I decided to try an experiment this week, and while I don’t love the way it turned out, it’s okay, and has given me some ideas for other projects.
I had a page with splashes of paint from another project, so I used a Montana Marker with Shock Dark Blue paint to cover it up. Then I used Derwent Metallic Water-soluble colored pencils to draw my cards.
Colored pencil can be a good choice to color on a dark background. Not all of them are equal in this respect. Some brands are better than others, and some colors are better. Lighter colors such as white, yellow, pink, light blue, etc. are the best choice. I knew from experience that these metallic pencils did a decent job if I didn’t use water on them.
Metallic colors tend to appear differently according to the light, and I found that overall, the drawing was too dark. I wasn’t quite happy with this, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.
Water-soluble means that pigment–in this case the color left on the page from the pencil lead–will soften and spread, usually changing color somewhat and reflecting the light differently. I knew that the colors would become too dark for the background if I used water, but ‘water-soluble’ pigments will change with almost any liquid, not just water.
I wondered what would happen if I used white acrylic paint to blend the colors. I knew that it would lighten the colors, and I suspected it would create some texture, because the color wouldn’t blend as smoothly with the more tacky acrylic paint.
In the interests of scientific and artistic experimentation, I decided to try it. I chose Zinc White rather than Titanium White, because Zinc is more transparent and I felt it would tint rather than just cover over the colors. I used Golden’s Fluid acrylic because it’s easier to control how thick the application is, and I wanted it to be very thin.
As I suspected, rather than getting a layer of white, I got layers of lighter tints–pink, light teal, etc. Because the paint was applied so thinly, it dried almost immediately. I could have laid down a smoother layer, but deliberately brushed the paint while it was tacky. This added to the texture, leaving streaks so that I got sort of a painted wood effect.
I used my J. Herbin brush tip Creapen to add the linework patterns in the background.