When I was growing up, spies were everywhere. From the British James Bond and “The Avengers,” to the intellectual “Mission: Impossible,” to the silly “Get Smart,” it was clear that spies were the coolest thing around, and some of them were women!
|I wrote and drew with the crayon over the watercolor
paper, painted over it, let dry, then added wax marks
and more paint to create backgrounds.
My friends and I all played “secret agent,” and that meant we needed gadgets and other spy stuff. This being the ’60s, we had to make a lot of our tools ourselves. This is when I learned about secret message writing. (And here I have to credit my mom, who was very inventive and would have made an excellent Q.)
One of the many ways my friends and I sent secret messages to each other was with resist techniques. Usually, we’d use a white candle to write a word or two on a piece of paper. The paper would look blank. Ah, but when you lightly painted over the paper, the message would emerge as the wax resisted the paint.
I recalled this memory when I was watching Diana Trout demonstrate painting and other mixed-media art techniques in her video tutorial Playful Paper Backgrounds.
Diana reveals several resist methods, including a couple using wax. For this method, you can use a crayon with pigment, a white or clear crayon (I got mine from an Easter egg coloring kit), or a candle.
- Watercolor paper
- Watercolor paint
|Hash marks (top) and a word written in clear wax,
painted over in green watercolor, then the
word spritzed with alcohol ink.
1. Draw a design with crayon on watercolor paper.
2. Paint over the surface of the watercolor paper with a wash of paint to reveal the drawing.
In my examples, I first used a paintbrush and watercolors to reveal a word and hash marks I made with the crayon. Then I wrote another word and spritzed alcohol ink on it. Finally, I went back over the first word, whose wax was tinged slightly green from the paint, and spritzed it with ink. This gave a subtle, slightly two-tone effect.
Playful Paper Backgrounds, now available on Craft Daily, is full of easy techniques like this. Many of you probably learned some of these as a child but either forgot them or didn’t realize how sophisticated they could turn out in grown-up art. You just need to use the right materials and combinations of techniques.
I encourage you to reach back to your childhood for more art secrets to play with.
P.S. What’s your favorite childhood art technique? Leave your comment below.