Thursday, July 2, 2015

Encaustic Painting Process, Draw-Through Printing and Tissue Paper

Kiss (detail)
encaustic, paper and ink on birch
Trying old techniques in a new way again - this time a printing technique called draw-through printing.  Keeping things fresh and loose in art can sometimes be a challenge for me.  This little chickadee is a detail from a larger modular painting.  I've been revisiting some techniques I learned a while back and finding it really fun.  Thanks to the wonderful Stephanie Hargrave for being the inspiration. 

The drawings are done on tissue paper and then put into the encaustic painting.  Its a fun process and because of its nature, it keeps the drawings loose and fresh.  The first step is to get together all the things needed
  1. printing ink - I used Akua, but there are other printing inks that work great like Daniel Smith printing inks. 
  2. Glass palette
  3. brayer
  4. bamboo skewer
  5. tissue paper

Step One - roll out the ink with the brayer - can't stress enough that it needs to be a thin layer. Think thin to win!
Step Two - gently place the tissue paper on top of the rolled out ink and weight the edges so it will not move when you do your drawings.
Step Three - Use the bamboo skewer, or end of a paint brush handle or even your finger nail - and draw.  Being careful not to touch the paper to hold it otherwise you will have finger prints which is ok, but just be mindful where they are.  You will see your line showing through the tissue as you draw your shapes. 
Step Four - carefully peel up the tissue from the printing plate and turn it over.  You will see your designs printed on the tissue. 

You can see in this photo the "noise" created in the print where the tissue stuck to the ink other than where the lines were drawn.  I don't mind a little bit of noise in the print.  A lot of noise creates a whole another look to the print.

Step Five - once the prints are dry - burnish the tissue into an encaustic painting and gently heat.  The white tissue will magically disappear into the wax and will leave only the printed lines showing.  Cover with a protective layer of wax and the tissue will totally blend into the artwork
 Noisy print on the left and only just a little noise on the right
As a side note, I did find that the tissue I was using had a shiny or hard side and a matte or soft side.  I found the hard side would stick to the ink in places that I really didn't want it to, thus, creating "noise" in the print like on the left above.  The soft side of the tissue would allow for the fine lines to show through without too much stickage (noise). I would re-brayer the inked area after every print, not necessarily adding more ink until I really needed it.  Its fun to do several when you have everything out - lots of different shapes and designs.  That way when you are ready to put the drawings into your artwork, there are lots of choices to layer and have fun with.  I'm also assuming it would work with a gel medium on an art journal page or other artwork than encaustic. 
Good luck and have fun.  Happy Friday everyone!


  1. Oh what a fun process! Great idea, love it and thanks for sharing,

    Hugs Giggles

  2. Love!!!! I did a little bit of encaustic when it was still cool and I loved it... thanks for this idea too ♥

  3. Wonderful artwork and thank you for sharing your process.I really want to try atleast the basic encaustic and this was super helpful.Happy PPF.

  4. I have not tried encaustic work it is on my list of things that I have to have a go at.. Your bird looks fabulous.
    Happy PPF
    Sandy :)

  5. I love al these techniques you tell us about that I'd never otherwise know - this seems quite complex but you make it seem so easy!

  6. I've never tried this, but it sounds fun in your writing. Absolutely love your outcome of it all.

  7. Thanks for sharing this technique, Marji. It is a totally new concept to me. I love how your bird turned out.

  8. I agree with Faye, it was nice of you to share the technique and explain the process with each photo. Nice work!

  9. Fabulous! Learned so much about how to do this technique. The bird looks wonderful. Happy PPF

  10. nice of you to share the process; happy PPF

    much love...

  11. thank you for sharing-this looks like fun!

  12. Oh how fun! Thanks for sharing this process - it gives me a look into a whole different aspect of art. I often wonder what your studio and work space look like... you have the coolest and most unique "tools" and mediums! Very inspiring...

  13. this is very cool and interesting... I find it fascinating and kind of wish you would do a class so I could learn the basics and play along with you... xx


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