Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Palette Hack!

I've been waiting since summer to see if this would spontaneously combust (or mold), but it hasn't yet, so let me share with you how to make a Picnic Paint Box.

You will need:
  • Tiffin lunch box with locking lid, or bento box with locking cover
  • Sta-Wet palette paper
  • Sta-Wet sponge
  • Pencil or pen
  • Scissors
  • Hot, hot, hot water
  • Clean casserole dish
  • Acrylics or Acryla-Gouache
  • The four illustrator food groups OR a sandwich
Target sold some very cute picnic/tiffin lunch boxes with locking lids this summer and I bet they will again soon. I got a snazzy yellow one: 

I've been using Sta-Wet palettes for my acrylics ever since the ethereal Yuyi Morales explained them at a SCBWI Conference a few years ago, thanks, Yuyi and SCBWI!

Using the lid or base of your box, trace its shape onto a piece of dry Sta-wet paper as well as the dry sponge. Cut inside your tracing line, about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch in, all around. The paper and sponge expand, and it's better to be slightly smaller than the box's interior than it is have your flat sta-wet palette not lay flat. You can try fitting the dry stuff into your box, if it's too big dry, keep trimming things down.

Follow the Sta-Wet directions for how to activate your palette paper and spongy bit (that's where the casserole dish and hot water come in.)Stick the palette paper and sponge in your box's bottom. Grab your paints. This tiffin box has kept my acryla-gouache happy for months:

Your box may have one or more levels. My box has two levels, bottom for a palette, and the top level splits into two.

I put my paint tubes in one of those compartments, but realized all of my brushes are too long to fit in the other compartment. I don't have one of those canvas rollup brush holders, but who needs one of THOSE when you have nostrils and ear holes? Natural brush holders!

So, what to do with your empty compartment? I recommend filling it with the Illustrator's Four Food Groups, the seasonal version of those being:

1. Eggnog (taffy or liquid form)
2. Peppermint (taffy, schnapps, or cane form)
3. Clementines
4. Gingersnaps (standalone or as a crust)

And now you, too, can have a cheery palette to keep you company.

 Which is better company than the company I normally keep, that of dead-eyed chair stealers.


Kirby Larson said...

I love this tip -- it makes me swoon to see those tubes of paints. Ah, to be an illustrator.

I have a dead-eyed chair stealer, too. Only mine's of the canine variety. In fact, he is rather peeved at the moment because I've dared to reclaim my chair.

Martha Brockenbrough said...

My chair stealers are live-eyed. One is 7. The other is 11. They are relentless (and the have chipped all the paint off the edge of my desk by spinning the chair into it. Thwack. Thwack.)