Art: How do you make YOUR highlights?

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  1. #1
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    Talking How do you make YOUR highlights?

    I've started dabbling a little more seriously in natural media works again after a sustained run in digital. Materials in question for me are mainly pastel, watercolor, and pencil. However, I'm curious, what methods and mediums do you use to create your blinding or "pure" stark white (and not so white) highlights?

    I've mostly used white India ink with a dip pen - but I've noticed how they tend to occasionally scratch the surface (sometimes good for texture... sometimes just leading to an unattractive blop of ink that needs to be blotted up)...

    How are acrylic inks?
    Opaque white and gouche?
    Carefully applied bleach?

    I'm getting it together... I'm trying... and someday I will...

    product of my own split personality... Mold and Meat Studios - comming soon
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  3. #2
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    Most common way is to have a toned background by spreading charcoal all over your paper then erasing portions of it by using a kneaded eraser. Or You could just buy toned paper which comes in different colors(most use the greyish tones) and use white charcoal pencil for the highlights.

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    That's all so delightfully messy though . I've used that before for backgrounds (the charcoal and putty eraser) Usually the eraser is a gradiation tool when I'm using pure charcoal and graphite shades.

    You can't exactly lift dried paint to highlight it. XD

    Thanks for the refresher tip.

    I'm getting it together... I'm trying... and someday I will...

    product of my own split personality... Mold and Meat Studios - comming soon
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    Rather than white ink, which often remains water soluble when dry, you might try opaque white airbrush acrylics. They have a consistency that is thin enough to use with dip pens or small brushes and you can trail out a long line with them without gumming up. They will also mix well with inks or whatever to make off-white tones if desired.

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    buy smooth or plate finish paper and your pen nibs won't scratch the surface as much. the reason why it blops the ink is because as you scratch the paper your pen nib drags some fibers with it.

    i've had many potentially good inkings get ruined because in my haste, i ended up swishing water on the nib every 2-3 dips, and it keeps picking up more and more fibers, so the lines came out horrid.

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    Gilead , Now THAT is something I didn't know. I've never worked with acrylics (or airbrushable fluids) before... and since I'm leaning more towards sticking with brushes instead of dip pens (I my script liner XD), it's an encouraging tip.

    onefutui2e, I always thought it might have just been that I've been too rough with my pens (works with a heavy hand) but that's certainly a different light on it. My papers aren't really high rag content or very rough when I'm using the pens... then again >.> I really know where you're comming from when you speak of images being ruined by haste.

    Gratci!

    I'm getting it together... I'm trying... and someday I will...

    product of my own split personality... Mold and Meat Studios - comming soon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mold-n-Meat
    That's all so delightfully messy though . I've used that before for backgrounds (the charcoal and putty eraser) Usually the eraser is a gradiation tool when I'm using pure charcoal and graphite shades.

    You can't exactly lift dried paint to highlight it. XD

    Thanks for the refresher tip.
    we all get messy anyway.

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    on water color, after you do your light pencil sketch, figure out where your highlights will be, your light lights, take a oil pastel, and lay it down, that spot will stay white as you paint your painting.
    SARGENT bitches!

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    You can also use wax crayons to resist watercolors. Applying it over the white paper will protect that area. I'd prefer gouache or casein to acrylics since I think they hold a fine brush line best. Acrylics would resist water better though, as Gilead says, if that's a concern.

    For pastels, it's more of a challenge. My approach would be to keep that spot clean until I'm ready for highlighting, then either just let the paper be the highlight or lay in a lighter shade with chalk.

    One tip I picked up a while back with pastels was after gently laying down a medium shade, I'd go over that with a cotton swab dipped in Isopropyl Alcohol which would make a very subtle wash look and remove much of the excess powder, and then go over that with a lighter shade. I could get brighter colors that way. Swabs seem to work better than brushes for this.

    -David

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    Thanks for the tips on resist... (actually nervous on using those to be honest... >.>)
    And if you OVERDO the wax laydown? How do you fix your happy little mistakes? Just wipe it up?

    I've actually LOVE creating washes with my soft pastels and rubbing alchohol. Sometimes I even create small pastel paintings that way, then detail with conte crayon or pastel pencil. I'm a bit more careful that way but just don't have a good way of making those hairline details as yet... or just enough practice.

    *returns to the drawing board*
    You've all given so many good tips :3 GRATCI!

    I'm getting it together... I'm trying... and someday I will...

    product of my own split personality... Mold and Meat Studios - comming soon
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  12. #11
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    As far as I know there's no good way to remove wax from the paper. One recommendation I heard was to use a blow dryer to heat it up and scrape it of, but I've never tried that. I've not used a wax resist that often; just for a bit of texturing. You can use wax paper and scratch or burnish on top of it, but it only leaves a very light coating. Oil pastels can be cleaned up somewhat with solvent.

    Another trick with wax and pastels (drifting a bit off-topic here -sorry) if you draw wax over pastel it forms a sort of varnish. You can't really rework the pastels and the colors blend together more, but I like it better than fixative.

    There's another resist technique of using clear gouache emulsion with waterproof ink. If you apply the ink across a painted gouache surface, you can use water to wash it away, leaving the ink behind, which also applies to an ink wash as well. If you used waterproof colored inks it makes an interesting surface. You can create protected layers this way. (I like experimenting )

    -David

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