Module 2, Chapter 1, Samples

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Tracing Paper Samples

I drew myself up an Action Plan, and tried to be a bit organised with some experimentation, because I didn’t want to launch into things in my usual scattergun fashion. I really wanted to use some thick tracing paper for printing on – when my daughters were small I printed off outline pictures on tracing paper, so they could make ‘stained glass’, and  wanted to take this a stage further. But I didn’t know how it would react to paint and glue, so I did a sample page:
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And I enjoyed myself so much, I did another !  The front and back of this one was quite badly buckled in the top right hand corner, from the glitter glue, which is a shame, because I liked the sparkly effect on the transparent tracing paper – ordinary glitter sprinkled on top of UHU might work better.
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I experimented a bit more, on a separate sheet, then made a twisted cord from red and yellow wool, punched two holes in this and the first sheet, and threaded it through, so it lifts up to show the first page:

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I recorded my findings on the other side:
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 Paint and Paper Samples

I was curious to see how printed text was affected by different types of paper and paint. So I used pages from sketch book and glossy photographic paper, and divided each page into four using masking tape (which, sadly, removed some of the paper and painted surface when I peeled it off). My aim was to try printing beneath and on top of different paints, to see what would happen. I also did samples of one thick paint (emulsion) and one thin (silk paint) on a sheet of blotting paper, but I didn’t do more, because it soaked up the paint in the most alarming fashion, and took hours and hours and hours to dry…

The end results could be a little neater  – the printer is playing up, which didn’t help, and I got a bit confused with my printed ‘labels’ on occasions, which didn’t help either, but you get the general idea.

Some of the results weren’t quite what I anticipated. For some reason I thought printed text from an inkjet printer would sit on top of the paper, rather than soaking in, and I expected overpainting to produce a lot more blurring, especially with thinner, watery paints. But it stood up to paints and inks much more than I would have predicted – perhaps I should have tried watering the paint and ink down more than I did.

Obviously, text is easier to read if it’s printed on a page which has been painted and allowed to dry (as long as the age isn’t too dark or very highly patterned). But if you’re not interested in clarity, overpainting can produce some interesting results, though mine all looked a bit grey, which is the result of black ink running and blurring – I can’t think why I didn’t experiment with coloured inks, which would have looked much nicer!

On the whole the text on the pages I cut out of my sketchbook didn’t blur all that much – I assume that the paper is more porous, and it’s not completely smooth – does that provide some sort of ‘key’ that helps the ink adhere or soak in? And you can get better paint cover on the sketchbook paper.

However, overpainting on smooth glossy photographic paper can distort lettering quite nicely – if you work really quickly when you pull paper out of the printer you can get interesting effects with a paint brush dipped in water, especially if you use a thick, bold print. It’s tricky to get a really smooth painted or inked surface, because the liquids tend to pool and streak on the top of the paper, but you can use this to your advantage and create patterns and textures.

I remember being really enthusiastic about this type of paper when I was making decorated papers in Module 1. Then, I tried distorting the surface with sandpaper before I painted it; now I’m wondering if I could distort it with a heat gun or soldering iron – has anyone ever tried it?

I’d expected all the thinner paints, including water colours, and Brusho ink to make the print blur much more than it did – after all, they are both mixed with water. However, they didn’t really affect the text printed on sketchbook paper, although had some affect on the glossy paper. But I love, love, love, the effects produced by using silk paint, especially on glossy photographic paper.

To be honest there’s not always that much difference between overpainting and underpainting, and scanning the pages doesn’t really do them justice, but it’s given me some idea of how printed text can be used.

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