I have been a huge fan of Calvin and Hobbes since childhood. So when my handsome man-friend asked me to paint Calvin onto his screen door, and Hobbes onto his front door, I was obviously thrilled to do it! I’ve never painted Calvin and Hobbes before, and I’ve only recently become confident enough to paint onto walls, but how hard could it be? I always get myself into trouble with that thought.
I started by placing a piece of paper over the door and drawing a vague circle about the size I wanted Calvin to be. I sketched Calvin onto a piece of paper, using picture references. Once I felt he looked true to Bill Watterson’s style, I turned the paper over and covered the back with heavy angled-pencil shading. I held the paper up to the light to ensure that every part of Calvin had pencil on the back, so that when I traced it onto the door with heavy pressure, it left a light glimmering pencil sketch on the surface.
Once Calvin was on the door in light grey pencil, I felt encouraged! All I have to do at this point is fill in the color! Optimism surges through me: This is gonna look amazing! I start mixing acrylic paint, I start applying paint. It looks terribly thin and watery over the dark purple door. Shit. How will I get it off if I screw it up? I forgot to prepare the surface entirely. What a rookie mistake. Wonder if he has more purple paint? I shut out my insecure thoughts, get over myself and continue adding layers slowly. Soon enough it starts looking like Calvin! I used a black Sharpie to get clean lines for the finishing touch of black outlines.
I knew Hobbes would be harder, since he has more details than Calvin does. I was also more confident after a successful Calvin, and wanted to see it all done, so I got onto Hobbes the next night.
I learn something new with every single project. My lesson from this project is Sharpie will bleed horribly when sprayed with Shellac. Thought it was all done and perfect, sprayed it with Shellac and NOOOOO!!! Calvin’s hand had huge black drips. Boo. Fixed it up with some more layers of acrylic! Sweet relief!