In honor of teacher appreciation week, my aim was to find a way for my daughter to participate in making gifts for her pre-school teachers. I’d entertained several possibilities, but after attending the International Arts Material Association’s trade show last week in Pittsburgh, I came home knowing exactly what to do. While at the show, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a hands-on product demonstration of the Golden High Flow Acrylics. I simply decided to recreate one of the demos at home with my daughter and then incorporate some lettering with it.
The first step of the project was choosing what to use, starting with the High Flow Acrylics and the Liquitex Free Style 3 inch brush. I selected colors I thought would complement one another nicely, no matter how my daughter choose to mix them. I also decided to have her use an over-sized brush simply because she’s four, and this brush was incredibly easy for her to work with.
To start, she took the brush, dipped it into a big bowl of water, and thoroughly saturated cut pieces of Lanaquarelle Hot Press watercolor paper. The better saturated the paper, the better we found the results. You wouldn’t want to over saturate too much as you’d run the risk of the color running off the page, but a generous amount of water improves the effects.
Next, she took the High Flow and added drops all over the paper. She was actually pretty methodical in how she spread out her colors even though she changed the order each time.The higher she held the bottle when dripping, the more the ink spread as it hit the water.
After awhile, she became more comfortable and started dropping color directly on to other colors for some pretty nice effects. The colors blended together beautifully as well. As she finished each page, we set them aside to let them dry.
If you look closely at this next picture, you can see the one sheet where we used less water ( in the bottom right corner, to the left). The colors are muddying up quite a bit and the overall effect wasn’t as nice as the ones that had more water on them. Also, once it dried, it was much thicker than the others.
We left these out to dry for almost 24 hours with the intention of cutting them in two and adding the teachers’ names once the backgrounds dried. I decided to do use an upright pointed pen style for the names to complement the bright backgrounds. Opaque white also seemed like it would complement the High Flow colors, so I took out a bottle of Dr. Martin’s Bleedproof White that I had bought at IAMPETH in 2011 just to see if there was any way to use it. It reconstituted perfectly just by adding water and mixing!
My pen holder of choice was the Manuscript Black and White Marbled Holder as I’m left-handed and fare better with a straight holder. I lettered the majority of the names with the Tachikawa G nib, but I found that the hairlines were so fine that I was having to trace back over them far too much. For the last two, I switched to the Leonardt #30 because it’s much more flexible, but still has a nice upstroke. It worked even better. The name Mari was done with the Tach G and worked out the best of all the names I lettered with that nib; however, you can still see where tracing was necessary. The name Laurie was done with the Leonardt #30 and required very little tracing.
The final step of the project was to cut the paper to fit into picture frames. I used a small paper cutter to keep the edges straight. We found simple frames at Target for the finishing touch.
For me, the most exciting thing about the entire project was the ease with which my daughter was able to participate and create such lovely backgrounds. Because the bottles are constructed in a way that makes dropping the ink so easy, we had very little to clean up after we finished. This project can also be done on canvas and can be adapted to much larger scales. You could also do your lettering first with masking fluid and then create your background for a similar effect. However, I was really interested to see how the High Flow would respond when lettering on top of it. I’m happy to say it worked extremely well. I hope this project will encourage you to try something similar!