Painting Magic – Ponder

To everyone who is afraid to test their painting skills on rare cards: this alteration is for you! This week we’ll be working on Ponder. A cheap, easy to access, and easy to replace card that you don't have to worry about messing up.

Painting Magic - Ponder - Original card
Painting Magic - Ponder - Cards and Paints

The art on this card may seem involved, but don’t panic. The original artist has done most of the detail work. Look along the edges of the picture, and imagine what would extend over the border. We’ll be doing some color matching, and a little bit of texture effects for the ring of ripples near the top. Simple stuff. We’re going to be focusing on color matching for this alteration. If you match your colors closely enough, you’ll be able to make your painting look like it was there all along.

We’ll be mixing all of our colors this time. It’s good practice for color matching, and if the colors you paint aren’t quite right, you can always run out on the street and grab more Ponder cards from the spokes of the neighborhood kids’ bicycles.

Let’s start with the easiest color, which happens to be at the top of the card. It’s the light blue sky. Now, I have a light blue paint that’s almost turquoise, but that’s not the color of the sky in the original art. Our sky is a light shade of royal blue, so we’re going to mix royal blue into white. Remember- start with the lighter color and add the darker color to it little by little. You can easily make your color darker, but it takes double the paint to make it lighter if it’s too dark. I’ll start with this:

Painting Magic - Ponder - Blue Paint
Painting Magic - Ponder - Mixed Blue

Mixed Blue

When I feel pretty good about my color I like to take a bit on my palette knife and hold it up to the color I’m matching on the card (remember- your paint will probably look darker when it dries than it does right when you mix it). My color is close enough so I’ll go ahead and paint the sky in.

Painting Magic - Ponder - Painted Top

Four cards with the tops painted

Next we’ll paint a think band of seafoam/mint green around our sky where the light meets the green-blue water. For this I’m going to mix a bright green into white, and then add a touch of light blue if I think it needs it.

Painting Magic - Ponder - Green + White

Green + White before mixing

Painting Magic - Ponder - Mixed Green

Mixed green paint

I can tell right away that I’m going to need a touch of blue in this. If it’s not dried up yet, the blue we mixed for the sky will work nicely.

Painting Magic - Ponder - Mixed Green with blue

Mixed green with blue

I’ll go ahead and paint a band of this around either side of our sky for our top level of water. Make sure that you’re cleaning your brushes in water every couple minutes (and between colors) and leaving the tip a little damp.

Painting Magic - Ponder - Top sides painted

Top sides painted with new color

Now we’ll use a trick we used on the Sunpetal Grove last time. Grab an old ratty brush, get some white paint on it, and brush most of the paint off onto a paper towel so that the bristles separate but still have paint on them.

Painting Magic - Ponder - Brush closeup

Closeup on the ratty frayed brush

Take the brush and lightly brush the bristles around the borders between the green and the blue and in a semicircle pattern in across the sky blue, making whispy streaks of light reflecting in the water.

Painting Magic - Ponder - White wisps

White wisps added to painted area

For the mid-level underwater I’m going to mix my bright green into turquoise/light blue to try and get that teal color in the original art.

Painting Magic - Ponder - Green + Blue

Green + Blue paints pre-mixing

To get a lighter version of the color, we’ll add some of it to a little white.

Painting Magic - Ponder - Lighter Sea Green

Lighter Sea Green

I’m going to add a touch of blue to the lighter mix to bring it to teal rather than a straight mint green. Once we have a lighter and darker teal, we’re going to do some painting. First I’m going to use the lighter shade to paint a backdrop.

Painting Magic - Ponder - Expanded sides

Expanded sides using new sea green

Next we’re going to use a technique called “blending”. Blending is basically mixing colors on the surface while you’re painting them. We’ll paint on the lighter color with a medium sized brush, then with a small brush pick up some darker color and paint diagonal streaks (following the original art) while the lighter color is still wet. It’s easier than it sounds, you just need to be quick. We want to work some of our streaks into the original picture so our colors fit in better with the original art.

Painting Magic - Ponder - Blending sides

Blending on the sides

After that I’m going to do a couple more things to this part of the water. First, we’ll paint a few streaks of dark teal into the light green top level of the water we worked on after the sky. Then we’ll at a few streaks of with streaming into the mid-level of water.

Painting Magic - Ponder - Using more teal

Using more teal

On to the deep water. For this we’re going to mix a little black with our royal blue.

Painting Magic - Ponder - Dark Blue

Dark blue paint

We’ll paint this around the rest of the border. When that’s down, grab your ratty brush and paint some dark blue streaks reaching up into the mid level of the water. Again, follow the original art.

Painting Magic - Ponder - Dark blue bottom

Dark blue on the bottom of the cards

I didn’t like how far my dark blue streaks came up, so I took my ratty brush and painted some of darker teal from the last step back over it.

Painting Magic - Ponder - Teal added to bottom peaks

Teal added to bottom peaks

Since that covered up some of my white streaks. I’ll repaint those, and well move on to the ripple texture. Keep that dark blue mixture handy.

Take your small brush and with the dark blue paint and mimic the ripples in the original artwork with some dots and specks curving up the side, continuing the ring in the original artwork. Notice how the ripples in the picture are more dense at the bottom and dissipate toward the top. Make sure to place a few ripples in the blue sky to add to the illusion that the sky is being viewed through water.

Painting Magic - Ponder - Complete!

Completed cards!

And that’s it! Go ahead and sign and date the cards if you like, seal them with a clear acrylic spray, and you’re all set.

Advanced suggestion: If you finished your Ponders, are feeling good about your color mixing, and like the colors in the underwater scene, try your hand at extending the art on Academy Ruins. The art is beautiful, and it’s one of my favorites to alter.

Painting Magic - Academy Ruins example