The process isn't difficult or very time consuming. Deciding on paint colors is what takes the most time for me.
As you can see, I make black and white copies on the computer and cut them to fit onto the canvases. I don't worry about precise cutting. I use Gel Medium and a paintbrush to adhere it.
To give the finished pieces "depth", I start by painting around the images in charcoal grey liquid acrylic paint.
The paint dries quickly, but even more quickly with a blow drier. Takes about a minute.
The only one of these I've somewhat finished, is the one of Rob's mom. I still plan to add a little detail to the one of her on the edges.
The second coat of paint after the grey, I add by thinning with water, sometimes. It's obviously more translucent with the water.
I paint over the grey in sections and then smear the paint around with my finger to let some of the grey show through in places.
I paint on the clothes, and I use cotton swabs to add color to the face and hair with artist's chalks. I use a charcoal pencil to outline or add details and then smudge it with a dry or slightly dampened finger. It's a fun, messy process but I keep a rag nearby to keep the mess on my hands a little controlled without running to wash up all the time.
You can also use the colored chalks to add more dimension to the background at the end, or to tone down or adjust colors if you don't like the shade the paint dried. Then it's fun to add details around the edge of the canvases. Or you can glue on other dimensional details like paper, fabric or whatnots.
The canvases can sit on a flat surface to display, or you can hang them without any need for adding anything to the backs.
Today, I picked up a couple of 5-inch square, and a couple 5 x 7-inch canvases, but I also have plenty of the 4-inchers we could use.
You can see on this one of Zacky, especially (he's a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman, we decided), you can see the outline of where I cut the paper. I don't think of that as a flaw, but more the beauty of the handmade imperfect look. You can lessen it if you cut the paper more the size of the canvas. You can also see that there's a darker color showing through the top layer of paint. I actually have 3 layers going on with this one. After the grey, I painted a color of orange that dried unattractively. So I added one more color. But it gives you an idea of the different look of using other colors as a base.
I paint the bottom side to extend the photo, freehand. So simple.