3 things to know before painting your first mural

Hi, I'm Jenny Famularcano.

Thank you for being a part of my journey where I help creative professionals and graphic designers organize their ideas and projects. 
I'm going to be talking about the mural that I have painted right behind me, it's a new addition to my studio, and I'm very excited about it. 

We had just painted this mural this past Thanksgiving, it took approximately 124 days from the time we moved in to actually painting the mural. So it took us about two years, it took me only one day. So these are the things that I wish I knew before starting 

Just as a disclaimer, this post is intended for people who are looking to paint their own artwork in their own homes. This is not any sort of advice for anyone who is working as a professional muralist, there's a little bit more information that probably comes with that 

Your wall 

Most people think of a giant space for a mural and how big the wall is, you don't need to think about the ones that are definitely outdoors. But just having some sort of wall space and having an understanding of the dimensions that you are working with, can help you have a better understanding of your limitations with the amount of paint you need to purchase. I also would recommend taking note of the different objects that you have in your room: any furniture that's going to be a mainstay in that room, great to be mindful of any windows. In my studio, I actually had my mural kind of lead into the direction of the window and kind of acknowledge where the window is. So make sure to highlight one of the features in the room that you are painting. 

Another thing to be mindful of when looking for a wall to paint a mural is maybe you might want to take it with you, where a good option for you might be taking some wood and creating a canvas. Having a mural actually be able to travel with you is a great option. I remember my very first mural we had painted in our office space. And unfortunately, we had moved out. So now the mural is gone, or painted over. Actually,, I don't know what happened to it, we just weren't able to enjoy it anymore. That was a bummer. But there's always another mural to make :)


I would encourage you to invest in some nice house paint, the paint that we use in my very first mural was definitely cheaper because I thought, Hey, no big deal, we can just use this cheap ain't no big deal, right? It's cool. This was for a dark navy, that paint actually took three or four layers to be even solid on the wall, which is really disheartening, and it took so much longer. And that could have all been avoided, if we had used a better paint. 

If you're transitioning from working digitally to a mural, it's got to be like a good solid paint because you need to have those very crisp lines whenever you're painting on the wall.

And then just a quick thing, when you're painting in the room have a little cup on hand and like a little like a brush that I already had on hand. And that was able to fill in the details. So I didn't find too much complications with the type of paint brush I used.

Talent aka confidence level 

The reason why I say confidence level is because there is definitely a level of risk that comes from painting a mural, any project that has a level of risk makes it a little bit scarier to do or take under to do confidently, especially if it's going to be in your house, you're going to have to live with it on a regular basis and see it very frequently. There's a lot of pressure on making it a successful project that you can minimize the amount of risk normally tend to do this by experience.

I understand that most people probably don't have the amount of space to practice doing murals in their own home. Some other ways that I've learned for minimizing the amount of risk is like using the tools that we have on hand.

Whenever I do any of my murals, I use a projector that I borrowed from my sister that I have forgotten to return for the past five years. I connect the projector to my laptop and project directly onto the wall trace over that so that I have a pencil laid directly onto the wall I use to paint with the colors that I need. And this has been very effective because it's very scary to draw at a very large scale, maintain the same proportions and the same lines that you'd like to so this helps minimize any sort of risk or any sort of like mistakes that you might make because if your drawing is good, then the translation will be good.

Another way you can approach this is by using tools that could be a little bit more analog. My husband Lucas actually created a compass by attaching a string to a pencil and drawing a circle based off that pivot point. So that became a very perfect circle. He didn't need a projector for that. It was a very simple shape, it's very minimal and very clean. 

Another way that you can help minimize the risk when it comes to painting a mural is drawing a little small version of what you have. And what I like to do is take a picture of the space that I would be doing, and draw that directly in Photoshop or procreate or even print that out and draw directly on that. You can kind of have practice of what it's going to look like and have a better idea of the space and what it looks like with the furniture and the windows. 

One of our friends actually created a mural during the pandemic and it was really great to see her progress. Some of her advice when it comes to doing a mural for the very first time, is have fun experimenting with colors and palettes because you can always paint over it if you find a different combination that you like. And this is very important to know that if you're painting your own mural in your own home that you call the shots, there are no limitations, and you can totally be equipped for success. Let me know in the comments below how you're doing if you are ready to take that next step for your mural. I hope you are and I know you can do it.

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