How to Create Artwork on a Black Canvas
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How to Create Artwork on a Black Canvas

Difficulty Intermediate
Budget £10 - £30
Time 1/2 day +

Add a burst of flavour to your dining room with this loose artwork! Black canvas paintings make a bold and eye-catching impact in any room. With this piece, we’ll be bringing to life a dish of sliced red peppers.

It's easy to create and you can even add your unique twist to your work at the end! All you need is a photo editing app, a white pencil, a few acrylic paints and a white acrylic pen.

Project and instructions by McCarthy “Virtuo Mavii” Rogers.

You will need

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How to make

Step 1

Open the Adobe Photoshop app and start a new file according to your scale of work, I’m working on an A3 canvas, so I changed the canvas size to 11.7 x 16.5 on photoshop.

Next, cut your image, using the pen (P) or lasso tool (L) and paste it back onto your canvas. Your background will be transparent, use the bucket tool to paint it black – now you should have your "black canvas".

Right-click on your image layer and convert it into a smart object. This will allow you to adjust the effects layers later on.

Step 2

Now it’s time to adjust the image so that the colours fit bold and the background fades against the black canvas.

To achieve this, click on the image tab, scroll to adjustments and correct the following effects, in this order:

Curves > Brightness/Contrast > Gradient Map > Posterize > Hue/Saturation

Select this map when adjusting the gradient under "basics". To give your image a softer grayscale tone that will be easy to reference when sketching on your canvas.

Adjust the posterize level to something that will darken the black areas and lighten the whites while blending the background. 

Your image should be adjusted well, showing depth and a good tone difference. Let’s sketch it up!

Step 3

Lightly, sketch the image. Having your canvas size the same size on photoshop will help you gauge the proportion equally.

Intensify the whites in your image by adding more pressure with your white pencil. To add the tonal change, use diagonal lines. Softly crosshatch, to build the texture of your work. By using these 3 techniques you will achieve an almost "blueprint" looking concept of your fruit/vegetable.

Step 4

Use the white acrylic pen to enhance the white areas of your piece. This step is optional although, if you choose to apply it, be careful not to overdo this step.

Step 5

Finally, let your intuition guide your strokes and have fun!

You want to leave enough of your sketch visible but you want to apply your acrylic paints freely - bring your piece to life! The process increases in difficulty with the more tones you choose to add by mixing your palette.

Disable the “gradient map” adjustment on photoshop to reveal the colours.

How to Create Artwork on a Black Canvas

Step 6

Why not have a go at experimenting with other types of fruit, such as apples...

Step 7

...Or peaches - the possibilities are endless!

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