by Eva Gotz
Ladybugs have always been a favorite of mine with their cheerful color and delicate dance as they take flight. This project combines tissue paper and fabric for the background – a technique you can use on any firm surface such as canvas, wood, paper Mache boxes, etc. There are a number of steps, but you will be amazed at what you can create in future project ideas.
Hello! I’m Eva Gotz. I am originally from Missouri, named for my Grandmother Eva, who instilled the love of color and creativity in me. Naturally artistic from a young age, I was an art major in college. The University may have taught me art history and theory, but Decorative Painting enabled me to explore many more techniques! I am very fortunate to have taken lessons and attend seminars from lots of fabulous teachers over the years. I am a DecoArt Artist, taught acrylic decorative painting classes, participated in art and craft shows and was active in the Florida Suncoast Decorative Artists chapter of SDP in Tampa, Florida. My husband, Gerold, and I have recently relocated from Tampa to beautiful Amelia Island, FL, where we’re enjoying a new, relaxed beach life! The “2” in Gotz2paint relates to Gerry, as he is so supportive and extremely artistic in his own right. He creates incredibly unique wood items for me to paint on. Come visit my Gotz2Paint shop at Amazon Handmade or Etsy shop! Or maybe we’ll meet at the SDP convention in Daytona Beach this May!
- DecoArt Americana Acrylics 2 oz bottles
- Deep Midnite Blue (DA166)
- Lamp (Ebony) Black (DAO67)
- Napthol Red (DA104)
- Peacock Teal (DA326)
- Plantation Pine (DA113)
- Saffron Yellow (DA273
- Snow (Titanium) White (DAO1)
- Yellow Green (DA134)
Note: These are the colors I used, but you may adjust your colors to coordinate with your choice of fabrics.
- Simply Simmons or your favorite brushes
- Flat Shader #16
- Flat Shader #2
- Filbert #6
- Liner #2/0
- Flat Wash 1”
- 5" x 5" square canvas
- Fabric: your choice on the color of fabric (recommend medium tones so you can highlight and shade). Tip: Please use 100% cotton “quilting” fabric as they work so much better than blends for this technique.
- Approx. 6” x 6” square 100% cotton green fabric for “leaf”
- Approx. 4” x 4” square 100% cotton red fabric for “ladybug”
- Tissue paper in roll/box: Tim Holtz idea-ology “Melange”
- General Charcoal Pencil White 2 pack
- DecoArt Multi-Purpose Sealer 2 oz DS17-3
- Americana DuraClear Varnish, Gloss 2 oz
- Mona Lisa “Pink Lady” brush soap 4 oz
Basic painting supplies
- Paper towels
- Brush Basin
- Palette or plastic/Styrofoam plate
- Tracing paper
- Fine Sharpie
- White transfer paper
- Scissors (sharp)
- Old Credit Card (optional)
- 1” Saw tooth hanger + nails and hammer (optional)
- Pattern: Using a fine Sharpie, trace the pattern provided on a 5” x 5” square tracing paper.
Fabric prep: Lightly wash (with a couple drops of dish soap) the squares of fabric to remove the sizing, rinse well, and let dry flat. Press the fabric squares when dry to remove any wrinkles. Print and cut out the leaf and ladybug templates provided. Position templates on the appropriate fabrics; trace shapes with the white charcoal pencil. Cut out and set aside. (See photo 1.)
CLICK THIS LINK TO DOWNLOAD THE FULL SIZED PDF PATTERN »
Tone the canvas: (Again, please use colors that blend with your fabrics.) Using the 1” brush, lightly use a crosshatch motion with the Peacock Teal and Yellow Green, thinned slightly with water, onto the canvas. You do not want any ridges. You may mix a little Titanium White with the base colors to lighten them. Do not blend the colors together too much as you want to be able to see the distinct different colors. Don’t stress, as this will be covered with the tissue paper! Paint the sides and canvas rim on the back in the same manner, but in a more opaque manner. Let dry. (See photo 2.)
Apply paper: Select and cut out an a 6” square of the Tim Holtz tissue paper that pleases you, bearing in mind where your leaf and ladybug will be positioned on the canvas. Using the 1” brush, apply the Multi-Purpose Sealer to only the top surface of the canvas. Quickly position the square of tissue paper on the canvas, and press down, starting at one edge and smoothing out any air bubbles with your fingers or the old credit card. Clean any squished-out sealer off sides of the canvas but be certain where the paper meets the edge is pressed down well. The paper should lay flat across the face of the canvas with the edges sticking out straight beyond the edge, not down the side. Trim the excess paper off by laying the scissors flat and parallel to the edge of the canvas. Apply a thin coat of sealer on top of the paper. Allow to dry and check a little later for any bubbles. If you do have a bubble, stick a pin in it, and apply a little more sealer to seep in the hole and seal the paper down. Sealer is a little tough on your brush, so be sure to clean immediately when finished. (See photo 3.)
