Painting a mural is a fun way to express your artistic side, and creating your masterpiece on an outdoor wall can add a vibrant new twist to your community. Your work and creative vision will be on full display, so you'll have the unique opportunity to gain wide visibility and feedback from the public that isn't possible with other forms of artistic media. If you have been commissioned to paint a mural on an outside setting for a business, school, or other organization, here are 3 tips to help make your job easy and fun.
1) Ensure that you have the proper materials ready to go
Without the right supplies, it is impossible to complete your project efficiently. Determine the amount of paint you will need for the entire design; depending on the overall size of the mural, you may need up to 5 gallons of paint for a single color. Choose acrylic paints for their ability to withstand the weather elements that an outer wall may endure. Acrylics also work well on cement and brick, so that type of paint is ideal for outdoor art. Remember to include primer in your paint selection as well. Be sure to have some paint trays, rollers, and painter's tape on hand. You'll also need several different sizes of paintbrushes. Bring some wide brushes to cover large areas and thinner brushes to fill in smaller details. If you have a big section that requires one color, a 3" or 4" brush is great for putting a lot of paint on the wall in a short period of time. Wear an apron or smock to protect your clothes, and use newspaper, a drop cloth, or cardboard on the ground to catch any paint drippings. A cup of clean water will also help you rinse your brushes out as needed.
2) Use a grid technique to easily transfer your design to the wall
Translating your vision from a mockup on a small piece of paper to a massive design on a much bigger wall can take some practice. However, a simple grid technique can remove a lot of the guesswork from the process. On your sketch, map out 1" squares (or grids) across the entire design. To establish the exact size that the corresponding wall grids should be, use a 1:1 calculation ratio. In other words, multiply each dimension by the same number (10 is a good number for this). If your original design measures in at 3" X 5", for example, then you should multiply each of those numbers by 10 to obtain a finished mural size of 30" X 50" with 10" grids. Once you have the proper calculations, you can create larger grids on the wall to guide you in redrawing the enlarged design precisely to scale.
3) Check the big picture regularly
As you begin to work on your mural, you may find yourself spending a great deal of time on all of the little details without making sure that they are meshing well with the whole picture. To guarantee that you create a cohesive image, take a few moments to step back often and see the entire picture on a larger scale. If you don't look at the greater piece of artwork, you might not notice if any proportions are off until it's too late. To make sure that you are checking this frequently, you can set a timer or alarm for every 15 minutes or so. If possible, walk across the street or move far enough back to get an unobstructed view.
Always be certain that you have permission to paint in the location before you start, and then use some of these tips to bring your awesome outdoor mural to life.
For more tips on how to paint murals, reach out to a local artist.