There are times when you will want a strong background color but a lot of surface detail and highlighting at the same time. At these times, a background of marker with surface layers of colored pencil, chalk, or oil pastel for the highlights and surface detail can work quite well.
This portrait of a Blue Heeler pup was done with two main background colors – black and blue. Everything was built up on top of that. I made a mistake here which can be learned from, however. If at all possible, make your background marker color as smooth and even as you can. Fresh markers are important for this. I used Conte and normal chalk pencil for most of the detail here.
This mixed media technique also work with acrylic as a backdrop and chalks or pastels for the detail. If you do this, however, spray it gently with fixative when you are done.
This cover painting made heavy use of chalks in the wood grain and in the surface details and highlights of the piece. With the wood grain, I used the ridginess of the brush strokes to help form it.