I’d love to claim this as a drawing of my own, but it’s actually from a book – one of the Zenspirations series by Joanne Fink called Inspirations, Designs to Feed Your Spirit. Each page is printed on one side only and perforated so you can remove them from the book and use them to make your own wall art or put them in your journal. They also make a brilliant starting points for Zentangling – just think of all the patterns you could tangle in those trees!
I mentioned in the Chocolate Baroque weekly newsletter a couple of weeks ago that I would show you what I’d been doing with the Faber Castell Papercrafter Crayons and the picture above shows how I have used them to create texture over the trees.
These are wax crayons that come in a plastic tube with a screw up mechanism, so you can choose how much of the crayon you want protruding as you work. You can cover large areas quickly by exposing a longer section and colouring at an angle or you can just work with a small tip. They are hard enough to sharpen to a fine point, so you can use them for detail work. (Note, I tested in winter – they may be too soft to sharpen in very hot weather!)
I mixed up the colours a bit, then once I’d finished with the stencils, I went over the top with Distress Stains and of course they just run off the wax and stain the paper.
I tried rubbing over a rubber stamp too – this is Dotty Snowflake, one of our Big Bold Background stamps.
The rubbing is a lot softer than the stencil, but this is a stamp with a lot of background detail so a crisper image would give a different look again.
I was using standard copy paper for my experiments because it is nice and thin, but if you flood it with wet colour like Distress Stains, it does buckle and need flattened. I ruined one when I tried to iron it while it was still a bit damp. (Because you’re dealing with wax, if you do want to iron, make sure you put some clean copy paper over the wax and lift it off straight away to stop it sticking).
Here’s a couple more experiments, the first two are with the Squiggles stencil using thin card (160gsm) which didn’t buckle much at all. I used Black Soot Distress Stain over various coloured crayons.
This one is the Swirly Garden stencil
And the Peacock Doily stencil.
Then I tried a much thicker card with a bolder stencil (Blazonry) and it required a little more pressure to get the stencil image to show up. I suspect fine detail would be lost on a thicker card, but a bold stencil like this one works fine. The crayons are hard enough to do the job – anything softer wouldn’t pick up the edges of the stencil as clearly.
I painted over this with Golden Fluid Acrylics and these will cover up the wax so I rubbed or scraped it with my flat Wedge Tool to make sure the rubbing showed through. I added some stamped script with Archival ink.
But my favourite has to be tissue paper – it takes rubbings beautifully and shows up all the detail.
Here I’ve used stamps from Gothic Angels and Distress Inks and rubbed over it afterwards with a purple crayon and the Church Windows stencil.
So back to my picture – I coloured the whole thing with Derwent Coloursoft Pencils, then I placed the Cut Circles stencil under the trees and rubbed with ochre at the top and two shades of green, darkest at the bottom. I dabbed some Fired Brick Distress Stain onto my craft mat and used a waterbrush to pick it up and blend it over the trees.
Red is the opposite of green on the colour wheel so I knew that the contrast would make the rubbing show up. I had already coloured the trees with a layer of green pencil, so the red over the top has a more brown tone as red and green make brown when mixed.
Of course there’s lots more you can do with these crayons than rubbings. They can be used in all sorts of mixed media work and they will create a beautiful coloured resist to any water based medium, though thick acrylics, gesso, gel, etc will cover them to a certain extent, but you can rub or scrape over the paint to reveal the crayons. You can even let it dry and scratch back into the paint to reveal the wax layer beneath.
I’ve determined that as long as they are not too thick, you can stamp over them – Archival ink worked very well for me.
You can also get creative with heat and melt them on an encaustic iron or with a heat gun. They are full of pigment, so melted, they retain all their colour and don’t separate like cheap wax crayons can.
I’ve deliberately made the photo of this tag large, so if you click onto it you can see the detail. I pushed up about an inch or two of crayon and used my heat gun to melt it onto the tag. I used a couple of shades of blue and purple and while the wax was molten, I used the crayon to scribble into it. The finish is smooth and polished - very tactile and not the least bit sticky like beeswax can sometimes be.
I try to buy products for Chocolate Baroque that I like and would use myself. Despite what people think, I don’t have one of everything we sell in my own personal stash (I wish!), but from time to time there are products that I get in that I really want to try out myself and these and the Gelatos from Faber Castell really called to me. The Gelatos are a soft, squidgy, smudgeable, water soluble crayon and the Papercrafter Crayons are a hard, waxy, water resistant crayon. Both have their role in mixed media and both have earned a permanent place in my craft room. For a start, these crayons have just given my box of stencils a whole new lease of life as rubbing plates ….