Creating a Big Impact with Tiny Paintings - from guest blogger Heidi Stephens

Creating a Big Impact with Tiny Paintings - from guest blogger Heidi Stephens

These tiny paintings have a two fold purpose for me. Firstly, packs of paper are easier to buy in large dimensions, so I cut them down when I make postcards, bookmarks, and other small paintings. This does leave me with a few inches of paper in awkward dimensions. However, I try to be environmentally conscious, and have a hard time throwing away anything that may have a secondary purpose. So I began cutting my leftover trimmings into small squares and rectangles. These tiny paintings are a great way to give new life to something that would normally be trash.

Then after I made the first set of tiny paintings, I realized they reminded me of stickers! At the time I had some anxiety about filling up a sketchbook with drawings that might be bad, but doing series of tiny paintings was an easier way for me to doodle my ideas. I have since overcome my fear of sketchbooks, but I still use these to make sticker ideas, and I was actually able to have some of my tiny paintings made into stickers and magnets!

Here are some topics I love painting on these scrap papers:

  1. Flowers- pick a few of your favorite flowers and paint an up close view of the bloom.

The small paper allows you to be as loose or detailed as you want. I have done single flowers on one paper, but a mini bouquet painting would be so cute too! I usually don’t sketch anything beforehand for these.

Echinacea can come in many shades of pink and purple and I think this neon pink shade (seashell sample pictured) is perfect for them!

I like to write the name of the flower on the bottom of the paper as my way to plan my drawing. I really love how this one came out and the boldness of the neon pink.

          2. Quotes- short, meaningful quotes look perfect on an abstract background

Hand-lettering is one of my favorite things to do. Scrap paintings can be a good way to test layouts or color schemes. And the metallic paints really help the background pop!

“Never cut what you can untie.” 

I’m still not sure about the best layout for this quote. I guess I’ll test a few layouts and backgrounds on more scraps until I find my favorite! This could take a few pages of a sketchbook to experiment with layouts, but using a few pieces of scrap paper instead will reserve me space for larger sketches or practicing techniques.

             3. Polaroid/Instagram style- leave a white border around your square to give it that vintage feeling.

The topic of your painting can be anything for this one. The special thing about it is the way you tape the edges of your paper. Make sure the tape covers a larger width on the bottom of your paper than the sides and top.

I went with an Instagram-worthy sunset over the sea.

There you have it! Three great ways to use those scraps of paper that seem too small for anything. What other topics would be perfect for these tiny sizes? Maybe some tiny pet portraits. Or you could bind a bunch together to make a little swatch book for your favorite glittering watercolors from The Smiling Hippo!

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