scattered about like hundreds and thousands and leftover supermarket mud cake was beckoning to him in the fridge. Aunty Rose always said, the cheaper the cake, the sweeter the icing!
Mum wasn’t home yet, which was unusual for this time of day. He knew he had to wait for her to have any cake, but if she wasn’t home soon, he might just sneak some. She was late, later than she’d ever been before, even when that truck had flipped on the M1. She’d been fuming that day!
The weather seemed to reflect Will’s unease, with violent claps of thunder rattling the house every few minutes. The sky’s colours had inverted, spanning smoky reds and oranges across the horizon outside.
An unearthly, hollow buzzing noise was growing louder and louder, seeming to envelop the house and Will’s very brain. To make matters worse… Will couldn’t get any connection on his iPad, and he was getting restless. The movies always made being home alone look cooler than it actually was.
The microwave clock read 20:00 but for some reason, the sky was still alight, with no signs of night approaching. Will decided enough was enough, he had to see what was happening out there. Maybe he’d walk out to the climbing tree to get a better look – he could even release one of the balloons for fun.
He tied a red balloon to his wrist and picked up Bert – he wasn’t going to do this alone. Cautiously, Will slid the back door open, peeking into the garden to see what was happening beyond. Everything was shrouded in an acrid orange smoke, and he couldn’t see much from the doorway. With his heart rate accelerating, he put one foot in front of the other and moved out to the edge of the patio.
The smog shifted, clearing before his eyes to reveal a staggering sight. A gigantic metal wasp-like creature towered over him, slowly swaying from side to side as it crouched on its angular limbs. All the while, a deep mellifluous buzzing sound radiated from it, vibrating Will’s very core.
Although the fearsome creature loomed over him, something deep within assured Will the creature meant him no harm. He gazed up at the creature and held his dear Bert out in front of him in some effort to introduce his friend to this strange creature. Everyone loved Bert, that he was sure of.