Experimenting With Gesso…

A few weeks back, I was watching an art video where they used Gesso on a coloring book page so that they could use watercolors to color the page.  I was intrigued, and was thinking about how tiles I do zentangle on and some of my journal pages don’t do well with water mediums.  So I decided to play and experiment…

Experiment One…

First I purchased a clear and a grey gesso… I applied the gesso first with a large brush.  Next, I drew in ink, and then used watercolor markers…

It worked really well, it took lots of water without damaging the paper.  But unfortunately, I felt that the texture was damaging my Sakura micron pen’s nib.

Experiment Two…

So I decided to draw on the paper first, then apply the gesso… unfortunately, the gesso smeared the ink…

After days of work, I was able to ‘fix’ the smears with some white watercolor paint — which incidentally looked cream on the white journal page, so I had to do the whole background not just touch-ups…

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Looking at where the smears happened, mostly at the dark tips of the petals, I thought that perhaps the ink wasn’t dry enough prior to applying the gesso.

Experiment Three…

So I thought I try another experiment.  I drew on a tile with the micron pen, then waited a day or two before applying the clear gesso — in addition I used an old credit card and a light hand to spread the gesso, rather than a big brush — Voilà! it didn’t smear! Woohoo!  So I added shading with a set of grey watercolor markers…

This is a second tile I drew and waited a few days to apply the clear gesso… it also didn’t smear using the light hand and an old credit card to spread gesso. I haven’t added the watercolor yet, but hope to be able to get to that today…

Conclusions…

Clearly waiting for the ink to have time to dry before adding the gesso is the way to go.

There is texture even using the credit card that could still destroy the pen’s nib, so I’d rather draw on the raw paper first.  That said, I’m not sure how I’m going to do the grey gesso after drawing, that’s something I will have to think about for awhile.

This was an interesting experiment… I seem to jump in with both feet, and unfortunately don’t really test out new stuff on samples, instead I ‘ruin’ drawings that I like… luckily I was able to save that petal drawing, but I really need to experiment on things I don’t care about, heh. It all worked out in the end, but it was definitely a learning experience!

Until next time…
~nic

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