During our friendly art class/workshop a few weeks ago, a decorative artist brought in a black canvas tote bag on which she had painted a patriotic picture. She used regular acrylic paints (the ones you find in craft stores in a plethora of colors, each costing from $.69 to a bit over a dollar). Since I had never used my acrylics for anything other than stenciling, I thought I would give it a shot.
I used a Mary Englebreit picture from a purchased note card, and a Maxine cartoon found on the internet. Both images are fun and indicative of my taste in whimsy, so I decided to paint replicas of these images on an old cream colored tote bag. That tote bag was purchased for a previous project that I never got around to completing, so it offered the perfect surface for painting with those little bottles of acrylics.
The surface of the canvas was fortified by attaching it to a clip board. That way, it was easy to put the secured tote in my lap and paint while I watched television with my husband. After a weekend, I came up with this bag painted on each side. It was fun to do, and shading with the fast drying acrylics was not nearly as difficult as I had imagined. Give it a try with you favorite picture, or be even more original and let your creativity take you to a place you would like to be.