When it comes to drawing I usually use a sketchbook or a good piece of art paper. After I’ve finished the drawing I may add color or I may leave it alone. I’ve never given much thought to the particular surface that I draw on.
This past week at a two-day class titled “ Exploring the Surface: Mixed Media Drawing on Paper”, I tried a whole new approach! The instructor was Catherine Nash, well-known papermaker and encaustic artist who has a personal passion for drawing.
Our first day began with handling an assortment of papers and making marks on them with a variety of tools to see how each paper responded. We treated some surfaces with sizing, wax-based resists such as crayon and then applied colored washes to create interesting backgrounds and drawing surfaces. We purposefully flooded ink and watercolor on to some areas of asian and hand-made papers so that the color would bleed through to the other side. After they dried we turned them over and worked on the back of the page, using the pattern that had bled through as inspiration for the drawing.
On “Day Two” we used a many kinds of drawing materials: pens, stick dipped in ink, crayons, chalk, pastels, oil pastel, graphite sticks and assorted brands of colored pencils to draw on the surfaces we had created the day before.
Our focus was on experimentation and discovery and layering media to develop richness in our drawings. The surfaces we worked on ranged from “Yupo”, a plastic sheet watercolor artists are working with to soft print-making surfaces and papers made from cotton, kozo and abaca fibers.
Here are some quick photos of things I played with.
These ink drawings were done as tests to see how papers responded to sumi ink and Noodles drawing ink in fountain pens. I collaged them together with a glue stick and some stitches.
This kozo paper with bark chips in it was further distressed with methyl cellulose painted on it in a few areas (hard to detect) and then watercolor pencil and light wash added in a few areas. Now it’s all ready for a drawing!
Yupo and watercolor and a few pen marks make for interesting effects. I think I need a whole class on working with Yupo and I seem to remember that someone at the Drawing Studio is teaching one this spring.
Walnut ink laid gently on to damp sized kozo created the perfect background for a quick sketch of a pistachio branch. I drew it on dried paper with a sick of charcoal and a gentle hand. Next I added the watercolor. After it had dried again, I rubbed off the charcoal and was left with this.
I drew this quickly with a graphite stick on paper that had been toned first with washes and then, when dried, rubbed with some soft pastel (yellow-orange).
Now, as you can probably guess, I’m having a lot of fun making a variety of backgrounds so that I’ll have some ready to draw on.