Tea Bag Ladies by Irene Rafael

Inspired by her Japanese heritage and the idea of creating on an everyday object, Irene Rafael chose a unique substrate for her art making: tea bags. Paints, colored pencils, charcoal, pens, markers, and more, bring faces to life in her miniature mixed-media portraits. Below is another mini-portrait technique from Irene.

Tea bag art | Irene Rafael, ClothPaperScissors.com

Tea Bag Art | An Online Extra from Cloth Paper Scissors

1. Paint the entire teabag with acrylic paint. I used Avocado. Let dry.

Tea bag art | Irene Rafael, ClothPaperScissors.com

2. Draw the outline of the torso and facial features with a white charcoal pencil. (Figure 1) This initial drawing can be sketchy; the details are added as layers of paint are added.

3. Paint the face, neck, and hands with diluted white paint. Let dry. Add more paint layers until the desired color is established.

4. Paint the clothing as desired. I used Neon-Cobalt. When dry, add another shade for accents. I added Cerulean Blue in various areas.

5. Draw the eyes, eyebrows, and nose with pencil. I like to use a mechanical pencil for this. Fill in the mouth with a colored pencil. I used Sanguine.

6. Draw the hair with the Pigma Micron 02 pen, and add dotted detailing. I used a white gel pen for the details, and added a highlight in each eye.

7. Using a dry brush and acrylic paint, add more color to brighten the background. I like to use a color that coordinates with the color of the figure. I chose Goldenrod.

Tea bag art | Irene Rafael, ClothPaperScissors.com

8. Add details to finish the portrait. I painted feathers in her hair and flowers on the side.

Frame the portraits individually or in groups under glass to protect them from the elements. I do not add a topcoat or varnish to the finished teabag.

Additional Tea Bag Art

Tea bag art | Irene Rafael, ClothPaperScissors.com

Tea bag art | Irene Rafael, ClothPaperScissors.com

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