Friday, January 14, 2011

Experiment with Clayboard

Experiment on Clayboard

I recently decided to try a new support for my work. These sorts of things are very personal - just google "clayboard colored pencil" and you can get several conflicting impressions. So, I'll tell you what I learned yesterday afternoon, but you must understand these are just my impressions.

So you know where I'm coming from, here are my experiences with other supports:
  • Pastelbord - very labor intensive to get good coverage, so it seems to work well for those who thrive on many layers. (I don't)
  • drafting film - great for erasing (and for erasing to be part of the work), easy to get good coverage, you can do work on the back too. My only issues were that I wanted to try a colored support and I wanted to try have some texture on the support.
  • Papers - not so great with erasers, but certainly doable.
Clayboard pros:
  • Working on a board feels "neat", promises of framing without glass - although reviews of that are mixed.
  • You can color it by painting it first. You can also add a pastel ground and add paint to the ground to color it. (I haven't done either, but I have it on good authority that it works. Thanks Jan!) The pastel ground would give you some texture - but presumably less than pastelboard.
  • It's a slick surface, so it's easier to hatch, it doesn't require the little circles technique.
  • You don't need many layers.
  • I was able to go back in and add highlights by going over where I wanted the highlight with a white pencil, eventually the earlier layers just sort of came off - or moved over.
Clayboard cons:
  • It's a slick surface, so you run out of layers quickly and adding more just lifts off what you already have.
  • Erasing didn't work for me, but others say it does. Scratch erasing works, but that wasn't what I wanted.
  • You scratch it when you draw on it. You can unintentionally scratch fairly easily. As the blow up below shows, you can see the circular technique I used on most of the berries and the marks it left on the surface. You can also see just faintly where the mauve pencil had a hard speck in it and "gouged" the surface. It is much more obvious in person.
  • Unevenness - Why is one of those berries much brighter and in the others the pigment has sunk it?I'm not really sure, that has gotten more pronounced over time. I believe the bright one was done with hatching and the others not so much. Pressing hard seemed to give stronger color, but that's when the gouging happened. I did the blue sections with hatching, but that seems to have sunk in from yesterday.

I am still tempted to try some more experiments with Clayboard - specifically applying a colored ground first. I need to order some supplies for that, so it might be a while before I do, but I'll let you know. As well, it almost seems like I could just use aquabord and paint it first (the aquabord is textured). There was an article on using aquabord in the CPSA magazine recently - and most online suppliers seem to be out of stock! So, that too must wait.

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