So once again I found inspiration on Youtube. This time I stumbled across a video of artist Tatyana Kudryavtseva, doing some amazing free hand artwork in the street. I couldn’t stop watching it and soon found other videos by various artists practicing this one-stroke technique. Primarily used for decoration of household objects and keepsakes, it appears to be a craft in its own right. What particularly interested me was the speed with which very beautiful flowers could be created.

The technique itself involves loading your brush with separate colours which mix as you apply the brush to your chosen surface. Flat head brushes are key to this technique however chisel brushes are also recommended. There is also exploration to be done in prepping your brush in terms of how and where to apply your colour and how to work it deeper into the bristles before use. I have also seen examples of artists applying a third colour to the brush with hugely interesting and successful techniques.

One Stroke Painting
One Stroke Painting

It was with speed in mind that I decided to use this technique to create the tattoos on the female figure I was currently painting. After spending long hours carefully blending acrylics to create the smooth seamless skin, it was a joy to experiment with this super quick technique. I knew in advance that I would need to work back into my initial creation to make create the adjustments to make the painting look like a real tattoo. For example, tattoos are not going to be lighter than the rest of the skin with the exception of white highlights in fresh tattoos. You can therefore assume that the lightest colour in the tattoo would be that of the natural skin. This is important when skin is in shadow but particularly important when a tattoo wraps around an area falling into shadow. Ignore the light in your composition at your own risk! It will flatten the form and drastically reduce the level of realism. Also bear in mind that low light levels reduce chroma. Coloured light will have several colour interactions which should be observed to maintain realism.

One Stroke Tattoo
One Stroke Tattoo

I do admit that testing out new techniques should never be done on a primary work that you’ve already invested many hours in. If I had invested some time working in my sketchbook exploring this technique for myself I’m sure the end result would be technically stronger. Whilst what I created fit the requirement here, I’m sure one-stroke artists would be able to give me lengthy advice on how to better my technique. I hope to spend some time practicing this for future use. I can see where its application could save me a lot of time in roughing in many elements of my more complex pieces.

You can view Tatyana Kudryavtseva’s Youtube video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8gqYFB29ms