Apply fabric: Lay leaf fabric onto the canvas with left and bottom edge off the canvas about 1/8”. Using the chalk pencil, trace the leaf edge so you know where to apply sealer to canvas. Remove fabric. Using the 1” brush, apply the sealer in the leaf area a little outside the chalk line so all leaf area is covered with sealer - do only the top canvas surface (not sides). Apply a liberal amount, but not puddles…. the sealer should saturate the fabric. Quickly position the leaf fabric in the designated area and smooth down. Use the old credit card to smooth the fabric down gently. Be careful not to fray the fabric edges. Hold the tracing pattern over the wet canvas (do not let it touch the surface) in order to position fabric ladybug in place. Remove pattern and lift up half the ladybug - apply sealer, press down, and then do the other half. Smooth fabric to allow the ladybug to overlap the leaf. Apply a thin coat of sealer on top of the fabrics. Clean your brush well immediately. Let dry completely. (See photo 4 with leaf fabric applied).
Apply the pattern: Position tracing pattern on the canvas, aligning your leaf, and ladybug design. Hold in place and insert white transfer paper between tracing pattern and canvas. Using the stylus, transfer leaf veins, ladybug dots, back line, and line dividing head and body. Being sure to not have lines too dark. The other detailed markings will be transferred later. You may wish to freehand the pattern with the white chalk pencil. I transferred then darkened the lines with chalk allowing them to show. (See photo 5.)
Leaf: Using No.16 flat brush and Plantation Pine (+ a little Deep Midnight Blue to darken, if necessary), side load float shade:
Right side of center vein: Right side of side veins on right side of leaf by ladybug, from center out.
Left side of veins on left side of leaf, from center out.
Ladybug: Using No.16 flat brush and Deep Midnight Blue (+ Lamp Black to darken, if necessary), side load float shade:
Right side of center back line on ladybug, from back end to head.
Using No. 6 filbert brush and Lamp Black, fill in spots and head. Try not to go off the ladybug fabric onto the background. (And if you do, no worries! The sealer protects the fabric and paper background. You can clean up the background with a damp brush).
Leaf: Using No.16 flat brush and Saffron Yellow (+ a little Titanium White to lighten if necessary), side load float highlight:
Left side of the center vein, in the center section only, between side veins.
Left side of side veins on the right side of the leaf, more color by the bottom vein.
Right side of the side vein only, on the left side of the leaf, at the bottom
Ladybug: Using No. 16 flat brush and Deep Midnight Blue (+ Black to darken if necessary), side load float shade:
Around ladybug shell edge and under ladybug on leaf.
Allow all to dry. You can reinforce any of these floats for areas that need accenting per your fabrics. (See photo 6).
- Using white transfer paper and stylus, transfer pattern details.
Legs and Antennae: Using No. 2/0 liner brush and Lamp Black, paint legs and antennae.
Using same brush, highlight legs using Titanium White + a tad of Lamp Black and paint jagged line and dots on the front and middle legs.
Details: Using No. 2 flat brush and Lamp Black + Titanium White for a medium gray color paint:
a) Two “shiny” highlight odd shape areas, following the contour between the head and shell. I think this area on the ladybug is quite hard and rounded, so try to keep this in mind when you apply these shapes. They should create a “curved” feel.
b) Using No. 16 flat brush and Napthol Red, side load float highlight on the center back line opposite the shaded area; keep highlight in the middle part.
c) Using No. 2/0 liner brush and same Lamp Black + Titanium White mix, paint the two lines towards the “face”.
d) Same brush and paint, paint the small line on “heart dot” on shell.
e) Same brush and just Titanium White, paint curved highlight on larger grey area on head.
f) With same brush and paint, paint three dots on “face”.
g) With handle end of brush and Lamp Black, dot paint where “heart” dots meet the head.
h) Using No. 2 flat brush and Saffron Yellow, apply triangles on shell and rectangles on head sides; this step may require two coats.
i) Final highlight: Wet area slightly. Using No. 2 flat and Saffron Yellow + Titanium White, apply a soft triangular highlight area, which can be a bit choppy. Allow to dry. With same brush, apply a Titanium White diffused circular highlight in the middle. Allow to dry. With same brush, apply a pure smooth Titanium White highlight in the center. This technique builds a pyramid of highlights. Allow to dry.
- Adjust any areas to suit your piece, strengthening or toning down, including a sheer “slip slap” of background colors, if desired, to “push” the background further back. I liked the round music notes to accentuate the dots on the ladybug.
- Sign your masterpiece and allow to dry. (See finished piece, photo 7).
- Apply two to three coats of gloss varnish with the 1” brush, letting dry well between coats.
- To hang, center saw tooth hanger on top back wood stretcher bar and attach using hammer and small nails. This is optional as these wider canvases can stand by themselves for display.
If you have any questions regarding this project, please contact Eva directly at: Gotz2paint@gmail.com