paper dying, part one.


With fabric and textiles, I’m rarely put off by material being the ‘wrong’ color, provided I can dye it. Lately I’ve expanded this reasoning to include paper too. Fortunately for the sake of this project I’d already squirreled away a stock of paper, and the only preparation to be done was some therapeutic tearing  and scrumpling.

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Some paper (tough brown envelopes, cartridge, wallpaper lining, and watercolor) will tolerate heavy handed roughing up. Tissue, copier, newsprint and (my least fave) sugar paper just don’t have the same endurance, but will survive a lower level of scrunch.

The purpose of this is break up the surface, the scar lines offer a more porous surface for the dye to bleed through, and sometimes give a nice batik-y result.And sometimes they don’t. But we don’t care, we’re just here for shits and giggles.

Let the messy stage commence!

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Plastic tray, bit of paper, swish with water, drips of dye & ink.

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From here it’s a matter of layering (thinking ‘lasagna’, but without the food elements. Srsly, that would be a whole different result, and not what I’m after here at all)

Thicker acrylic based inks work best thinned right down with water,acrylic acts as an adhesive and if/when used thickly will gum the papers together into an unpickapartable cludge.

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Some layers through I like to give the soaking papers a bitova squish with a roller (brayer). The dye will penetrate the paper fibres better, and slop out of the edges of the tray if you’re not careful.

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Sometimes I pour off a bit of excess wet into a jar and reuse it further up the ‘lasagna’.

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See the batik-y thing going on? Yay!

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Onward n upward, paper, water, dye, swish, squish, paper, color, swish, etc

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Disclaimer: no books were harmed in this production. Apart from this one. (Second hand and out of date when I got it, 15 year old book on web site building. ) Just saying. Books are my friends, and I never deliberately dismember friends, even in the name of art. Except for the very dead ones.

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Some hours later, tray filled, excess juice drained, the soggy lump of color gets tipped out onto something porous (I used a selection of my finest knackered tea towels) and left to dry by the radiator. (If time and climate allow, sunshine will do the trick too)

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Oh, n you might wanna be wearing gloves for this. Or, like me, you might only remember this once you have dyed fingers…

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running with color


As the book of daily doodles progresses, it must be time for another catch up…

As the days and the pages go by I’m seeing how there’s so much more to this project than I ever expected. And I’m not even 3 weeks in!

This page was play with acrylic tar gel and inks. The ugly scratchiness and clogs in places are more than outweighed by the fun in doing this and the lessons learned.

Dr PH Martin’s Inks have a delicious gloop to them. They make for good splotting and over-printing with a wooden print block. Adirondack dye ink spray has a fine mist sometimes a little spitty. Inky mist, spit and splot are the essence of this page.

Not truly done justice in the photos, but the effect of dripping the Dr Martin’s inks and swishing with a sponge when a little bit dried was too fluffy and gentle to draw over.

So instead, I drew around it

From humble beginnings, a new character is born. This page is seen through Eyebird View 🙂