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Traditional Media Tips and Tricks Thread

Jw

PINEAPPLE ACCOMPLISHED
Well, I thought this would be a good place to talk about some of the different "tricks of the trade" you picked up along the way while working with some traditional media. When I say traditional, it's basically anything that does not involve a computer in its creation, but rather tangible materials you paint, draw, sculpt, etc with your own hands or with tools.

To keep it easier to track, I think we should include a little description of the medium you are talking about right at the beginning so you don't have to sift through a wall of text for something you don't need after all. Links to tutorials and pictures are perfectly fine! they can be as short or long as you need, but keep in mind how other people will see what you say-- don't kill them with detail.

Here's some examples:

Hard pastels/ Charcoals:
I found that if you can't find some good, gray-field paper in your local art store, you can make do with some powdered pastels or charcoals. Use some of the little stubby bits you can't use much of anymore. Put it in a sandwich baggie and whack it a few times with something study (not enough to rip the bag), and then pour the residue in a seal-able container. I have an old baby-food jar I keep the dust in, just cause it's not huge. I can then take a piece of paper and get a DRY paintbrush and dip it in the dust. Then I just paint on the dust onto the paper, giving it a different look that allows for some interesting stuff when you lift out some highlights with an eraser. It leaves the tooth of the paper intact, so you don't end up with "ghost streaks" afterwards. Plus, it's a good way to use up the stuff you might waste otherwise. This only works with dry media, and make sure the lid is kept tight to keep moisture out (cause that can make the dust clump up, forcing you to re-powder it).

Pencils/ charcoals/ Graphite:
This is one of my favorite tricks to get a dark cloudy look on something without it destroying the tooth of the paper. Get a scrap of paper and "load" it up with a soft graphite of some sort. Then, you can take your favorite smudging tool (paper towel, cotton swab, your fingers) and smudge over the loaded scrap paper. Congratulations, you have a mess. Now, use your tool and smudge on the area you want the cloud, this will let the loaded smudge tool put some interesting patterns on the paper. repeat as desired for different shades and values.

You get the picture, now let's share!
 

Sigilgoat

Goat Supreme
I'll make a note about using your fingers: Hands have natural grease that can stain pages, so you gotta be careful if you're using fingers to smudge!
 

Jw

PINEAPPLE ACCOMPLISHED
I'll make a note about using your fingers: Hands have natural grease that can stain pages, so you gotta be careful if you're using fingers to smudge!

That's very true. If you aren't careful, it can wreck your papers. I usually wash my hands before drawing to cut back on the grease a bit. But, I guess it's really a bad habit to use them frequently.

Thanks to the oil, though, it also happens to help set the smudges to the paper more. Sucks if you try to erase or go on top of it, but otherwise can be useful in some ways. Also works well for oil pastels I've read, cause it helps loosen them up a bit if you attempt to blend with them. I have an issue with oil pastels, though, so I never personally tried it.
 

Zydala

Kisses for everyone!
Colored Pencils:

take a tea strainer (or any hand held mesh strainer) and a small cup. Take a colored pencil (or an art stick, which is what I usually like to use this for) and "grate" the end of it into the cup. You'll get a fun cup of colored dust! (careful, though, a little goes a long way). Take a cotton swab or cotton ball, dip it in the dust, and rub into the paper to get a neat foggy effect. You can use this as an underlayer of color, or for backgrounds and skies.
 

Anbessa

Member
I use what is marketed as a "skecth paper", with a smooth surface. a surface that needs some pressure to add deep colour pencil hues. now I found out that using copics for a ground the paper surface gains some bite, so say we, green eyes are made easier with a layer of light green copic, some structure from a coloured pencil, and a highlight added from white oil pastel. this also works well if you want to create a silk sheen.
 

lostfoxeh

No! I must Dance
When stretching watercolor paper use mashed rice for glue in place of staples or gum tape. Boil white rice (I use sushi rice) mash into a smooth past. Prepare watercolor paper for stretching. With a cheap trash brush or whatever you want spread the rice paste on the bottom side of the paper along the edge. I use one inch wide strips, but this will vary on the size and type of paper. Let dry with towel and books on the towel over night.

now paint edge to edge. For removal use a thin pallet knife or other thin metal spatula. The glue should pop off with out much effort. If it is damaging the paper it might be cause it is not dry all the way.
 

Kit H. Ruppell

Exterminieren! Exterminieren!
When using colored pencil, I add lighting effects by erasing a little bit of wax with an ordinary pencil eraser. I also use multiple layers of similar colors to cut down on the little white spots caused by the rough surface of the paper.
To make colors bolder and/or less likely to be ruined by a bad scanner, use a fluorescent version of that color as the bottom layer.
Using black colored pencil is good for defined shading, but be careful not to overuse it (only use it for the darkest parts).
Oh, and always color with the paper on the smoothest hard surface available!
 
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Iudicium_86

Just another artist
We traditional artists also keep forgetting to share another important factor. lighting. I like using the daylight spectrum bulbs to bring out the true colors I'm working with. May seem a bit more expensive but they are so worth it. Soon as I have the money for one though, I'm getting a more professional artist lamp
 

lostfoxeh

No! I must Dance
We traditional artists also keep forgetting to share another important factor. lighting. I like using the daylight spectrum bulbs to bring out the true colors I'm working with. May seem a bit more expensive but they are so worth it. Soon as I have the money for one though, I'm getting a more professional artist lamp

yeah I got one of those Ottlites. I don't know what I think about it for scans as I have been working in graphite only, but I have a feeling it will help with colors looking too warm thus off in a scan.

My theory is to make the art in the light it will be displayed in.
 
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