A reader asked if I use a fixative before I start painting. Workable fixative is nice when you intend to put more pencil or paint on top of the drawing and you want to ensure adhesion. It will also keep the charcoal from lifting up too much and making the acrylic paint all muddy. But honestly I kind of like muddy colors for the underpainting so I don't mind that. So yes I use it, but not as much as some people do. In a way my underpainting is my fixative.
At any rate only use a Workable fixative. Anything else will make it so slick the paint won't stick to it.
For an underpainting I usually start with acrylics and house paint. House paint is cheap and dries quickly and mixes well with art acrylics so you can easily use them together. Just don't use glossy paint because it will be too slick to paint over, that's kind of the point of glossy paint you can wash things back off of it. so use flat finish paint and you'll be fine. Most of the time Your background will be in drab earth tones anyways which is what house paint usually is so why waste expensive oil paint to make muddy under paintings with?
This is brown and yellow house paint and a little matte varnish both from the hardware store. The varnish thins the paint down and makes it transparent, but not watery.
I want the whole painting to have some color on it, This already gives it a finished kind of look, but we're far from finished yet. Go fast and sloppy, use choppy brushstrokes and dip into darker and lighter colors. The paint is too thin at this point to have any actual texture, but it gets the appearance of texture which will be critical to the painting as you go along.
Is house paint really good enough for this kind of work?
Are plywood panels and old doors good enough to make Art on?
Am I a good enough artist to do this painting?
Do I know enough?
Do I have enough skills?
Is my style unique enough?
Am I in the right place mentally, physically and emotionally to begin an art career?
Do I have a message that the world needs to hear?
Am I to old to start this?
These are among the many questions that people use as obstacles to block their own path. Oh I'll start painting when I have time, money experience knowledge inspiration...You'll never start, there will always be some other obstacle to get over because you'll never stop throwing obstacles down in front of yourself.
The key to getting where you want to be is to start walking.
Four years ago I had a sign painting business that was out of work, a foreclosure on my house, and not a penny in the bank. But what I did have was time, old boards, house paint, sign paint and sign painting skills. So I did a couple hundred paintings with the materials on hand and the skills and techniques that I was familiar with.
Where they the best in the world? No, but doing them saved my life. It helped me financially and it restored my confidence in myself.
Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.