It’s been almost a year since my first wall mural at Fabcafe but my fascination with hand-painted walls dates back to the summer of 2014 when a senior from work and a very good friend took me to a beautifully painted cafe in Delhi for lunch. I was amazed at the walls and even more amazed when I found out that the walls were hand-painted. 

I could instantly relate to the illustrations and knew this is what I would love to do someday.  

Over the years, I have realized that when it comes to a wall mural, there are so many possibilities, permutations, and combinations, that you don’t have to be a skilled artist to create a beautiful wall. I am no expert either and what I am about to share with you is merely out of my own personal experience and some practice. I still remember how intimidated I got looking at a big wall before I started painting my first mural ever but that ended the moment my brush touched the wall. It's been an incredible journey since then and one of my favourite things to do now :D

WHAT PAINTS AND BRUSHES TO USE AND WHERE TO FIND THEM :

Acrylic paints work great on almost all surfaces. They are bright, opaque and the good quality ones are even water and light resistant. Even if you are a beginner, choose your brands and colors wisely because that does make a lot of difference. You could start with Pebeo studio acrylics or Camel artists acrylics ( easily available ) they are quite pocket-friendly and have a nice smooth texture. Some other brands that I use and really like are Daler-Rowney, Winsor and Newton and Golden. These are available on Amazon and certain other offline stores that stock professional art supplies. 

I started painting with my regular Faber Castell brushes and often now add different shapes and sizes as and when needed. For larger areas and base coats, use flat hard bristle brushes or thick round brushes and finer ones for top layers and details. 


HERE ARE SOME BASICS TO REMEMBER WHILE PAINTING A WALL : 

  1. Prepare the wall that you will be painting on - Before you begin transferring your paint to the wall, make sure the wall is clean of any impurities, dirt or dust. For instance, unwanted grains, oil or grease might hamper your artwork once you start painting, so get rid of those before you begin. 
  2. Create a theme for your artwork and indulge in a little space design - Look around and see what theme you’d want that space and your mural to reflect, bright, bold, minimal etc. This is also a good stage to come up with a color palette and how much of the wall would you want the mural to cover and the approximate proportion of the artwork you’ll have to work on, for e.g, square, 4:3, 6:9, landscaper, portrait etc.
  3. Start designing the artwork - One of the best ways is to keep a proportion in mind and start designing accordingly. For eg. if you wall is 10x10 feet, work on a 1ftx1ft area so that you know how much to blow it up while transferring it on the wall.
  4. Transfer the artwork on the wall using on of the following ways - 
    • Grid method - Create a grid using horizontal and vertical lines on your artwork and the same on the wall and transfer each box onto the respective box on the wall. For e.g. - Divide the 1ftx1ft artwork into 10 columns and 10 rows which gives you 100 unique boxes. Divide the 10ftx10ft wall also into 10 columns and 10 rows. copy the artwork on each box on the paper to the corresponding box on the wall. Once all the boxes are done, you’ll have the blown up version of your paper artwork on the wall. You can use as many rows, columns and boxes as you need. Sometimes, 4 is enough and sometimes, more than 10 might be needed for really big murals. 
    • Free hand drawing - This is my favourite way. You don’t need to be too precise sometimes especially with botanicals. Go ahead, and draw free hand the way you feel like, no one’s going to know. 
    • Projector transfer - Sometimes you need very precise artworks, e.g.. certain logos etc. In those cases, create or use a digital file and project it on the wall using any projector. This makes it super easy to trace the lines and shapes and once you have done that, color it in. 
  5. Start painting using multiple techniques to make it simple for you and to add depth and interest to your artwork. You could even go crazy with the supplies you use. Try experimenting with different kinds of brushes, sponges etc to create textures and interesting strokes on the wall. 
  6. Start with the lightest color to create a base coat and move on to darker colors. Acrylic colors are opaque and once a layer dries, you can easily coat it with another without disrupting the base layer. You can add as many layers, shades as you want. 

 These are just some guidelines and basics that I wanted to share with you all.  However pls don’t feel the pressure to follow any of them if you don’t feel like. The first time I started painted a wall, it was a small wall in my room and I started without anyone teaching me how to paint on a wall. I treated it like another paper and started painting the way I would usually do. Slowly, I got a hang of what colors go together well and what tools work for me the most. The reason I am telling you this is that the above-mentioned points might give you a starting point or a direction but you are going to have most fun and create the best that you can if you forget the existing rules for a while and create your own new rules or mix it up with what I have shared with you. 

Most importantly, Don’t be scared of ruining a wall or two because there is nothing that can’t be fixed and because it's so very important to make horrible mistakes before you create that one thing that you can be proud of. 

Hope you create beautiful walls around you and I can’t wait to see. Don’t forget to take pictures and tag me on instagram if you share them, I would love to see what you come up with :)

Feel free to ask anything else that I might have missed out on in the comments below!

April 26, 2019 — Vidhi Khandelwal

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