Indoor murals are common sights in businesses, hotels, restaurants, libraries, and even churches. To everyday folk, it's just a painted wall while those with a bit more appreciation for art often look for the deeper meaning. Both see the mural as it is – a finished piece.
To the seasoned muralist though, every mural hides the story of how it came to be, from conception to manifestation.
Create Wonderful Indoor Murals Today
If you're looking to paint indoor murals as a career, then this article is for you. Below you'll find helpful advice we gathered from professional muralists. We hope that the information below comes in handy during every step of the mural painting process.
1. Plan Everything
Taking time to form a solid plan makes the whole painting process more efficient. Planning lets you start each phase smoothly, helps you work faster, and lets you avoid costly mistakes along the way.
A solid plan requires information, so gather as much information as you can. Visiting the location can give you an initial idea of how a viewer will see your finished mural. This also lets you know where you can drop your supplies off, how you can load them in or out, what parts of the wall you'll need to mask off, who you'll need to contact to get access to the location, and a lot more.
Of course, you'll want to ask the client what they want the final piece to look like. Make sure to also ask them about particular details they want to be included in the piece.
Drying time should also be taken into account as it directly affects how fast you can add successive layers. If you're working in a colder area, you may need to check the weather or even bring special equipment to make sure the wall is warm enough for the paint to stick and dry.
2. Take Your Measurements
Aside from the information you've gathered for your initial plan, it's also crucial to measure the wall you'll be painting.
Knowing the size of the area you're working with helps you determine how much paint you'll need, what tools to bring, how high a ladder you'll need, etc.
Having accurate measurements also helps you determine scale and lets you plan out each phase of your painting process.
3. Create a Mockup
A great thing to do before moving on is to create a mockup.
The mockup stage helps you visualize which parts to do first. Combine your mockup with the measurements you just took to have a better sense of scale.
A mockup helps you collaborate with your client better, giving both of you an idea of how the finished piece will look like. Make as many changes – major or minor – as you'd like without needing to undergo trial and error. This takes away the guesswork which speeds up the whole process.
4. Choose the Right Materials and Tools
Once you've established what the finished mural will look like on the wall, precisely determining how many materials and what tools you'll need to bring is going to be easier.
One useful tip about paint brushes:
You may want to bring duplicates of brushes you commonly use. That way, you don't have to clean them off every time you need to paint in a different color. Just use one brush for one color.
On a different note:
When mixing paint to achieve the exact shade you want, you may want to keep a note of the proportions you used to achieve that shade. This helps you keep the color consistent in case you need to mix up another batch.
5. Set Up Your Work Space
Whether you're painting in a crowded fully furnished room or an empty unfurnished one, it's always important to keep the area as clean as possible. Always mask off any surface that you don't want to get paint on. This doesn't only make things easier to take down and pack up once you're done, but it also makes you seem more professional overall.
Next is to clean your wall before painting. It's a basic caveat but one that bears enough weight to warrant repeating. A wall that's free from dust, loose particles, oils, or lubricants ensures your paint is going to adhere well and leave a smooth finish.
Not all walls require primer for the paint to stick. Concrete interior walls should be porous enough to not need primer, thereby saving you time and money. That said, if you're painting a mural on a wooden wall, you definitely will need a layer of primer before your base coat.
6. Check for Scale
One thing every muralist has to keep in mind is the scale of their piece. If you're painting an abstract mural, the scale shouldn't be too much of an issue.
However, for murals depicting realistic images, you'll need to watch your scale keenly. Whether you decide to grid it out, or use a projector is up to you.
7. Don't Be Afraid to Improvise
Remember what we said earlier about having a mockup of the final result?
While it serves as a guide to help you keep to scale and to remind you of details you need to include, sometimes inspiration hits like a lightning bolt and you just feel like you just have to deviate from the initial plan. Other times, you just find too much empty space that needs filling in (especially true when free-handing).
At times like these, it's perfectly fine to improvise. After all, your mockup is only there to show you what's possible, not what's strictly supposed to be. Just be sure to let your client know of your decision so they're aware of your changes.
8. Take a Step Back
Any activity that requires the use of skill combined with utmost concentration tends to let us "into the zone". In this state, time seems to flow slowly as we focus every fiber of our being into every stroke of our brush.
While it's in this state of mind that we often produce our best work, it's always a good idea to take a step back every once in a while to see our progress. Apart from giving us the satisfaction of seeing our good job done in record time, taking a step back also lets us evaluate our work and correct any mistakes in scale, missing details, or any other error.
Painting indoor murals require much planning and preparation. Gleen as much information as you can and take accurate measurements.
A mockup will be quite useful for you and your client. It lets them see how the finished piece could look and it serves as your guide to scale and logistics.
Prepare your workspace and keep everything as clean as possible. If you need to, check for scale.
Don't be afraid to improvise and sometimes take a step back to ensure everything is up to par.