Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Try It Out Tuesday : Painted Book Cover (Background)

I thought that, this time, I would change the type of book I am covering.  This is a soft backed sketchbook, so I thought that this time, I would use Lutradur XL as the base for the cover.  It looks a bit like Pelmet Vilene, but is made in a different way, with no chemicals, and it doesn't give off dust when it is cut or worked with, which is basically why I prefer it.  Astonishingly, it is still semi transparent, despite its weight, though you really do need something very strong below it for it to be visible.  Since this is a book cover, however, I thought I would use paints on the cloth, something I rarely do with Lutradur, a change from the thinking last week.

I started out by cutting the XL to size.  I was working in the shed, and forgot to take a soft tape measure with me, so instead used a piece of scrap fabric to work out the size the cover needed to be, cutting it to size in each direction, and then laying the pieces onto the XL to show me where to cut.  It worked very nicely, and I got four covers from a metre wide strip of XL.  Before I started painting the XL, I folded it in half , and then wrapped it round the book, as I did before, so that I had a clear indication of which parts of the cover would be visible when it was closed.  This is really important if you're planning to print something onto the book cover; there's nothing more frustrating than finding that you have printed squint, or printed to one side, so that some of the printing is lost. As you can see from the image below, it does cause a bit of creasing on the XL itself, but that is neither here nor there once the paint is added.

As I said in the last post, I wanted to use the same technique as I have done in the past to suggest a garden; random colour.  My reason for doing this is fairly simple.  Making samples of things can result in you having lots of bits and pieces of work that don't fit in with anything else.  They are exactly that; samples.  Working within an existing body of work or theme can unite those different things together, so that you feel as if you really are achieving something.  It can also give you more ideas for working within your existing theme.

 XL has two distinct surfaces; I painted onto the shiner of the two. I added all the colours with the same brush, a stencil brush, trying to vary the marks I was making and the depth of the paint.  For reasons I will share later in the post, I needed all the paint to be wet at once, so I worked very quickly.

When the piece was complete, I then took a second piece of XL, and put it face down on the wet paint.  I stroked it gently, and found it moved slightly under my hands (this doesn't usually happen when you do this, particularly when working with paper).  I decided to encourage this movement, and ended up with lovely blurred colour on the main piece, and some interesting colour marks on the second.  If I had wanted more paint transferred from one piece to the other, I would have used a brayer (roller). 

I set the first piece aside to dry, and took the second piece.  I wanted to add some background colour to it, as there was just a bit more white than I like in the background.  So, I took a paintbrush that I had been using for something earlier in the day.  It had quite a lot of paint left on it, and I began to work it into the XL.  This technique is called dry brushing, and is a bit like adding a watercolour wash; as there is not all that much paint on the brush, it does alter the existing colours a little, but is most prominent on the white. If you have to put more paint onto your brush, as I did, add only a little, and try to rub the majority of it off onto greaseproof paper, as if you were stencilling; that way, you can use all the paint, but without having areas that are distinctly darker than others on the finished cloth.

The final result is shown below.  Now to think about embellishments for both of these pieces... but that is for Thursday's blog!  Which one do you prefer?


Gill said...

A great article! I'd like to try this - where's the best place to get Lutradur XL??

marion barnett said...

Sorry, Gill, I missed this. I get my XL from http://www.spunart.co.uk, hope that helps.

evolon fiber art said...

Absolutely gorgeous. Love everything about it.

evolon fiber art