Okay, I see you cringing! But they WILL get better! :)
Here I have drawn my design, transferred it onto the bead, and carved in the outlines of the design for both the birds and the flowers on the opposite. Then I take my artist CHALKS and using a tiny brush, I added the base colors from my chalk palette. Notice I am using CHALKS here...I also use chalk PASTELS in my work, only the pastels come out very light when placed dry on raw clay...so I use PASTELS to mix with the liquid clays later on, and in the beginning I used acid free artist chalks to lay down base color.
Now I could keep on going right here with the chalk and deepen this design by continuing to add more and more chalk colors, just as featured in my ebooklet Create Miniature Carved Paintings. Doing that would create a very cool, artistic "painting" type look. But in this necklace, I want MORE vibrancy - I want the colors to POP off the beads...I'm looking for a very BOLD, BRIGHT look. In order to accomplish that, I need to switch over and use liquid clay tinted with pastels for the rest of the design.
Notice the DARK black on the birds' eyes and beak, and around the edge of the Cockatoo. That dark black is tinted liquid clay. See the difference between that black and the other black surrounding the main art? The other black is softer, and would need several applications on raw clay to deepen it and get it dark enough.
As things stand now, I've handled these beads all I can at this point without getting chalk all over my fingers and risk smearing it onto the rest of the design (something I need to be more careful of with beads rather than flat pieces, where I don't have to handle the design in the raw form). So these beads have just gone into the oven for their first firing. This will harden the bead, as well as set the colors I've already applied.
These beads have to fire 30 minutes and then totally cool before I will take them out of the oven. After I get them out, I will proceed to color the rest of the design by adding the tinted liquid clay in layers, with multiple firings between layers.
If I were going to work in chalk only on these, I would apply all chalk while the bead was RAW and THEN fire, only at the end. But because I'm switching over to liquid clay now, I need to do multiple firings. The dry chalk will only stick to RAW clay - it will not stick after the clay is fired. So a basic rule of thumb is dry chalk goes on BEFORE firing, and liquid colored clay goes on AFTER firing.
I just thought you might be interested to see what these look like to start with - and every time I end this stage, *I* cringe, because I wonder how in the world I'm going to get the bead looking NORMAL. :) Now while these are firing, I think I'll go take my walk - it's a beautiful morning here in West TN and I need to get refreshed...after all, I'm tackling the LAST TWO BEADS in this design today...yep...normally I only work on ONE at a time - two is more challenging for me because I'm one of these people who finds it easier to only focus on one things at a time. :)
Thanks for stopping in!
P.S. I've already had two people write and ask me about the device holding the wire which has my beads on it. That is called a "Helping Hand" and it is available at CostumeJewelrySupplies.Com - third row down at that link, left image. I have the magnifying glass with mine as well, but I never use it as I wear magnifying glasses when I work.