Friday, July 5, 2013

Adding White: Outlines and Details

White Sea
One of the best things about summer is that I finally have time to play in the studio.

Normally I'm under a deadline, pushing to get my prep, samples, and projects finished with my students.

I still keep a schedule, but I'm free to try out all those ideas that I've been accumulating.

Using white is today's exercise.

With kids we outline a lot.  It's one of those techniques that can add so much a project.  Usually it's in black but white is quite effective as well.

So what can you use: (click on picture to see larger if needed)

- a paint marker, in my collection I have Painter's opaque marker (Wal mart), Faber Castell PITT marker (art stores, Michael's), and Sharpie. They work like a regular felt marker, can be water soluble or permanent, and come in a variety of sizes.
- a gel pen, I use only Gelly Roll by Sakura and my favourite white one is 08. (scrapbooking stores, Michaels, art stores)
- a white crayon, I use Crayola and prefer the twistables, to say kids love them is an understatement, the twistables will always give me a nice edge for fine lines.  To do this you use the side edge at the tip not straight up.
- a pencil crayon or coloured pencil
- oil or chalk pastel
- acrylic paint and a fine brush (rigger)
- white watercolour paint  and a fine brush
I like to keep a sample sheet so I can compare them.

Sometimes I want a strong white and other times a more subtle effect.

I do this on different types of paper as well.

This is on tracing paper.

I keep it in my sample book as well as on painted squares. (disk tempera on wc paper, as this is what I use at school the most)

I also have it on wax paper, card stock, and foil.

I quite like pencil crayon on wax paper and the paint markers do well on foil.

For my first project I taped down some wc paper to my art board.  I used green painter's masking tape in 2 different widths.

I wanted nice bright colour so I painted my backgrounds with wc straight from the tube.

At school I would use disk tempera.  To avoid muddy colours stick with just warm or cool colours in each section.

Set aside to dry.

Because I had leftover wc paint I painted a few journal pages.

This is in my bound sketchbook.  (just regular drawing paper)  I don't know what it will be at this point I just like adding rectangular strokes.

I also used the leftover paint towards a new project.  This is a 3"x3" inchie.

For the inchie I blotted out some cloud with a kleenex while it was still wet

and I lifted out the horizon line.  I did this by using an old gift card placed just below where I wanted the line. (you could use a ruler or piece of cardboard as well)

I then take a brush wet with plain water, I rub it down the line blotting on a paper towel.

This makes my inchie into a little landscape.

I then add some white and a little black with sharpies.

Mount on black card stock and I have a start on my next inchie collection.

My journal page was now dry so using gouache I painted in some skyline shapes.

I then used my Painter's opaque marker and a Gelly Roll gel pen to add some details.

Using that same marker I add details to my now dry water-colour.

Finally I add a little touch of black just for a bit of contrast.

This makes me feel like I'm in Maui again.....

Next time you have a journal page or project needing just a little something give a bit of white a try.

Happy weekend everyone!


  1. What a great tutorial, thank you so much!!
    :) Elizabeth

  2. These are gorgeous. Love the idea of a sample book. I need to be more disciplined to learn more and experiment more as well.
    (I have now retired after 36 years in education)

  3. beautiful! i especially love the city skyline accented with white. lovely!

  4. These look awesome! I've had very little joy using white pens..not sure why, though.

  5. Gail, this is a great tutorial. Thank you so much!

  6. What fun techniques and love how your pages (AND inchie) came out! Thanks so much for sharing how, Gail, and enjoy your weekend!!! ~tina

  7. So pretty. What a fun post.

    I've been following your blog for three or four months, I think it was linked on Catholic Icing around Easter maybe?

    Anyways, I am not artistically inclined at all, but I have a 5 year old who LOVES art. I appreciate all your ideas and detailed descriptions. I've learned a lot. THANKS!

  8. What fun! I absolutely LOVE the "White Sea". Love it to pieces!

    And I am thinking the village could be turned into a little advent calendar so easily. :-)

  9. Love this tutorial. Thanks for sharing your experiments in white. Happy Summer Break!

  10. What a great post. Pinning to my art techniques board. I use tempera disks as well - white will be such a nice addition!

  11. This is very interesting! I love the colours. I definitely have to try this :)