Learn to Draw > Reverse techniques

Another method is to draw with black chalk on white paper, almost without any shading. The drawing is then flxed so that it can be wiped and the tinting rubbed in, taking out the high lights again immediately with an eraser. The work can then be continued with the black chalk. This method has the advantage that all the thinner lines of the flrst sketching in are obliterated by the tinting, and the stronger ones are softened and gain in quality from the color of the chalk overlay. Subsequent working with black may stand out rather too much, however, unless all the lines are gone over again.

A technique used with immense success by Hans Holbein the Younger is almost unknown nowadays, although it requires a minimum of means. It employs a tracing technique to eliminate every unnecessary or uncertain stroke, working down to the essential contours. All the work is done from the model. After the flrst sketching in, the back of the paper is rubbed over with powdered color and laid, right-side-up, over a second sheet. The correct lines are pressed onto the second sheet with a hard pencil or stick. This sheet is then worked on and again colored on the back and traced through.

1. Drawing, black chalk on white paper - 2. The drawing traced through and corrected with red crayon rubbed over the wrong side - 3. The lines to be retained are pressed through onto. This process can be repeated indefinitely, until the drawing is quite perfect. The lower sheet picks up some of the color from the top sheet, especially where it is pressed deliberately, perhaps with a rounded stick, the back of a flnger nail, or whatever seems appropriate. The soft, lightly spreading lines from the tracing give a very tender and subtle modeling. The powder used on the back of the paper must, of course, be of the same material as the drawing, red or lead pencil or black chalk.

Nowadays tracing paper could make the process simpler, white paper being needed only for the first and last drafts. The intermediate stages would not be pressed through, but traced onto the transparent paper.

French Ingres paper with a hard pencil; this is then lightly tinted by pressing with a stump, then a few final touches are added directly onto the third sheet of paper (using a red crayon). Work carried out entirely in the presence of the model Lastly, we shall describe a new procedure. It uses drawing ink which is indelible on paper once it has dried, but which cannot penetrate a thickish layer of glue-bound paint. Any thick drawing paper or board can be used. All the surfaces and lines which are to appear white are painted in with ordinary poster white, preferably after a preliminary pencil sketch. This is not very easy, as the white paint does not show up well on the white paper, but unless it spoils the final effect the white can be tinted with color or black.

When the paint has dried, the whole page is covered with ink, using a broad hair brush, and left to dry again. The page is then laid flat in cold water, and the ink is washed off where it layover the white paint. Then, the paper is held under running water and sponged or brushed with a bristle brush to remove all the white and whatever ink remains on it. Only the black ink and the exposed white lines and areas remain.

Thin watercolors are used, then light gray opaque color is thickly applied. The whole is then covered with sweeping strokes of Chinese ink and bleached out under water Most people enjoy this process immensely. All sorts of chance effects are produced by the varying thicknesses of the white layer, which in some places lets the ink through a little. Wherever the ink has got through it is held fast. The work looks like the most delicate brush drawing, and even quite clumsy work looks effective.

Professionals who do not know the technique are often puzzled by what seem to be negative brush strokes, as though some mysterious substance had etched away the ink at these places.

This process can be elaborated in many ways; for instance, instead of white.. opaque colors can be used, which by reason of their colloidal composition leave a hint of color behind on the paper when they are washed off. Colored waterproof inks or points and even strongly diluted ink can be used instead of pure black ink. Again, it is possible to start by covering some areas with waterproof colors (casein colors, for example), draw over them with soluble white when they are dry, and then paint over that with ink or casein color; this will wash out where it covers the soluble white, producing a multi-colored effect.

The design or picture still remains a drawing, since it is held together by a graphic texture, as in batik or mosaic. A similar process, known as resist dying) has been used for centuries on textiles. Using wooden blocks, a design is printed in wax or paste onto the raw cloth, which is then dyed. The wax prevents the dye from taking on the printed areas.

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