Titanic 3D painting with Viva Las Vegastamps!

Painting the Titanic with a 3D Effect

For my third Viva Las Vegastamps! design team post, I had decided to do a *steampunk-influenced, zentangle-inspired creation of the Titanic on the ocean floor.  I looked up blueprints of the Titanic for inspiration and even created a new tangle pattern to use. But then I saw some photos of it taken shortly after it was found, and was struck with the idea to make my painting 3D.  I thought I could incorporate all of these elements, but to get the 3D effect the ship had to be drawn larger than I originally planned.  It also meant I had to go so dark that tangle patterns wouldn’t show up.

I debated about starting over, but then my husband saw this and fell in love with the 3D effect.  He doesn’t fall in love with that many of my projects, so I decided to forget both the steampunk and zentangle-inspired work  (note: when doing crafts & art for the guys, 3D will probably be a popular choice, lol).

The stamps I used are steampunk–but then there are odd little fishies down there on the ocean floor, and I think they just added an eerie element to the painting.  I have another design team post on 5/16–I promise I’ll introduce the new tangle pattern then.

Meanwhile–The sunken Titanic in 3D.

Canson Bristol paper 9×12
Ultra High Gloss Embossing Powder
Stampendous Aged Copper Embossing Powder
Terri Sproul Mixer-Orange Pearl & Sakura 3D Crystal Lacquer
Staz-on Midnight Blue InkPad
Tim Holtz Distress Markers:
    Scattered Straw
    Mustard Seed
    Shabby Shutters
    Crushed Olives
    Dusty Concord
    Tumbled Glass
    Broken China
Letraset Promarker-Black
Gesso & Sponge
Viva Las Vegastamps!
    Steampunk Fish, Steampunk Squid & Steampunk Octopus from Plate 1389
    Steampunk Dolphin from Plate 1390.
Picture of the Titanic for reference
The 3D effect was actually pretty simple.  I used four elements to achieve it.

First, I ignored one of the basics of design, and put the focal point of my  painting (the ship) in the exact center of the page.  The eye is more likely to interpret an object in this position as coming toward it.

The second element was to frame the painting, and have the ship jut out of the frame.  Cheap, but strangely effective.  This was the rough template I used for the start of the painting.

The third element is the creation of depth using increasing dark values as you get to back of the ship.  The idea is to try and make it look as though the Titanic is coming out of the dark into the light.

I printed out a picture of the ship for reference.  I didn’t intend to add much detail but needed an idea of the general shapes.

Using both clear and colored stamp-pad ink I stamped up the bow of the ship and covered it with embossing powder.  I heated it until I had a distressed metal plate look.  When the embossed section cooled, I started coloring with the Distress markers (sorry, I meant to take a scan after embossing, and got so caught up that I forgot).

I swept across the marker color with a very wet papertowel, pulling the color downward, and letting it run.  This was to establish the lightest values and get a watery, ripply effect.  Using my reference photo, I picked out darker areas to suggest the rigging and broken pieces of the ship.

The Distress Markers wouldn’t adhere to the embossed surface, so I used a black Promarker to color in sections of the hull.

I hadn’t decided exactly which stamps I was going to use.  Both plates Plate 1389 and 1390 are chock full of fantastic steampunk critturs, several of which are aquatic.  I picked out the ocean animals and laid them around until I found four that I felt framed the ship the best.

I used Staz-on Midnight Blue ink.  I still thought I might draw patterns at this point, and I don’t like to mix blacks, so I went with the dark blue.  Staz-on is waterproof, and I knew I’d be adding more water.

I kept adding layers of Distress marker, black Promarker and water.  I used Mustard Seed and Scattered Straw to color the stamps, and the Promarker to add shadows around them.

The correct shape for the ship and where to use the darkest values eluded me so I held the  painting up to a mirror, and actually finished the shadows while staring at the reverse image.  Sometimes, a different perspective is all you need!

The fourth element of the 3D effect was to have streams of water that seemed to float above the ship.  For this I stirrued up some Terri Sproul mixer in Orange Pearl with Sakura 3D Lacquer.  I painted a thin triad of waves-one above and two to the side, aiming at the center again.  I also added a touch to each of the stamped images to give them a little more drama.
Neither the orange pearl or the embossed color show up well in the scans, and I had to photograph the painting lying flat and slightly tilted up at the top to catch them.  The picture changes according to the light, and the 3D effect becomes stronger when viewed at an angle.  
This photo catches the metallic and glimmery colors a little better.

The last step was to go around the ‘frame’ with white gesso and cover up the mess.  Intelligent crafters usually lay down a mask to protect the white surface, but I wanted to be free to step out as it were, so I didn’t this time.  I left a little color underneath the bow of the ship for shadow.

Thank you for touring the Titanic with me!  Visit the Viva Las Vegastamps! blog for more projects promotions and monthly challenges.  And if you haven’t already received your free grab bag of rubber stamps, consider posting the Viva Las Vegastamps! widget on your sidebar.  The code and instructions can be found on the left sidebar of the blog.


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