Bucket list item check! I painted a mural! This process was pretty different from my previous ones – I think the scariest part about painting a mural is its permanence. Make a mistake and the “erasing” of it is a lot different than chalk or window marker. (Which I did make a mistake and it added some more time- I’ll get into it later.)
Location, Location, Location
I will be the first to tell you that I’m not the best at keeping to personal projects. I love coming up with the ideas and then they sit on that back burner until the water boils out because I never move it to the front. Luckily, Virginia Beach’s VIBE District was looking for artists to donate murals along 18th street.
Normally, I don’t like the idea of free artwork but I decided this was a great boost for me to move a “large mural project” to the front burner, while also being able to paint anything that I wanted. There wasn’t huge pressure on time and it would be the greatest experience of trying and although the exposure didn’t pay my bills, my supplies were being reimbursed and I had experience under my belt. So, I the pros outweighted the cons.
Coming up with the mural was a little harder than I expected but it was fun, too. Of course, I wanted to letter a phrase, but I didn’t want anything too long. So I settled with LEAD WITH LOVE for a couple of reasons.
It wasn’t an overused phrase. It wasn’t peace, love, happiness or anything like that. But it had a great message and was inspiring (at least to me).
The words were short, which lent the opportunity to big letters and boldness. It is something I am trying to do every day. I’ve been trying to be more grateful and to be more present in my own life. Why not make your first mural a message that is important to your own life?
FREEBIE ALERT: Here’s a free coloring page inspired by this mural.
After getting the art approved, it was a trip to the hardware store. This specific mural was painted on plyboard since it’s a rotating art piece. Ryan helped me pick up a 4×8 piece of plyboard and off I went scouring the oops paint for matching colors. Whatever I couldn’t find in the oops paint area, I found swatches for and got made. We just recently painted Arik’s room, so we also had some white from that project and many, many brushes.
First, I digitally mocked up the painting on my iPad in the Procreate app. (I absolutely love this app, and if you’d like more blog posts about it – let me know. I can go on and on about this app.)
After the supply shopping trip, I started on the backdrop. The background of this piece was a gradient of blue to white in the middle. Because of that, I painted the entire white first, so that the blue color will have a primed background. Now, I’m not sure if this step is needed if you were painting a wall, but I wanted to make sure the gradient was very consistent and I didn’t want any of the wood to show through the paint. After the white dried, I poured some white and blue into disposable cups and started painting a gradient. To do this, I started with the blue and would gradually layer in white and went back and forth until it looked right to me. It’s a little nerve-wracking, but after a while, it’s just fun to paint broadly and pretty freely.
Next were the letters. I taped off some of the straight lines and started painting them in. I went back and forth, looking at the mock-up and measuring the board. Since I don’t own a projector, this was honestly the only way I had to transfer this over.
Which led to my mistake.
AGH! I painted the stem of the D way too close to the A. In order to correct my mistake, I had to paint over it. I taped off the A, so I didn’t get any paint on it by accident and painted over the D while I continued to work on the details of the letters. Another tip may be to have taped off the middle decorations in my letters. The yellow I had was very thin and it took multiple layers to paint the decorations in the word LEAD.
For the script, I did lay a light layer of pencil down as a guide. I did have to paint some areas over to cover the pencil marks.
My Finish Line
And then I put on all the finishing touches, the shadowing, the decorative aspects. I did choose to keep this mural on the “easier” side, because of timing, expertise level, and supplies. But overall I am SO proud of it. It will be beautifully hanging on 18th street in Virginia Beach – if you feel compelled to take a photo with it, I would love to see it. Please tag me on social media @ceindydoodles.
Want to learn more about my process? Check out this blog post on my chalk lettering process. Would you like a hand-lettered mural for your business? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.