Eileen asked me to do a short video to show how I painted the Unicorn, and I thought it was a great idea. Thanks, Eileen, for suggesting it.
Eileen pointed out that it’s really hard to paint an animal sculpture all one color and have it come out nice, and I totally agree. If an animal sculpture is all one color, whether it’s white or brown or purple, the result can end up looking flat. I really like the way the Unicorn came out, though, because the three different coats, each with a slight variation in color, make the large expanse of white look more interesting.
For the Unicorn, I used a painting method that I’ve only used once before, and that was for his little rabbit friend. (I think we need names for the Unicorn and Rabbit. Suggestions, anyone?)
I used some small bottles of chalk paint that I bought at Walmart, and stencil brushes. (I just found a similar product by FolkArt, at Amazon.com, and I’ll be ordering more colors. I think the FolkArt paints are actually less expensive, because the containers are eight ounces instead of two ounces. They name their colors differently – Waverly’s “Ivory” might be FolkArt’s “Sheepskin,” but we’ll have to experiment a bit to figure that out.)
To paint the white coat on the Unicorn, I used the stencil brushes to pounce three slightly different versions of very light, warm gray onto the sculpture. The different colors show through because no coat completely covers the previous coat. Even though the color differences are extremely small – so small that they don’t really show up well for the camera – they still give an interesting, natural and rich look to the Unicorn’s white coat.
This is a fast, easy way to paint an animal sculpture, and I’ll be using it a lot in the future. It will work best when you don’t want brush marks to show, and when the natural coat of the animal is either all one color, like the body of the Unicorn, or if there are very slight variations within the coat, like you see on a wild rabbit.
The rub-on shine that I added to the mane, tail, and horn are now sold under a different brand than mine (I got mine at least 20 years ago) but they’re still available in exactly the same colors, here. The one I used was the White Mist. The Silver seemed like a more reasonable choice for a silver mane, but I liked the white one better.
I ran out of varnish, so my rabbit and unicorn still need their final clear coat. Another reader (thank you, Rex!) recommended a varnish by Americana, which comes in Gloss, Satin, Ultra Matte and Soft Touch. I ordered the Matte version (and the Soft Touch) just to see what they’re like. I’ll report back to you as soon as I’ve had time to experiment with them. The chalk paint line has a wax finish, (normally used for furniture, I think), but I decided not to use it because the label on the one from Walmart said it needed to be reapplied every year. I’m too lazy to do that, so I’ll stick with the varnish.
If you’d like to make a Unicorn or Rabbit (or both) using my patterns, you can find them on the new Sculpting Patterns page.