Self Portrait in coloured pencil

Friday, 2 March 2018

Lynx Kitten

Lynx Kitten

It is three years since I drew the lynx kitten, but I am entering it in an exhibition at the Gallery of the Eden Valley Artistic Network

It is a 4 x 6 inch pen and ink drawing on graphic film, coloured on the reverse with coloured pencils.

I always used to work on paper, until I started to work in acrylics and gouache. I struggled with the problem of the paper buckling. Paper can even buckle using a dry medium like pastel, especially in damp weather, and now I was living in the Eden Valley. I have known it to rain here when the sky was blue and there was no cloud to be seen.
I had to make a change, and I discovered that graphic film is "dimensionally stable". I understand this to mean it stays flat no matter how damp it gets. So I started painting in gouache on graphic film and I had no more problems.
Graphic film is translucent, so I got an idea. I drew on the first side of double-sided graphic film with pen and ink, then I coloured the reverse side with coloured pencils and the colour showed through beautifully though it was muted.
It is an interesting challenge to paint the reverse side. I imagine that it must be like glass painting. When painting on paper you paint the most important details on top of the underpainting. If you do that on the reverse of graphic film you would never see them. So first you paint the important details, then the underpainting on top of that.
You have to keep looking at the right side to see what the finished drawing will look like.
One important thing to know about graphic film is that the pen, pencil or paint sticks to a special film coating on the outside. If you make an error, never scratch it off. That takes off the coating and leaves a shiny surface that nothing will stick to. You can use water to remove mistakes but that will leave white water spots. I haven’t found anything that will clean off the spots.
I can’t think of anything else to help anyone who wants to try this technique but I am happy to answer any questions - if I know the answer!

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